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Useful Tropical Plants

Waltheria indica

L.

Malvaceae

+ Synonyms

Melochia corchorifolia densiflora K.Schum.

Waltheria americana L.

Waltheria elliptica Cav.

Waltheria laxa Thulin

Common Name:

Waltheria indica
Leaves
Photograph by: Forest and Kim Starr
Creative Commons License
Waltheria indica Waltheria indica Waltheria indica Waltheria indica Waltheria indica Waltheria indica

General Information

Waltheria indica is a short-lived, perennial plant producing several erect or ascending stems that that can be branched from the base. The stems become more or less woody and persist. The plant can grow from 0.5 - 2 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.
,
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 plant is harvested from the wild for local medicinal use and is also the source of a fibre.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

308
Title
Flora Zambesiaca
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://apps.kew.org/efloras/fz/intro.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online flora of plants from the Zambezi River basin. It lists a number of the plant uses as well as the habitats and botanical descriptions of the plants.

Range

Widely spread through the tropics and subtropics.

Habitat

Woodland and bushland; often on rocky hills or on gravelly soil; river-beds; humid sand of depressions; dune and sandy, grassy plains; flooded areas; also ruderal; savannah; cultivated ground; at elevations up to 1,650 metres in Africa[
328
Title
African Flowering Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ville-ge.ch/musinfo/bd/cjb/africa/recherche.php
Publisher
Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques.
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains information on over 150,000 plant names (including synonyms) giving a description and habitat, plus a distribution map.
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitPerennial
Height1.00 m
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details


Succeeds in a wide range of soils.
The plant is a ubiquitous weed and early colonizer in disturbed ground, tolerant of a wide spectrum of habitats and elevations[
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.
]. It is considered to be invasive in many areas[
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 can flower and produce fruit all year round[
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.
].10]
Whereas Waltheria indica plants from Central America are homostylous, plants in India are reported as heterostylous[3.

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

The plant (part not specified) is antisiphylitic and febrifuge[
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 various plant parts is taken as a treatment for fever and syphilis[
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.
]. It is applied externally on skin eruptions and wounds[
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 leafy stems is taken to relieve fevers, coughs, colds, bladder ailments, vaginal infections, hypertension, ulcers and as a remedy for haemoptysis[
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.
,
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

A decoction of the root is given as an antidiarrhoeal and general tonic to children[
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.
]. It is also used as a cough medicine and for healing wounds[
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 general screening of the plant revealed the presence of some general flavonoids and caffeic acid[
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.
].
Three peptide alkaloids have been isolated: adou├ętine X, Y and Z[
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.
,
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
]. Adou├ętine Z (in the form of its amidosulphonate) acts as a sedative of the central nervous system and as a stimulant of the medulla. In dogs it produces hypertension, slows down the heartbeat, and has a relaxing action on the smooth muscle fibres of the intestine[
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.
].
Two antifungal flavonoids have been isolated from the chloroform extract of the plant. The first showed high antifungal activity against Candida albicans and low activity against Trichophyton mentagrophytes, while the second showed moderate antifungal activity against Aspergillus niger and Trichophyton mentagrophytes[
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 total aqueous extract of the plant showed in vitro antibacterial activity against 3 entero-bacteria: Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi and Shigella dysenteriae at a minimum inhibitory concentration of 5, 2.5 and 2.5 mg/ml, respectively[
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

|The bark yields a fibre similar to jute (Corchorus spp.), but is of no commercial interest[
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.
].

Propagation

Seed - the fruit is a small, round, dry capsule containing one seed. Collect the tiny capsules when they are mature, but before they have turned completely brown. Dry them in a paper container for about a week and sift the resulting material though a strainer to separate the seeds. Sow the seeds on the surface of a planting mix; gently firm the seeds into the soil; place them in a shaded area and keep the mix damp until germination, although be careful to avoid excessive moisture. Germination takes 1 to 3 months[
399
Title
Hawaiian Native Plant Propagation Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://pdcs.ctahr.hawaii.edu:591/hawnprop/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the propagation of a wide range of Hawaiian plants.
].

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