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Useful Tropical Plants

Trichanthera gigantea

(Humb. & Bonpl.) Nees

Acanthaceae

+ Synonyms

Besleria surinamensis Miq.

Clerodendrum verrucosum Splitg. ex de Vriese

Ruellia gigantea Humb. & Bonpl.

Common Name:

Trichanthera gigantea
Flowering stem
Photograph by: Andres Hernandez S.
Creative Commons License
Trichanthera gigantea Trichanthera gigantea Trichanthera gigantea

General Information

Trichanthera gigantea is a shrub or small tree with a dense, rounded crown; usually growing up to 5 metres tall, but exceptionally to 17 metres[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
,
428
Title
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden Vol. 65
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
1978
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent botanical publication, available for download from the Internet. This volume contains parts of the Flora of Panama.
]. The bole can be 40cm in diameter[
337
Title
Tropical Tree Seed Manual
Publication
 
Author
Vosso. J. Editor.
Website
http://www.rngr.net/Publications/ttsm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service.
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
An extremely good guide, it can also be downloaded in its entirety from the address shown above.
]. More or less evergreen, the plant can lose its leaves for a short period in periods of dry weather, regrowing rapidly following rain[
415
Title
Tropical Forages
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Mainly focussed on forage plants, the site gives a lot of information on the plant, with a good botanical description, details of cultivation, plant uses and a good selection of photographs.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
The tree is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of wood. It can be grown as a hedge, as a pioneer when restoring native woodland and to provide shade in coffee plantations.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

369
Title
Flora of Costa Rica
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C.
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
Field Museum of Natural History; Chicago
Year
1938
ISBN
 
Description
Rather dated, but an excellent treatment of the area. Available for download from the internet.
,
428
Title
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden Vol. 65
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
1978
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent botanical publication, available for download from the Internet. This volume contains parts of the Flora of Panama.

Range

S. America - Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Guyana; C. America - Panama, Costa Rica.

Habitat

Streams and swampy areas and wet forests at low elevations[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Along roadsides, in clearings, swampy areas, forests and thickets[
428
Title
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden Vol. 65
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
1978
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent botanical publication, available for download from the Internet. This volume contains parts of the Flora of Panama.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitSemi-deciduous Tree
Height5.00 m
Growth RateFast
PollinatorsBats, Birds, Ants, Bees
Self-fertileNo
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of the humid, lowland tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 400 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 27 - 33°c, but can tolerate 20 - 38°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. The plant can survive temperatures down to about -1°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. The plant does not tolerate frost[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,500 - 3,000mm, but tolerates 1,000 - 5,000mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Growing well in full sun, the plant also has considerable shade tolerance[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It is well adapted to acid infertile soils[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Although commonly found on stream banks, the plant requires well-drained soils[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 6.5, tolerating 4.5 - 7[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
A fast-growing plant[
625
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 3.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2009
ISBN
85-86714-34-4
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
].
The vigorous regrowth of the plant under heavy cutting regimes has led to speculation that nitrogen fixation may occur through the action of mycorrhiza or other organisms[
415
Title
Tropical Forages
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Mainly focussed on forage plants, the site gives a lot of information on the plant, with a good botanical description, details of cultivation, plant uses and a good selection of photographs.
]

Edible Uses

Sprouts are eaten in maize porridge[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. This almost certainly refers to the young shoots, since it is very difficult to germinate the seed[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Medicinal

The plant is a blood tonic and galactagogue. It is used to treat nephritis and to promote the flow of milk in nursing mothers[
415
Title
Tropical Forages
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Mainly focussed on forage plants, the site gives a lot of information on the plant, with a good botanical description, details of cultivation, plant uses and a good selection of photographs.
].
The plant is given to domestic animals, it is used to treat colic and hernia in horses, and retained placenta in cows[
415
Title
Tropical Forages
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Mainly focussed on forage plants, the site gives a lot of information on the plant, with a good botanical description, details of cultivation, plant uses and a good selection of photographs.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

The plant is used as a hedge or living fence; as a shade tree in coffee plantations; and to prevent stream bank erosion[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
The plant can be grown in association with a range of over-story agroforestry species due to its shade tolerance. It has been grown underneath bananas, Leucaena and Gliricidias[
415
Title
Tropical Forages
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Mainly focussed on forage plants, the site gives a lot of information on the plant, with a good botanical description, details of cultivation, plant uses and a good selection of photographs.
].
A fast-growing plant, it can be used as a pioneer species when restoring naive woodland[
625
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 3.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2009
ISBN
85-86714-34-4
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
].

Other Uses

The wood is cream-coloured or pale brown, with no sharp distinction between the sapwood and heartwood. It has a slightly foetid odour, but no distinctive taste; is straight-or wavy-grained; coarse-textured; light in weight and rather soft, but strong for its weight[
453
Title
Woods of Northeastern Peru
Publication
 
Author
Williams L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Field Museum Press; Chicago.
Year
1936
ISBN
 
Description
Gives information on the properties of the wood of well over 1,000 species of woody plants from northeastern Peru. Can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. It requires a sharp knife to cut smoothly across the grain; stains readily in drying[
453
Title
Woods of Northeastern Peru
Publication
 
Author
Williams L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Field Museum Press; Chicago.
Year
1936
ISBN
 
Description
Gives information on the properties of the wood of well over 1,000 species of woody plants from northeastern Peru. Can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. Of low quality, it is only suitable for making light packing boxes or similar unfinished products[
625
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 3.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2009
ISBN
85-86714-34-4
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
].
The wood is used for fuel and to make charcoal[
625
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 3.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2009
ISBN
85-86714-34-4
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
].

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a partially shaded position in a nursery seedbed[
625
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 3.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2009
ISBN
85-86714-34-4
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
]. Germination rates are very poor, generally 0 - 2%[
337
Title
Tropical Tree Seed Manual
Publication
 
Author
Vosso. J. Editor.
Website
http://www.rngr.net/Publications/ttsm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service.
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
An extremely good guide, it can also be downloaded in its entirety from the address shown above.
,
415
Title
Tropical Forages
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Mainly focussed on forage plants, the site gives a lot of information on the plant, with a good botanical description, details of cultivation, plant uses and a good selection of photographs.
], with the seed sprouting within 25 - 35 days[
337
Title
Tropical Tree Seed Manual
Publication
 
Author
Vosso. J. Editor.
Website
http://www.rngr.net/Publications/ttsm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service.
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
An extremely good guide, it can also be downloaded in its entirety from the address shown above.
]. Seedlings are usually ready to be planted out about 6 months after germination[
337
Title
Tropical Tree Seed Manual
Publication
 
Author
Vosso. J. Editor.
Website
http://www.rngr.net/Publications/ttsm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service.
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
An extremely good guide, it can also be downloaded in its entirety from the address shown above.
].
Stem cuttings will readily form roots in full sun or in light shade[
415
Title
Tropical Forages
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Mainly focussed on forage plants, the site gives a lot of information on the plant, with a good botanical description, details of cultivation, plant uses and a good selection of photographs.
]. Cuttings 2.2 - 2.8mm in diameter, 20cm long and with at least 2 leaf buds are the most effective in striking roots, with a success rate of 92%[
415
Title
Tropical Forages
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Mainly focussed on forage plants, the site gives a lot of information on the plant, with a good botanical description, details of cultivation, plant uses and a good selection of photographs.
]. Larger stem cuttings that are more than 1 metre long and 2cm in diameter can also be used in order to quickly produce a living fence[
337
Title
Tropical Tree Seed Manual
Publication
 
Author
Vosso. J. Editor.
Website
http://www.rngr.net/Publications/ttsm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service.
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
An extremely good guide, it can also be downloaded in its entirety from the address shown above.
].
Stems that contact the ground, either through bending or breakage, will root at the nodes to form new plants[
415
Title
Tropical Forages
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Mainly focussed on forage plants, the site gives a lot of information on the plant, with a good botanical description, details of cultivation, plant uses and a good selection of photographs.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2020-03-31. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Trichanthera+gigantea>

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