Herbs & Plants

Emex australis

Botanical Name: Emex australis
Family: Polygonaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales
Genus: Rumex
Species:R. hypogaeus

Synonyms: Rumex hypogaeus

Common Names: Doublegee, Southern threecornerjack, Devil’s thorn.

Habitat: Emex australis is native to South Africa and has become naturalised in California, Trinidad, Europe, India, Pakistan, Taiwan, Hawaii, and Australia
It is found in many habitats, especially grass plains. A weed of waste ground and pastures.

Emex australis is a decumbent to semi-erect annual plant. It grows to heights of from 10 to 60 cm and its stems may be prostrate, decumbent, or ascending. The base is often reddish. Leaves and stems appear vivid green from seedling stage. Leaves are simple, alternately arranged or arranged in small bundles, egg-shaped (ovoid) to oblong, up to 8 cm long and 5 cm wide.The leaves are stalked and without any surface covering, with the leaf blade being 1-10 by 0.5-6 cm. There are 1 to 8 flowers with stamens per sheathed bundle and these flowers have narrow oblong tepals which are 1.5-2 mm. The female flowers occur as groups of 1 to 4 per sheathed bundle, and the outer tepals are ovate to oblong and 4-6 mm in fruit, while the inner tepals are broadly triangular and, 5-6 mm in fruit. The achenes (dry 1-seeded fruits not opening at maturity) are 4-6 by 2-3 mm, and shiny.

It flowers all year round.


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Propagation: Through seeds.

Edible Uses: Young leaves cooked vand eaten. The leaves contain oxalates and are laxative in large quantities.

Medicinal Uses: Emex australis is reported to have medicinal value, used by Zulu as a remedy for stomach disorders and colic and they are used by the Xhosa to relieve dyspepsia and biliousness and to stimulate appetite.

Known Hazards: The 3-cornered seeds can be very painfull if stepped upon, They are renown to pierce through bycicle tyres.

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.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.