Some species of Plectranthus are difficult to identify because of a lack of clear-cut morphological criteria to discriminate not only among species within the genus but also among the closely related genera. This has resulted in numerous taxonomic problems in the naming of species with the result that species have often been placed in several closely related genera like Coleus, Solenostemon and Englerastrum. In addition, some species formally placed in Plectranthus, are now recognized as the more distantly related genus Isodon.
Because of these taxonomic issues, different names have often been used for the same species of Plectranthus and thus it has been difficult to collate information about the ethnobotanical uses of this genus. Furthermore, the most commonly used medicinal species of Plectranthus have a high degree of synonymy[
This report is very much indebted to the work of C.W. Lukhoba et al. - Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103 (2006) 1–24[
] in untangling much of this mess of names, and utilizes the on-line Kew database ‘World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (http://wcsp.science.kew.org/home.do) for determining currently accepted names and synonyms (as of 2018).
Plectranthus crassus is a herbaceous perennial plant with branched stems that can become more or less woody at the base; it can grow 60 - 75cm tall.
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food. It has potential for medicinal use and is sometimes grown as an ornamental in gardens.
Tropical Africa - Malawi
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
The leaves are used for culinary purposes[
The phenolic compounds iepetoidins A and B have been isolated from this plant. Nepetoidin B was shown to have a greater antioxidant activity than gallic, rosmarinic and caffeic acids, whilst both compounds were antifungal[
Two phenolic compounds isolated from the plant are caffeic acid esters for which the trivial names nepetoidins A and B have been proposed. Nepetoidin B was shown to have a greater antioxidant activity than gallic, rosmarinic and caffeic acids, and showed activity as an insect phagostimulant. Both compounds were antifungal[
Seed - sow in well-drained soil, covering lightly with a thin layer of sand, and place in a warm but shaded spot. The seed germinates in about three weeks[
Cuttings of Plectranthus species generally root easily - soft tips root faster than semi-hardwood growth. The cuttings are best taken 60 - 100mm long with three or four nodes, making the cut just below a node. Place them in sand, perlite, vermiculite or peat, or any mixture of these, keep them moist and shaded and they should root in 2 - 3 weeks[
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