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Common Name: Erva De Vida
Three year old plant growing in a South facing border in West Sussex of the U.K
Photograph by: Amazoniaexotics
Heimia salicifolia is a Deciduous Shrub up to 3.00 metres tall.
It has edible and medicinal uses.
Southern N. America from Texas to Mexico and south to Central America.
Along the sides of streams[
Easily grown in any well-drained soil in full sun[
]. Especially in the colder areas of the country this plant is best grown against a sunny south or south-west facing wall and given a good mulch of bracken in the winter[
The rootstock is fairly hardy in most of Britain, whilst the top growth tolerates temperatures down to about -10 to -15°c[
]. If cut back by severe weather the plant usually grows again from the base[
]. Flowers are produced on the current seasons growth[
]. Plants growing by the side of a greenhouse at Cambridge Botanical Gardens flower freely[
This species is closely related to H. myrtifolia, differing mainly in having larger flowers[
Any pruning is best carried out in early spring by removing excess growth at the base of the plant[
An intoxicating and euphoric drink is made by crushing the wilted leaves in water and leaving the liquid in a sunny position for three days to ferment[
]. In larger quantities this can induce hallucinations and produces a vision that is typically overcast in yellow[
The leaves are antispasmodic, hallucinogenic and sedative[
]. An infusion serves to stabilize the blood pressure and relieve anxiety[
Seed - we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed in spring in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle. Grow the young plants on for at least their first winter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring or early summer. Mulch the roots well in the autumn to protect them from the cold.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, mid summer in a frame[