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
Paroquet bur is an erect shrub or perennial herb with stems that are woody at the base, growing up to 1.5 metres tall[
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[
Origin uncertain, probably tropical America, but it has now become widely naturalised as a weed through the Tropics.
An abundant weed along roads and trails, in clearings, waste places, thickets, and canefields, and on open hillsides[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
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[
]. It has been shown to prevent the establishment of native species in disturbed forest sites[
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[
Leaves - occasionally eaten in soups[
]. Used as a famine food[
]. Around Livingstone (Zambia) it was used and was considered to be very palatable because its tomato-like taste[
The stem and green bark are a source of mucilage used for making slimy soups and sauces[
]. The mucilage is often used as baby food and for young children not yet able to eat coarse starchy foods[
]. Because of its high energy value, the soup is often the first dish given to women who have delivered a child[
]. It is also used as appetizer[
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[
]. Bark peeled from the stem can be stored for later use[
A decoction of the root is used as a remedy for internal ulcerations[
The leaves are antihypertensive, astringent, diuretic, mucilaginous and emollient[
]. A decoction of the plant in rice water, or of the root and bark, is used to treat diarrhoea, dysentery, internal haemorrhages and gonorrhoea[
The leaves and flowers are used as a treatment against leprosy[
Patients with severe colds are treated by giving them a daily sauna with the boiling leaves[
The fruit and pounded roots are believed to promote childbirth[
The crushed flowers may be applied as a poultice on boils[
A soft, glossy fibre is obtained from the bark[
]. The fibre is rather similar to Jute (Corchorus spp)[
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[
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