Botanical Name: Frasera speciosa
Common Names: Green Gentian, Elkweed, Deer’s ears, and Monument plant.
Habitat: Frasera speciosa is native to Western N. America – California to Washington. It grows on dryish or dampish places. Rich soils in open pine woods, aspen groves etc, 1500 – 3000 metres.
Frasera speciosa is a biennial/perennial herb growing from a woody base surrounded by rosettes of large leaves that measure up to 50 centimeters long by 15 wide.It produces a single erect stem which can reach two meters in height.
The stem bears whorls of lance-shaped, pointed leaves smaller than those at the base. The plant is monocarpic, growing for several years and only flowering once before it dies. Flowering is synchronized among plants in a given area, with widespread, picturesque blooms occurring periodically. It is not known why some plants in an area will not flower in a mass flowering event, or what cues the plants rely on to initiate flowering. The inflorescence is a tall, erect panicle with flowers densely clustered at the top and then spread out in interrupted clusters below. Each flower has a calyx of four pointed sepals and a corolla of four pointed lobes each one to two centimeters long. The corolla is yellow-green with purple spots and each lobe has two fringed nectary pits at the base. There are four stamens tipped with large anthers and a central ovary. It is in flower from July to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Through seeds – sow spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in late winter.
Roots may be edible : It has been reported that the N. American Indians ate the fleshy root of this plant, but caution is advised since the roots of closely related plants are used medicinally as emetics and cathartics. See the notes above on toxicity.
The whole plant is febrifuge, pectoral, laxative and tonic. An infusion of the dried, powdered leaves, or the root, has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea. A cooled decoction of the roots has been used in the treatment of asthma, colds, digestive complaints etc. An infusion of the plant has been used as a contraceptive. Caution is advised in the use of this plant, see the notes above on toxicity.
The root, when ground into a powder and then mixed with oil, has been used as a parasiticide in order to kill lice.
Known Hazards: When used medicinally, large doses of the powdered root have proved fatal.
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.