Columnea medicinalis

mdahms1979December 21, 2010

Does anyone grow Columnea medicinalis syn. Dalbergaria medicinalis? I was wondering just how large this plant grows and if it can be expected to do well in conditions I provide for a mixed collection of Hoyas and orchids? Does it need very high humidity to do well?

I have recently began growing some Gesneriads and so far my Kohleria, Petrocosmea and Chirita are all doing well. The Dalbergaria group of Columneas are more attractive to me than many of the other members of the genus but there is little info available other than some good photos on the Gesneriad Reference Web. I would be ordering seed from the Gesneriad Society when it becomes available.

Mike

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mdahms1979

I was able to find a great series of photos from the University Of Alabama website. One photo on page 4 shows a mature plant which appears to be quite large.

I would still like to hear from anyone who has grown this plant or other similar species.

Mike

Here is a link that might be useful: Columnea medicinalis

    Bookmark   December 21, 2010 at 2:30PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Mike -

seems like it is a monster.

Why don't you ask John L. Clark himself - his email is on the bottom of the page you put a link to - if it is available. He probably made these pics in Equador jungle. It seems to me that they have it in Smithsonian collection.

there is another species - Columnea orientadina - former Pentadenia - that has similar red blotches on the leaves plus it makes really attractive pale pink berries. It is of a much smaller scale and probably would fit in your collection better. It is available at Violet Barn.

I.

Here is a link that might be useful: LARGE

    Bookmark   December 21, 2010 at 8:32PM
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mdahms1979

Thanks Irina and yes it does look like a bit of a monster.

I have seen photos of the others in this group of species with the red leaf markings, they are nice plants but the floral bracts of Columnea medicinalis are just fantastic. I do also have an interest in Ethnobotany so the fact that this plant is used in herbal medicine also appeals to me.

I have never done well with the South American orchids that grow in mist forests, Pleurothallis and Masdevalia so hopefully this Columnea can tolerate higher summer temperatures than the orchids.

I will have to look into some of the smaller growers but in relation to size some of my shrub type Hoyas look to be about as big when mature. When seed comes available I will have to give this one a try.

Mike

Here is a link that might be useful: Some interesting Ethnobotanical info on another similar Columnea.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2010 at 1:12AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Very Interesting

I.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2010 at 11:23AM
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mdahms1979

For anyone that is interested in some of the lesser known Columnea species the image library I linked to before has some wonderful photos. If you click Image Library at the top of the page you can also see other genera from the Gesneriaceae.

Mike

Here is a link that might be useful: Clark Lab Image Library Columnea

    Bookmark   December 22, 2010 at 11:57AM
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Michi_Harper(7)

hi Mike! I am an ethnobotany geek too :)

So what are the medicinal uses of this plant?

    Bookmark   December 22, 2010 at 12:25PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Permanent sterilization. It kept indigenous women in Equador from having 25 babies before the Pill.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2010 at 4:31PM
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mdahms1979

I have never really equated the Gesneriaceae as being a family of plants often used in an Ethnobotanical sense. Apparently the most common use of this family of plants is in treating snakebite. The use of Columnea ericae is what I would equate with the use of Hemostatic or Astringent herbs used to stop bleeding or hemorrhaging but with larger prolonged doses resulting in female sterilization.

There is an older book called Witch Doctors Apprentice about the author Nicole Maxwell's research and discovery of the use of a rush species in Peru that was used as a permanent or reversible birth control agent. After all the research the info was purchased by a pharma company and then shelved after being patented. Why sell a single dose answer to a problem when the hormone based pill has to be purchased consistently over a woman's reproductive life. Still the book is a great read and if you can find it at a used book store you will not be disappointed.

Ethnobotanical uses of Gesneriads.
http://www.gesneriads.ca/Articles/Weber%20-%20Scientific%20Overview/ethnobotany.htm

Mike

Here is a link that might be useful: A refrence to Gesneriads in Ethnobotany

    Bookmark   December 22, 2010 at 5:58PM
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