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Useful Tropical Plants

Schoenocaulon officinale

(Schltdl. & Cham.) A.Gray ex Benth.

Melianthaceae

+ Synonyms

Asagraea officinalis (Schltdl. & Cham.) Lindl.

Helonias officinalis (Schltdl. & Cham.) D. Don

Sabadilla officinalis (Schltdl. & Cham.) Standl.

Sabadilla officinarum Brandt

Skoinolon officinale (Schltdl. & Cham.) Farw.

Veratrum luteum L.

Veratrum officinale Schltdl. & Cham.

Common Name:

Schoenocaulon officinale
The white flowering spikes of the plant growing in its native habitat
Photograph by: T. Croat
Creative Commons License
Schoenocaulon officinale Schoenocaulon officinale Schoenocaulon officinale

General Information

Schoenocaulon officinale is a perennial plant growing up to 1 metre tall from an underground bulb.
The plant is used locally as an insecticide. The seed has been widely used in the past as a means of ridding the body of both internal and external parasites - large quantities of the seeds used to be exported from Venezuela to Europe.

Known Hazards

The seeds contain alkaloids that are poisonous[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].

Botanical References

331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/

Range

S. America - Venezuela. Central America - Costa Rica to Mexico.

Habitat

Brushy or grassy slopes, usually in pine or oak forest, mostly in rather dry and exposed places, sometimes on moist or wet slopes, chiefly at elevations of 500 - 2,000 metres[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].

Properties

Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitBulb
Height1.00 m
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

Not known

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

The seeds are 4 - 6 mm. long, wrinkled, black or dark brown outside, whitish within, hard, inodorous, and have an exceedingly acrid, burning taste. They contain veratrin and other alkaloids, and are poisonous[
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/
]. They formerly constituted an official drug of the British Pharmacopoeia[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].
The seeds have emetic-cathartic properties, operating sometimes with great violence, and overdoses produce death. They were formerly used to some extent to expel tapeworms[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].
The seeds are the chief ingredients of pulvis Capucinorum, sometimes used in Europe for destruction of vermin in the hair[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].

Other Uses

The seeds are used as an insecticide[
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.
]. They contain veratrin[
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.
].

Propagation

Seed -
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2024-03-01. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Schoenocaulon+officinale>

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