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Useful Temperate Plants

Retama raetam

(Forssk.) Webb & Berthel.

Fabaceae

+ Synonyms

Genista raetam Forssk.

Genista retama G.Nicholson

Genista rhodorhizoides Webb & Berthel.

Lygos raetam (Forssk.) Heywood

Retama duriaei (Spach) Webb

Retama gussonii Webb

Common Name:

No Image.

General Information

Retama raetam is a graceful, deciduous shrub with slender, drooping branches; it can grow up to 3 metres tall and 6 metres wide. The leaves are very small and quickly drop from the plant. The plant remains leafless for most of the year, photosynthesis being carried out by the green stems[
1059
Title
A Guide to Medicinal Plants in North Africa
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
IUCN; Malaga, Spain
Year
2005
ISBN
2-8317-0893-1
Description
A guide to over 100 species of medicinal herbs in N. Africa.
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and source of fuel - it is sometimes sold in local markets as a medicinal herb. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental, especially in Mediterranean climates[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Known Hazards

The fruits (seedpods) are considered toxic and are thought to provoke hallucinations[
1059
Title
A Guide to Medicinal Plants in North Africa
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
IUCN; Malaga, Spain
Year
2005
ISBN
2-8317-0893-1
Description
A guide to over 100 species of medicinal herbs in N. Africa.
].
Ingesting the plant in order to produce an abortion has sometimes led to poisoning and even death[
1059
Title
A Guide to Medicinal Plants in North Africa
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
IUCN; Malaga, Spain
Year
2005
ISBN
2-8317-0893-1
Description
A guide to over 100 species of medicinal herbs in N. Africa.
].
The flowers are an important source of fodder for dromedaries; when taken in excess this can lead to
dangerous urinary problems. When eaten during drought this can lead to abortion, and gives a bitter taste to the milk[
1059
Title
A Guide to Medicinal Plants in North Africa
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
IUCN; Malaga, Spain
Year
2005
ISBN
2-8317-0893-1
Description
A guide to over 100 species of medicinal herbs in N. Africa.
].

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

Macaronesia - Canary Islands; Mediterranean region - southern Italy, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon

Habitat

Maritime sands and sandy sites in the Sahara[
1059
Title
A Guide to Medicinal Plants in North Africa
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
IUCN; Malaga, Spain
Year
2005
ISBN
2-8317-0893-1
Description
A guide to over 100 species of medicinal herbs in N. Africa.
].

Properties

Medicinal Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitDeciduous Shrub
Height2.00 m
PollinatorsBees, Insects
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Retama raetam is a plant of arid regions in the Mediterranean and is able to survive in areas where the mean annual rainfall is around 100mm[
1059
Title
A Guide to Medicinal Plants in North Africa
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
IUCN; Malaga, Spain
Year
2005
ISBN
2-8317-0893-1
Description
A guide to over 100 species of medicinal herbs in N. Africa.
]. It can be grown outdoors in temperate regions that are free from prolonged frosts. So long as the preceding summer has been hot enough to ripe the current season's growth, the plant is able to tolerate short periods where temperatures fall to around -5°c.[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Requires a warm, sunny position in a very well-drained, light-textured soil and some protection from rain in the winter[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Grows best in drier soils of low fertility[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria; these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
1309
Title
The Leguminosae; A Source Book of Characteristics, Uses and Nodulation
Publication
 
Author
Allen O.N.; Allen E.K.
Publisher
University of Wisconsin
Year
1981
ISBN
0-333-32221-5
Description
An amazing and comprehensive work, giving a brief guide to the many genera of the family Fabaceae and also the principle uses of the genus.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

Whilst Retama raetam is the most commonly used medicinal species[
1583
Title
Genus Retama: a review on traditional uses, phytochemistry, and pharmacological activities
Publication
Phytochem Rev February 2018
Author
León-González A.J. et al
Website
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11101-018-9555-3
Publisher
 
Year
2018
ISBN
 
Description
Published on-line, an excellent review of the uses of species in the genus Retama
], various studies have shown that all the species in the genus have very similar medicinal properties. They have a range of biological activities, including antibacterial, antiinflammatory, antioxidant, anti-proliferative, antiulcer, antiviral, and hepatoprotective activities[
1583
Title
Genus Retama: a review on traditional uses, phytochemistry, and pharmacological activities
Publication
Phytochem Rev February 2018
Author
León-González A.J. et al
Website
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11101-018-9555-3
Publisher
 
Year
2018
ISBN
 
Description
Published on-line, an excellent review of the uses of species in the genus Retama
].
The plant is used as an abortifacient, anthelmintic, antiseptic, purgative, sedative, and vulnerary[
1059
Title
A Guide to Medicinal Plants in North Africa
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
IUCN; Malaga, Spain
Year
2005
ISBN
2-8317-0893-1
Description
A guide to over 100 species of medicinal herbs in N. Africa.
].

The leaves and young stems are crushed, mixed with honey, and given orally as an emetic1059]. An infusion is used in the treatment of stomach aches, rheumatism, hepatitis, jaundice etc[
1583
Title
Genus Retama: a review on traditional uses, phytochemistry, and pharmacological activities
Publication
Phytochem Rev February 2018
Author
León-González A.J. et al
Website
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11101-018-9555-3
Publisher
 
Year
2018
ISBN
 
Description
Published on-line, an excellent review of the uses of species in the genus Retama
].
A decoction of the leaves is given as a purgative and anthelmintic, usually in the form of a wash[
1059
Title
A Guide to Medicinal Plants in North Africa
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
IUCN; Malaga, Spain
Year
2005
ISBN
2-8317-0893-1
Description
A guide to over 100 species of medicinal herbs in N. Africa.
,
1583
Title
Genus Retama: a review on traditional uses, phytochemistry, and pharmacological activities
Publication
Phytochem Rev February 2018
Author
León-González A.J. et al
Website
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11101-018-9555-3
Publisher
 
Year
2018
ISBN
 
Description
Published on-line, an excellent review of the uses of species in the genus Retama
]. Applied as a wash, the leaves and stems are used to treat fractures, burns, aching joints etc[
1583
Title
Genus Retama: a review on traditional uses, phytochemistry, and pharmacological activities
Publication
Phytochem Rev February 2018
Author
León-González A.J. et al
Website
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11101-018-9555-3
Publisher
 
Year
2018
ISBN
 
Description
Published on-line, an excellent review of the uses of species in the genus Retama
].

An infusion of the leaves and flowers can help produce an abortion - this needs to be used with great caution since it can lead to poisoning[
1059
Title
A Guide to Medicinal Plants in North Africa
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
IUCN; Malaga, Spain
Year
2005
ISBN
2-8317-0893-1
Description
A guide to over 100 species of medicinal herbs in N. Africa.
].
Applied externally, the powdered leaves and flowers are used to heal circumcision wounds and as an antiseptic for wounds, bites, skin rash, eczema and pruritus[
1059
Title
A Guide to Medicinal Plants in North Africa
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
IUCN; Malaga, Spain
Year
2005
ISBN
2-8317-0893-1
Description
A guide to over 100 species of medicinal herbs in N. Africa.
,
1583
Title
Genus Retama: a review on traditional uses, phytochemistry, and pharmacological activities
Publication
Phytochem Rev February 2018
Author
León-González A.J. et al
Website
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11101-018-9555-3
Publisher
 
Year
2018
ISBN
 
Description
Published on-line, an excellent review of the uses of species in the genus Retama
]. A decoction of the plant is used as a massage for treating pruritus and scabies[
1059
Title
A Guide to Medicinal Plants in North Africa
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
IUCN; Malaga, Spain
Year
2005
ISBN
2-8317-0893-1
Description
A guide to over 100 species of medicinal herbs in N. Africa.
].

The roots are used in fumigation as an abortifacient[
1059
Title
A Guide to Medicinal Plants in North Africa
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
IUCN; Malaga, Spain
Year
2005
ISBN
2-8317-0893-1
Description
A guide to over 100 species of medicinal herbs in N. Africa.
]. They are taken as a vaginal douche[
1583
Title
Genus Retama: a review on traditional uses, phytochemistry, and pharmacological activities
Publication
Phytochem Rev February 2018
Author
León-González A.J. et al
Website
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11101-018-9555-3
Publisher
 
Year
2018
ISBN
 
Description
Published on-line, an excellent review of the uses of species in the genus Retama
].

The fruits and seeds are used in the treatment of diabetes[
1583
Title
Genus Retama: a review on traditional uses, phytochemistry, and pharmacological activities
Publication
Phytochem Rev February 2018
Author
León-González A.J. et al
Website
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11101-018-9555-3
Publisher
 
Year
2018
ISBN
 
Description
Published on-line, an excellent review of the uses of species in the genus Retama
].

The stems, leaves and flowers are harvested in the spring and can be prepared as an infusion or a decoction, and are also used in combination with other plants. The plant can be taken either by mouth, or used externally as a poultice[
1059
Title
A Guide to Medicinal Plants in North Africa
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
IUCN; Malaga, Spain
Year
2005
ISBN
2-8317-0893-1
Description
A guide to over 100 species of medicinal herbs in N. Africa.
].

The plant contains flavonoids, quinolizidine alkaloid[
1059
Title
A Guide to Medicinal Plants in North Africa
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
IUCN; Malaga, Spain
Year
2005
ISBN
2-8317-0893-1
Description
A guide to over 100 species of medicinal herbs in N. Africa.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

The plant is used to stabilise sand dunes[
1059
Title
A Guide to Medicinal Plants in North Africa
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
IUCN; Malaga, Spain
Year
2005
ISBN
2-8317-0893-1
Description
A guide to over 100 species of medicinal herbs in N. Africa.
].

Other Uses

A good fuel wood[
1059
Title
A Guide to Medicinal Plants in North Africa
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
IUCN; Malaga, Spain
Year
2005
ISBN
2-8317-0893-1
Description
A guide to over 100 species of medicinal herbs in N. Africa.
].

Propagation

Seed - it has a hard seedcoat and benefits from scarification before sowing in order to speed up and improve germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood in a frame[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2019-06-17. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Retama+raetam>

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