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Useful Tropical Plants

Triumfetta rhomboidea

Jacq.

Malvaceae

+ Synonyms

Bartramia indica L.

Triumfetta angulata Lam.

Triumfetta bartramii L.

Triumfetta glandulosa Lam.

Triumfetta indica Lam.

Triumfetta mauritiana Presl

Triumfetta mollis Schumach. & Thonn.

Triumfetta trilocularis Roxb.

Triumfetta vahlii Poir.

Triumfetta velutina Vahl

Common Name: Paroquet Bur

Triumfetta rhomboidea
Flowering stem
Photograph by: Unknown
Image credit to Australian National Botanic Gardens
Triumfetta rhomboidea Triumfetta rhomboidea Triumfetta rhomboidea Triumfetta rhomboidea

General Information

Paroquet bur is an erect shrub or perennial herb with stems that are woody at the base, growing up to 1.5 metres tall[
305
Title
Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hear.org/pier/scientificnames/index.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A very good website detailing weed species that have been introduced into the Pacific Islands.
].
The plant has a number of local uses - it has various medicinal applications; yields a good fibre; and has somewhat edible leaves. It was at one time cultivated in Malawi as a fibre crop[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

490
Title
Flora Vitiensis Nova
Publication
 
Author
Smith. A.C.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden; Hawaii
Year
1979
ISBN
 
Description
A comprehensive flora of Fiji, often showing plant uses. It can be downloaded from the Internet.

Range

Origin uncertain, probably tropical America, but it has now become widely naturalised as a weed through the Tropics.

Habitat

An abundant weed along roads and trails, in clearings, waste places, thickets, and canefields, and on open hillsides[
490
Title
Flora Vitiensis Nova
Publication
 
Author
Smith. A.C.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden; Hawaii
Year
1979
ISBN
 
Description
A comprehensive flora of Fiji, often showing plant uses. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitShrub
Height1.50 m
PollinatorsBees
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details



The plant produces seed capsules covered in hooked spines that adhere strongly to animal fur, clothing etc, and are thus easily transported to new sites. The plant has spread widely through the tropics and has become a noxious weed in many areas, where it invades pastures and disturbed areas in forests[
305
Title
Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hear.org/pier/scientificnames/index.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A very good website detailing weed species that have been introduced into the Pacific Islands.
]. It has been shown to prevent the establishment of native species in disturbed forest sites[
305
Title
Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hear.org/pier/scientificnames/index.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A very good website detailing weed species that have been introduced into the Pacific Islands.
].
Stems for mucilage are harvested by cutting them just above ground level when they are 75 - 100 cm long. They are prepared by removing all leaves and the terminal part where the stem has a diameter of less than 1cm. The resulting sticks are either taken to the homestead or tied into bundles and brought to the market[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Edible Uses

Leaves - occasionally eaten in soups[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. Used as a famine food[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. Around Livingstone (Zambia) it was used and was considered to be very palatable because its tomato-like taste[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].

The stem and green bark are a source of mucilage used for making slimy soups and sauces[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
]. The mucilage is often used as baby food and for young children not yet able to eat coarse starchy foods[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. Because of its high energy value, the soup is often the first dish given to women who have delivered a child[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. It is also used as appetizer[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The mucilage is extracted by softening the bark in hot water, followed by kneading it in a small amount of clean water. During kneading, the mucilage is released into the water, which is then added to stews to make them sticky[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. Bark peeled from the stem can be stored for later use[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Medicinal

A decoction of the root is used as a remedy for internal ulcerations[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

The leaves are antihypertensive, astringent, diuretic, mucilaginous and emollient[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. A decoction of the plant in rice water, or of the root and bark, is used to treat diarrhoea, dysentery, internal haemorrhages and gonorrhoea[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
The leaves and flowers are used as a treatment against leprosy[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Patients with severe colds are treated by giving them a daily sauna with the boiling leaves[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

The fruit and pounded roots are believed to promote childbirth[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

The crushed flowers may be applied as a poultice on boils[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Other Uses

A soft, glossy fibre is obtained from the bark[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
]. The fibre is rather similar to Jute (Corchorus spp)[
454
Title
Useful Fiber Plants of the World
Publication
 
Author
Dodge C.R.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
USDA; Washington.
Year
1897
ISBN
 
Description
A rather dated, but very comprehensive catalogue of fibre plants from around the world. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Propagation

Seed -
When cultivated for the mucilage in the stems, cuttings of 15 - 20cm long are taken from the top end of the harvested stems. Since the crop does not perform well under direct sunlight, the cuttings are usually planted in the shade of a tree. They are planted in a circle with a spacing of 10 - 15cm. If the cutting is not planted straight upward, adventitious roots may develop, causing a reduced capacity to produce slime. Therefore, some farmers tie the cuttings to a taller plant, e.g. plantain, to ensure that they grow upright[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

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