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Common Name: Vanilla Plant
Carphephorus odoratissimus is a perennial plant that can grow up to 1.00 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
The plant contains coumarins[
], this is what gives it the scent of newly mown hay. When used internally, especially from dried plants, it can act to prevent the blood from co-aggulating[
]. Coumarins are implicated in liver disease and haemorrhage[
South-eastern N. America - North Carolina to Florida, west to Louisiana.
Pine-oak borders, longleaf pine savannas, flatwoods, fields, roadsides, fencerows, stream bottoms, seepage and boggy areas, sandy sites, limestone ridges or clay hills sea level to 80 metres[
Grows well in any moderately good light soil[
]. Plants grow in very acid soils in the wild[
The leaves are used as a flavouring[
], they have the scent of vanilla[
]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.
The leaves are demulcent, diaphoretic, diuretic and tonic[
]. They are a folk remedy for coughs, malaria and neuroses[
The leaves are high in coumarins and have been experimentally effective in the treatment of high-protein oedema[
]. Some caution is advised, see notes above on toxicity.
The dried leaves contain coumarin and have a scent like newly mown hay. They can be used as a condiment[
Seed - sow in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn[
]. 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 spring[