If you would like to support this site, please consider Donating.
Useful Temperate Plants

Cuphea wrightii

A.Gray

Lythraceae

+ Synonyms

Cuphea meionandra Koehne

Cuphea venusta Koehne

Parsonsia wrightii (A.Gray) Kearney

Common Name:

No Image.

General Information

Cuphea wrightii is an erect, usually branched, annual plant with slender stems; it can grow 10 - 40cm tall. The plant is sticky to the touch due to the presence of reddish-purple glandular hairs[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
,
1207
Title
Flora del Valle de Tehuacán-Cuicatlán
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/bibliography/118975#/summary
Publisher
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Year
1993 - 2015
ISBN
968-36-3108-8
Description
An excellent flora (in Spanish) of the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán biosphere reserve in southeastern Mexico. It can be downloaded from the Internet
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine. This is one of several species in this genus that have been identified as potential commercial seedcrops, grown for their oil. Although a tropical plant, it is said to be suitable for cultivation in some temperate regions.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
,
1207
Title
Flora del Valle de Tehuacán-Cuicatlán
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/bibliography/118975#/summary
Publisher
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Year
1993 - 2015
ISBN
968-36-3108-8
Description
An excellent flora (in Spanish) of the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán biosphere reserve in southeastern Mexico. It can be downloaded from the Internet

Range

C. America - Costa Rica to Mexico and Arizona

Habitat

Moist or rather dry thickets, open banks, fields, often on rocky or grassy slopes in pine-oak forest; at elevations from 800 - 2,800metre[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
]. Dry scrubland at elevations from 1,830 - 2,090 metres in Mexico[
1207
Title
Flora del Valle de Tehuacán-Cuicatlán
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/bibliography/118975#/summary
Publisher
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Year
1993 - 2015
ISBN
968-36-3108-8
Description
An excellent flora (in Spanish) of the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán biosphere reserve in southeastern Mexico. It can be downloaded from the Internet
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitAnnual
Height0.30 m
PollinatorsSelf
Self-fertileYes
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

Cuphea wrightii is a plant of the tropical regions of central N. America, but is said to be suitable for cultivation as an annual in parts of the temperate zone. Continental areas with hot summers, and Mediterranean regions have been specifically mentioned, the most important factors are the length of the growing season and the amount of summer heat required to ripen the crop.
Prefers a position in full sun, but tolerant of light shade. Succeeds in any reasonable, fertile soil[
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.
].
Cuphea has only been investigated as a potential commercial crop for a few years, and still has the characteristics of a
wild plant. Those characteristics that differ from cultivated plants are its propensity to seed shatter, its indeterminate flowering nature, and its overall stickiness. If these wild traits can be overcome, Cuphea's chemistry, coupled with the annual and therefore renewable nature of the plant, certainly can make it a new crop.
This species is self-fertile[
1206
Title
Advances in New Crops. Proceedings of the First National Symposium NEW CROPS: Research, Development, Economics
Publication
 
Author
Jules Janick and J.E.Simon (eds.)
Publisher
Timber Press, Portland, Oregon
Year
1990
ISBN
0-88192-166-1
Description
This book is the proceedings of the First National Symposium on New Crops held October 23-26, 1988 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The contents include papers from invited speakers, papers derived from posters, and abstracts from poster presentations
].
Germination in central European climate is slow (14 - 20 days) even in late May after the last frosts, but this is made up for by quick growth and early seed ripening.
Germination is slowed by the thick seed hull. The first seed is produced six weeks after sowing in the greenhouse.
This species is closely allied to Cuphea carthagenensis[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
]..

Edible Uses

An oil obtained from the seeds has the potential to be used in foods[
289
Title
The National Non-Food Crops Centre Crop Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.nnfcc.co.uk/crops/pd.cfm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line information source, with information on over 100 species (as of 2006) of plants being investigated as bio-crops.
].

Medicinal

The whole plant is used in the treatment of respiratory illness[
1209
Title
A comprehensive review of Cuphea (Lythraceae)
Publication
Research Journal of Pharmaceutical, Biological and Chemical Sciences 2(3):847-855 · July 2011
Author
Mohamed R Elgindi; Nahla Ayoub; Rola Milad and Reham Hassan
Publisher
 
Year
2011
ISBN
0975-8585
Description
Gives information on the traditional medicinal uses of various cuphea species, and also a review of modern research and the compounds the plants contain.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

In the US it has been suggested to plant Cuphea in rotation with corn and soybeans every three years. If grown this way Cuphea can help disrupt the life cycle of corn rootworms - pests that account for more pesticide use on US row crops than any other insect. (Corn rootworms can cost up to $1billion per annum in control and yield losses)

Other Uses

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 capric acid (53.9%) and is also a good source of caprylic acid (29.4%).
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

Propagation

Seed - can be sown in situ after the last expected frosts[
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.
]. 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[
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. 2021-07-26. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Cuphea+wrightii>

Add a Comment:

If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.