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Herbs & Plants

Crassocephalum rubens

Botanical Name:Crassocephalum rubens
Family: Asteraceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales
Tribe: Senecioneae
Genus: Crassocephalum
Species: C. biafrae

Synonyms:
*Crassocephalum rubens
*Senecio rubens
*Crassocephalum cernuum
*Senecio sonchifolius
*Cacalia uniflora

Common Names: Yoruba bologi

Habitat: Crassocephalum rubens is native to Southwestern Nigeria, but also as far away as Yemen, South Africa, and islands of the Indian Ocean. It grows on open disturbed land in lowlands and montane situations.

Description:
Crassocephalum rubens is an annual herb 20–150 cm tall, erect; stems green striate with purple, densely to sparsely pubescent or setulose. Leaves sessile, obovate, oblanceolate, elliptic or lanceolate, rarely ovate, unlobed or (especially the upper) lyrato-pinnately or pinnately 2–8-lobed, 1.2–20 cm long, 0.5–7.5 cm wide, cuneate or attenuate into an exauriculate petioloid base or (especially the upper) sessile, margins remotely sinuate-denticulate to coarsely sinuate-serrate, apex rounded to obtuse or acute, scattered-pubescent at least on veins beneath. Capitula 1–8, long-stalked, usually at first nodding then ± erect, but sometimes erect throughout, discoid; stalks of the individual capitula ± pubescent and purplish-tinged; involucre cylindrical, 8–13 mm long, 2.5–8 mm in diameter; bract of calyculus 5–23, purplish or dark green with purple tips, lanceolate or narrowly lanceolate, 3–6(–8) mm long, glabrous or ciliate; phyllaries 13–25, commonly 21 or 13, pale green to green, often tinged purple especially towards the apex and purple-tipped, 7.5–12 mm long, glabrous or sparsely shortly pubescent. Disc florets blue, purple or mauve, less often pink or red; corolla 6.2–10.5 mm long, tube glabrous, gradually expanded in upper third, lobes 0.4–1.5 mm long. Achenes 2–2.5 mm long, ribbed, hairy or shortly so in the grooves; pappus 7–12 mm long.

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Cultivation:
Succeeds in subtropical and tropical climates at low to moderate elevations. It is found in areas with an annual rainfall of 1,000 – 1,600 mm.
The plant grows best in a well-drained soil with a high organic matter content. Prefers sandy loams. The plant requires support and shade and is often grown among cocoa trees.Removal of the flowering shoots encourages leaf production. In northern Sierra Leone two varieties are recognized and the leaves of both are eaten.

Propagation: Threough Seed – Stem cuttings 20 – 25 cm long, obtained from mature shoots. The plant is described as being an annual which, if true, makes this a rather strange method of propagation.

Edible Uses:
The whole young plant and the semi-succulent leaves are mucilaginous and are used as a pot-herb eaten in soups and sauces. They are especially relished when cooked with groundnuts and tomatoes. In some areas the leaves are said to cause stinging in the mouth and to be not well-liked.

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves are slightly laxative. They are used in traditional medicine to treat a range of complaints. They are given to women after childbirth for their laxative effect; they are used as a treatment for ‘belly palava’ (stomach-ache); when eaten in quantity they are used to treat liver-complaints; they are used as an infusion against colds.

Applied externally, they are made into a poultices to treat burns. The leaf-sap is applied to sore eyes and is also instilled into the eye to remove filaria parasites. They are crushed in water and rubbed into the ear to treat earache.

A trace of alkaloid has been reported present in the leaves.The powdered root has been used prepared as a paste for external application to breast-cancer in Nigeria.

Other Uses : Like garlic, the whole plant has repellent properties to crocodiles.

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/Crassocephalum_rubens
http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Crassocephalum+rubens
https://plants.jstor.org/compilation/crassocephalum.rubens

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