Botanical Name: Baccharoides hymenolepis
*Vernonia sect. Stengelia (Sch.Bip. ex Walp.)
*Vernonia sect. Baccharoides (L. ex Moench) Moench ex Gleason
*Stengelia Sch.Bip. ex Steetz
Common Name : Baccharoides
Habitat: Baccharoides hymenolepis is native to Tropical Africa – Sudan, Ethiopia, eastern DR Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zi.
It grows along rivers and roadsides, in forest margins, old cultivation sites and bushed grassland, also in montane forest and often found in disturbed habitats; usually at elevations from 1,200 – 3,000 metres, sometimes descending to 600 metre.
Baccharoides hymenolepis is an evergreen Shrub growing to 4 m (13ft) by 3 m (9ft) at a fast rate. The flowers are pollinated by Insects,
Baccharoides hymenolepis is a plant of moderate elevations in the tropics where it can be grown up to 3,000 metres. The plants thrive at temperatures of less than 30?c. The minimum mean annual rainfall required is 840mm. Generally, the plants grow well in a loose, moist soil that is rich in humus. The degree of soil fertility greatly influences leaf size. The plant is very sensitive to drought. Seedlings are tasted when they are being planted out and the more bitter seedlings are discarded. This selection process not only secures a better quality crop, but also serves to reduce bitterness in the next generations. Early growth of young plants during the rainy season is so rapid that they grow as tall as 40 – 50cm in just 4 weeks. This rapid growth continues as long as there is ample moisture in the soil. Harvesting the leaves starts 4 – 6 weeks after sowing or 6 – 8 weeks after transplanting. Harvesting is done either by cutting the young shoots or gathering the leaves only. Although the harvest of leaves only is often preferred, this system may adversely affect the development of the plant. Best results are obtained during the rainy season by cutting the shoots at 5 – 10cm above the soil, which will then be replaced by one or two side shoots. These side shoots could be harvested 3 – 4 weeks later and, depending on soil moisture and fertility, this process could be repeated two or three times. In the dry season, when new shoots develop only slowly if at all, farmers pick the leaves only. Highest yields are obtained during the rainy season. An initial harvest of stems yields about 1 kilo per square metre, this decreases to about 500 grammes on the third harvest. Flower initiation begins with the onset of the dry season or during periods of drought.
Leaves – raw or cooked. Eaten in salads, as a potherb or used as a garnish. The leaves can be dried for later use. The leaves are less bitter than related species that are used in the same ways, such as bitterleaf (Gymnanthemum amygdalinum)
The plant is used medicinally as a cure for pneumonia. Juice from the crushed leaves is used to treat jaundice, and also diarrhoea in babies. A hot leaf placed on a wound is said to stop bleeding. A root decoction is used as a purgative and to treat abdominal pains. The sesquiterpene lactone vernolepin was isolated from plant material collected in Ethiopia. This compound showed antitumour activity and platelet anti-aggregating properties.
Other uses rating: Medium (3/5). Agroforestry Uses: The plant is sometimes planted as a hedge around homes and gardens, both for vegetable use and for the ornamental value of the large white or purple flowering heads. The plants help to stabilize the soil, especially on slopes. Other Uses Dry branches and stems serve as fuel.
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.