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Useful Temperate Plants

Boerhavia diffusa

L.

Nyctaginaceae

+ Synonyms

Axia cochinchinensis Lour.

Boerhavia adscendens Willd.

Boerhavia caespitose Ridl.

Boerhavia ciliatobracteata Heimerl

Boerhavia coccinea leiocarpa (Heimerl) Standl.

Boerhavia coccinea paniculata Moscoso

Boerhavia friesii Heimerl

Boerhavia paniculata Rich.

Boerhavia repens diffusa (L.) Heimerl ex Hook.f.

Boerhavia xerophila Domin

Common Name: Tar Vine

Boerhavia diffusa
Young plant
Photograph by: Vinayaraj
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
Boerhavia diffusa Boerhavia diffusa

General Information

Boerhavia diffusa is a herbaceous perennial plant with vigorous, many-branched stems growing from a taproot; up to 2 metres long the stems can be erect or procumbent[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
,
304
Title
Handbook of Ayurvedic Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Kapoor. L. D.
Publisher
CRC Press, Florida.
Year
2001
ISBN
0-8493-2929-9
Description
A very detailed book on some of the key Ayurvedic herbs, giving both technical and non-technical information on each plant. The whole is very well referenced.
,
1093
Title
Invasive Species Compendium
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.cabi.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An immense resource - in depth information on over 900 species of invasive plants (it also has information on animals, fungi etc).
]. The stems branch mainly from the base, they are prostrate when young, becoming ascending to erect when flowering[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
A very popular medicinal plant, especially in India, where it is widely used in Ayurveda. Medicines containing this plant are sold worldwide. The plant is gathered from the wild and is also sometimes used as food.
The plant is a weed of cultivated land and wasteland, often in lawns in drier areas. The small fruits are very sticky and grow close to the ground. They can therefore attach to human clothing or to animals and birds, enabling wide dispersal of the plant. Although common, it is not a weed of importance. After mechanical cultivation the plant resprouts from its roots but relatively few cultivations are needed to exhaust it[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
,
1093
Title
Invasive Species Compendium
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.cabi.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An immense resource - in depth information on over 900 species of invasive plants (it also has information on animals, fungi etc).
].

Known Hazards

The very viscid perianth tube containing the fruit readily adheres to other objects and detaches itself from the plant. Small insects are caught by the secretion, and young chickens and turkeys sometimes die in consequence of their eyes becoming sealed up by the sticky fruits[
459
Title
The Useful Plants of the Island of Guam
Publication
Contributions from the United States National Herbarium Vol 9
Author
Safford W.E.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Smithsonian Institute; Washington.
Year
1905
ISBN
 
Description
A very comprehensive, if rather dated, guide to the plants of Guam. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Botanical References

154
Title
Flora of Victoria.
Publication
 
Author
Ewart. A. J.
Publisher
University Press; Melbourne
Year
1930
ISBN
 
Description
A flora of eastern Australia, it is rather short on information that is useful to the plant project.
,
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.

Range

The original native range is unclear, the plant is widespread in the tropical regions of Africa, Asia, America, Australia and the Pacific Islands.

Habitat

Open places near the sea, dry and warm river valleys; at elevations from 100 - 1,900 metres in southern China[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
]. Along roadsides, near habitations, in and along cultivated fields and in open cleared patches in forests[
1093
Title
Invasive Species Compendium
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.cabi.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An immense resource - in depth information on over 900 species of invasive plants (it also has information on animals, fungi etc).
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *  *  *
HabitPerennial
Height1.00 m
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

Boerhavia diffusa is widespread through much of the tropics and the subtropics and has also become naturalized in parts of the temperate zone
Prefers a sunny position and a sandy, well-drained soil[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
,
1093
Title
Invasive Species Compendium
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.cabi.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An immense resource - in depth information on over 900 species of invasive plants (it also has information on animals, fungi etc).
]. The plant grows wild in a range of soil types[
1093
Title
Invasive Species Compendium
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.cabi.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An immense resource - in depth information on over 900 species of invasive plants (it also has information on animals, fungi etc).
]. Prefers a pH in the range 6.6 - 7.8[
1093
Title
Invasive Species Compendium
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.cabi.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An immense resource - in depth information on over 900 species of invasive plants (it also has information on animals, fungi etc).
].
Plants can commence flowering when only 4 weeks old from seed. The plant can flower and produce fruit all year round if sufficient water is available[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Edible Uses

Root - eaten by the Aborigines of central Australia[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
]. The root is long, thick and fleshy[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
,
304
Title
Handbook of Ayurvedic Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Kapoor. L. D.
Publisher
CRC Press, Florida.
Year
2001
ISBN
0-8493-2929-9
Description
A very detailed book on some of the key Ayurvedic herbs, giving both technical and non-technical information on each plant. The whole is very well referenced.
].

Leaves - cooked as a pot herb or added to soups[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
]. Occasionally used as a vegetable[
617
Title
Traditional Vegetables in Benin
Publication
 
Author
Achigan-Dako E. Et al
Publisher
Darwin Initiative; International Foundation for Science
Year
2009
ISBN
 
Description
Issued as a PDF on the Internet, it contains basic information on over 250 species of plants used for food in Benin.
].

Seeds - cooked[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. Added to cereals[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Medicinal

Spreading hogweed is used in traditional medicine in several parts of its range, but is especially popular in India where it is a part of the Ayurvedic tradition. The whole herb, including the root, is used and it is said to be bitter, diaphoretic, diuretic, emetic, expectorant, laxative and stomachic[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
304
Title
Handbook of Ayurvedic Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Kapoor. L. D.
Publisher
CRC Press, Florida.
Year
2001
ISBN
0-8493-2929-9
Description
A very detailed book on some of the key Ayurvedic herbs, giving both technical and non-technical information on each plant. The whole is very well referenced.
].
Research has shown the presence of an alkaloid, beta sitosterol and various other compounds in the roots[
304
Title
Handbook of Ayurvedic Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Kapoor. L. D.
Publisher
CRC Press, Florida.
Year
2001
ISBN
0-8493-2929-9
Description
A very detailed book on some of the key Ayurvedic herbs, giving both technical and non-technical information on each plant. The whole is very well referenced.
]
An alcohol extract of the whole plant has shown significant antiinflammatory activity, a cardiotonic effect, an increase in blood pressure, a relaxant effect and promising diuretic activity[
304
Title
Handbook of Ayurvedic Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Kapoor. L. D.
Publisher
CRC Press, Florida.
Year
2001
ISBN
0-8493-2929-9
Description
A very detailed book on some of the key Ayurvedic herbs, giving both technical and non-technical information on each plant. The whole is very well referenced.
].

The plant is emetic and purgative[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
]. It is used in the treatment of various conditions including gastric disturbances, asthma, jaundice, anascara, anaemia and internal inflammation[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
304
Title
Handbook of Ayurvedic Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Kapoor. L. D.
Publisher
CRC Press, Florida.
Year
2001
ISBN
0-8493-2929-9
Description
A very detailed book on some of the key Ayurvedic herbs, giving both technical and non-technical information on each plant. The whole is very well referenced.
,
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
]. It has also been used as an antidote to snake venom[
304
Title
Handbook of Ayurvedic Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Kapoor. L. D.
Publisher
CRC Press, Florida.
Year
2001
ISBN
0-8493-2929-9
Description
A very detailed book on some of the key Ayurvedic herbs, giving both technical and non-technical information on each plant. The whole is very well referenced.
].

A decoction of the leaves is used to treat jaundice[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
]. The leaves are used in a cataplasm for treating indurated liver[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

The root can be used as an ipecacuanha (Carapichea ipecacuanha) substitute[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
]. Antispasmodic, very astringent, diuretic, emetic, emmenagogue, purgative and sudorific herb, it can be used in a decoction to treat dysentery and a range of other conditions[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].
The boiled roots are applied to ulcers, abscesses and to assist in the extraction of Guinea worm[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

Boerhavia diffusa is recorded as a host for the virus causing aubergine mosaic disease (EMV); as a host of zucchini yellow mosaic polyvirus (ZYMV); and as an alternative host for the cotton aphid (Aphis gossypii)[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed - we have no information on this species but suggest sowing the seed in a greenhouse in the spring. 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.
Cuttings
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2018-12-11. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Boerhavia+diffusa>

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