Cuphea hirsuta Gillies ex Hook. & Arn.
Cuphea thymoides Lorentz
Parsonsia glutinosa (Cham. & Schltdl.) A.Heller
Common Name: Lavender Lady
Cuphea glutinosa is an evergreen, low-growing, much-branched, perennial plant with stems that become more or less woody and can persist; it can grow 15 - 35cm tall. All parts of the plant are sticky.
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine. It is grown as an ornamental, where it makes a good ground cover and also helps to reduce soil erosion. It is also a potential oil crop.
S. America - Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, southern Brazil, Bolivia
Wet meadows, at elevations usually above 1,200 metres
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Cuphea glutinosa is native to the subtropics of south eastern S. America, just moving into the tropics. In trials in southeastern N. America, forms have been selected that can tolerate temperatures falling to at least -7°c for short periods[
Plants require a sunny position[
An oil obtained from the seeds has the potential to be used in foods[
The leaves and stems are a blood purifier, diuretic, emmenagogue, hypotensive, laxative and purgative[
]. They are used as a treatment for malaria, high blood pressure, menstrual disorders, pailpitations and nervous diseases[
The plant can be used to make an attractive and effective ground cover that also helps reduce soil erosion[
The seeds, although small, are a potential commercial crop for their oil. The oil is a good source of medium length fatty acids - these oils are usually obtained from tropical sources such as palm and coconut oils. This species is particularly rich in lauric acid (59.1 - 81.7%)[
Industrial oils made from these acids are valuable commodities as they have the potential to replace others made from imported palm kernel and coconut oil. Lauric acid is used in foods, mostly as vegetable shortenings, as a defoaming agent and a booster for soaps and detergents[
Medium chain length fatty acids (e.g. Lauric and myristic) are used in detergents and health and beauty products. Statistics show that 71,000 tonnes of lauric acid oils were processed during 1991 in the EC; they originated from Copra (i.e. Coconut) and Palm kernel[
Cuphea has been used as an alternative to coconut oil in soaps, detergents and other products[
Seed - can be sown in situ after the last expected frosts[
]. In order to obtain larger plants, extend the growing season and hopefully achieve larger yields of seeds, the seeds can be sown in a greenhouse in early spring at around 21°c. Germination usually takes a few weeks because of the hard seed coat. Prick the seedlings out into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and plant out after the last expected frosts[