Botanical Name: Heimia myrtifolia
Synonyms: H. salicifolia Hort., in part, not (H.B.K.) Link
Habitat: Heimia myrtifolia is native to S. America – Brazil to Uruguay. It grows along the sides of streams.
A deciduous shrub, said to grow to a height of 5 or 6 ft, but usually shorter than that in this country, where, in the open ground, its stems are frequently cut back to the ground in winter, springing up 2 to 4 ft high the following summer. Stems erect, leafy, much-branched, quite glabrous. Leaves linear and willowlike, opposite on the lower portion of the stem, alternate towards the top, 1 to 2 in. long, 1?8 to 1?4 in. wide, quite glabrous. Flowers yellow, 1?3 to 1?2 in. across, very shortly stalked, produced singly in the leaf-axils of the current year’s growth from July to September; petals five to seven; stamens ten to eighteen.
Native of Brazil and Uruguay; introduced in 1821 as “H. salicifolia” and again under its correct name in 1826. Although it will live in the open ground at Kew, and flowers there, its stems do not become more than half woody, and do not survive the winter. But plants on the Temperate House terrace at Kew have become true shrubs.
Easily grown in any well-drained soil in full sun. Especially in the colder areas of the country this plant is best grown against a sunny south or south-west facing wall and given a good mulch of bracken in the winter. The rootstock is fairly hardy in most of Britain, whilst the top growth tolerates temperatures down to about -10 to -15°c. If cut back by severe weather the plant usually grows again from the base. Flowers are produced on the current seasons growth. Plants growing outdoors at Kew Botanical Gardens are cut back by the cold each winter but regrow and flower each year. This species is closely related to H. salicifolia, differing mainly in having smaller flowers. Any pruning is best carried out in early spring by removing excess growth at the base of the plant.
An intoxicating and euphoric drink is made by crushing the wilted leaves in water and leaving the liquid in a sunny position for three days to ferment. In larger quantities this can induce hallucinations and produces a vision that is typically overcast in yellow.
Medicinal Uses: The leaves are antispasmodic, hallucinogenic and sedative. An infusion serves to stabilize the blood pressure and relieve anxiety.
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.