Tephrosia virginiana

 
Botanical Name: Tephrosia virginiana
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Tribe: Loteae
Genus: Galega
Species: G. officinalis

Common Names: Catgut, Galega officinalis, French lilac, Italian fitch or professor-weed, Goat-rue, Goat’s Rue, Cat Gut, Rabbit Pea, and Virginia Tephrosia

Other Names: American Garden Rue, Devil’s Shoestring, Rabbit-pea, Horey turkey peas, Virginia Pea, Virginia Tephrosia, Cheese renet, herba ruta caprariae

Habitat : Tephrosia virginiana originates from Europe and Middle East. Goat’s rue is native to Europe and eastern Asia. It was introduced to the western U.S. in the late 1800s as a possible forage crop.Goat’s rue is planted as fodder for animals. Goat’s rue is said to increase the milk production of goats, hence its name. Juice from Goat’s rue was used to clot milk for cheese production. There are also reports of cattle which died after eating goat’s rue.

Now, Native to Eastern N. America from New Hampshire to Florida, west to Texas and Manitoba. Found growing in dry sandy woods, openings, fields, and roadsides.

It grows in dry sandy woods and openings

Description:
Tephrosia virginiana is a perennial plant growing to 0.6 m (2ft), sending up one or more stems from the base that are unbranched or sparingly branched. The stems are light green, terete, and hairy. Alternate compound leaves are widely spreading; they are odd-pinnate with 9-25 leaflets. Individual leaflets are up to 1″ long and ¼” across; they are medium green to grayish green, oblong to narrowly elliptic in shape, and smooth along their margins. Upper surfaces of the leaflets are hairless to silky-hairy, while their lower surfaces are pubescent to silky-hairy. Each leaflet has a prominent central vein. The central stalk (rachis) and petiole of each compound leaf is pubescent. At the base of each petiole, there is a pair of small stipules about ¼” long. The stems terminate in short dense racemes about 2-3″ long that are covered in buds and bicolored flowers facing all directions. The racemes are held a little above the foliage on short peduncles. Individual flowers are ¾” long and across, consisting of 5 petals, a short tubular calyx with 5 teeth, 10 stamens, and a pistil. Each flower has a typical pea-like floral structure, consisting of an upright banner and a pair of lateral wings that project forward to enclose the keel. The broad banner is white to pale greenish yellow, while the wings are deep rosy pink. The pedicels of the flowers and their calyces are light green and pubescent. The blooming period occurs from early to mid-summer and lasts about 3 weeks. Afterwards, the flowers are replaced by widely spreading seedpods about 1½-3″ long. These seedpods are initially light green, but later turn brown; they are silky-hairy. The seedpods are narrowly cylindrical and slightly flattened in shape; each pod contains several seeds that are reniform and somewhat flattened. The root system consists of a deep taproot.

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It is in flower from May to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Cultivation:
A deep rooted plant, requiring a dry to moist light or medium very well-drained soil in a sunny position. Plants are hardy to about -25° when given a suitable position. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.

Propagation:
Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and then sow in a greenhouse in spring. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow on in the greenhouse for their first winter, planting out in the following spring or early summer
Medicinal Uses:
The root is anthelmintic, diaphoretic, diuretic, pectoral and tonic. A tea made from the roots is said to make children muscular and strong. A cold tea is used to improve male potency and also to treat TB, bladder problems, coughs, irregular menstruation and other women’s complaints. Experimentally, the root has shown both anticancer and cancer-causing activity. The leaves have been placed in the shoes in order to treat fevers and rheumatism.

At various times it was used to treat rheumatism, fevers, pulmonary problems, bladder disorders, coughing, hair loss, and reproductive disorders. The root of this plant alone, or in combination with other agents, has been reputed a very efficient remedy in syphilis. The decoction is also much used as a vermifuge, and is said to be as efficient and powerful as spigelia. The plant is a mild, stimulating tonic, having a slight action on the bowels, and the secretive organs generally, and applicable in the treatment of many diseases, especially in a certain stage of typhoid fever, where there is little use of active medicine. The recommendation was a compound fluid extract of tephrosia: Take of Tephrosia virginiana (the plant), 8 ounces; Rumex acutus (dock), 2 ounces; water, 4 quarts. Place the plants in the water, and boil until reduced to 1 quart. Strain, and when intended to be kept, mix with an equal bulk of brandy or diluted alcohol, and half its weight of sugar, macerate for several days, and strain through muslin. The dose is from 1/2 to 1 fluid ounce, 2, 3, or 4 times a day A tea made from the roots is said to make children muscular and strong. A cold tea is used to improve male potency and also to treat TB, bladder problems, coughs, irregular menstruation and other women’s complaints. Experimentally, the root has shown both anticancer and cancer-causing activity. The leaves have been placed in the shoes in order to treat fevers and rheumatism.

Other Uses:
Hair; Insecticide……….The root is a source of the insecticide ‘rotenone. This is especially effective against flying insects but appears to be relatively harmless to animals. A decoction of the roots has been used as a hair shampoo by women in order to prevent hair loss.

Known Hazards : Contact with the plant can cause dermatitis in sensitive people. The seeds are toxic.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tephrosia_virginiana
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Tephrosia+virginiana
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/prairie/plantx/goat_rue.htm

 

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