Borago zeylanica Burm.f.
Leiocarya kotschyana Hochst.
Trichodesma kotschyanum Fenzl
Trichodesma zeylanicum is usually an annual plant, but can become perennial and somewhat shrubby. The much-branched stems are usually woody, at least at the base, and grow up to 150cm tall from a taproot[
The plant is sometimes harvested from the wild as a local source of food and medicines[
]. The seed oil/flower essence is traded on the international market under the name of ‘wild borage oil’. The main producer is Australia and the main market is western Europe. Quantities and value of the trade are unknown[
The plant is densely rough hairy, irritating to handle[
Pyrrolizidine alkaloids, with supinine as the principal component, have been isolated from the seeds[
]. These alkaloids are a cumulative liver toxin and so should not be consumed in anything other than small quantities over short periods[
E. and S. Africa - Sudan and Ethiopia to South Africa; Indian Ocean; E. Asia - India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Philippines to New Guinea and Australia.
Disturbed dry bushland, grasslands, cultivated areas or as a pioneer on disturbed ground both in well-drained and marshy or black-cotton soils; at elevations up to 1,700 metres[
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The plant is often a troublesome weed in farms[
]. It has been recorded as an invasive species in Fiji[
Leaves - cooked[
]. The young leaves and shoots are chopped and cooked with other vegetables such as amaranth or peas; coconut milk or groundnut paste is usually added and the whole is then served with a staple food such as rice[
]. The plant should be harvested with care because of the irritating hairs (see Known Hazards)[
The roots are analgesic[
]. They are chewed or pounded and then soaked in cold water. The resultant infusion is used as a remedy for tuberculosis, stomach-ache, diarrhoea, poisoning and snakebite[
The powdered root is applied externally to wounds to relieve the pain[
The green leaves and roots are chewed and used as a poultice for both fresh and infected wounds; boils; and snakebite[
The plant is diuretic[
]. A decoction is used as a treatment against fevers and dysentery[
]. The ash of burnt plants is an ingredient of prescriptions used for treating coughs and scabies[
The leaves are used to prevent stillbirth[
The seed oil is used for its emollient properties[
The stems are used as fire sticks[
A seed oil/flower essence is obtained from the plant[
]. The report is unclear. It could be referring to an oil obtained from the seed plus an essential oil obtained from the flowers[
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