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Baccharoides hymenolepis - (A.Rich.) Isawumi, B.Nord. & El-Ghazaly

Common Name Baccharoides
Family Asteraceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Along rivers and roadsides, in forest margins, old cultivation sites and bushed grassland, also in montane forest and often found in disturbed habitats; usually at elevations from 1,200 - 3,000 metres, sometimes descending to 600 metres[ 299 , 610 ].
Range Tropical Africa - Sudan, Ethiopia, eastern DR Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zi
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Half Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Baccharoides hymenolepis Baccharoides

Baccharoides hymenolepis Baccharoides


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Baccharoides hymenolepis is a perennial plant of up to 4-12 m tall found in tropical Africa. It is commonly cultivated as food plant.Plant parts are medicinally used as treatment for pneumonia, abdominal pains, jaundice, and diarrhoea among others. The leaves are edible - raw, cooked, or dried for later use. Dried stems and branches are used as fuel. The plant is also used as an ornamental.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Baccharoides hymenolepis is an evergreen Shrub growing to 4 m (13ft) by 3 m (9ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 9. The flowers are pollinated by Insects, Wind.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Baccharoides calvoana var. microcephala (C.D.Adams, Vernonia homilocephala S.Moore


Edible Uses

Leaves - raw or cooked. Eaten in salads, as a potherb or used as a garnish[ 299 ]. The leaves can be dried for later use[ 299 ]. The leaves are less bitter than related species that are used in the same ways, such as bitterleaf (Gymnanthemum amygdalinum)[ 299 ].

Medicinal Uses

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The plant is used medicinally as a cure for pneumonia[ 299 ]. Juice from the crushed leaves is used to treat jaundice, and also diarrhoea in babies[ 299 ]. A hot leaf placed on a wound is said to stop bleeding[ 299 ]. A root decoction is used as a purgative and to treat abdominal pains[ 299 ]. The sesquiterpene lactone vernolepin was isolated from plant material collected in Ethiopia. This compound showed antitumour activity and platelet anti-aggregating properties[ 299 ].

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Other Uses

Other uses rating: Medium (3/5). Agroforestry Uses: The plant is sometimes planted as a hedge around homes and gardens, both for vegetable use and for the ornamental value of the large white or purple flowering heads[ 299 ]. The plants help to stabilize the soil, especially on slopes[ 299 ]. Other Uses Dry branches and stems serve as fuel[ 299 ].

Cultivation details

Baccharoides hymenolepis is a plant of moderate elevations in the tropics where it can be grown up to 3,000 metres. The plants thrive at temperatures of less than 30?c. The minimum mean annual rainfall required is 840mm[ 299 ]. Generally, the plants grow well in a loose, moist soil that is rich in humus. The degree of soil fertility greatly influences leaf size[ 299 ]. The plant is very sensitive to drought[ 299 ]. Seedlings are tasted when they are being planted out and the more bitter seedlings are discarded. This selection process not only secures a better quality crop, but also serves to reduce bitterness in the next generations[ 299 ]. Early growth of young plants during the rainy season is so rapid that they grow as tall as 40 - 50cm in just 4 weeks. This rapid growth continues as long as there is ample moisture in the soil[ 299 ]. Harvesting the leaves starts 4 - 6 weeks after sowing or 6 - 8 weeks after transplanting. Harvesting is done either by cutting the young shoots or gathering the leaves only. Although the harvest of leaves only is often preferred, this system may adversely affect the development of the plant[ 299 ]. Best results are obtained during the rainy season by cutting the shoots at 5 - 10cm above the soil, which will then be replaced by one or two side shoots. These side shoots could be harvested 3 - 4 weeks later and, depending on soil moisture and fertility, this process could be repeated two or three times[ 299 ]. In the dry season, when new shoots develop only slowly if at all, farmers pick the leaves only[ 299 ]. Highest yields are obtained during the rainy season. An initial harvest of stems yields about 1 kilo per square metre, this decreases to about 500 grammes on the third harvest[ 299 ]. Flower initiation begins with the onset of the dry season or during periods of drought[ 299 ].

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Seed - it can be sown in situ, but is more commonly sown by broadcasting, or by sowing in lines, on raised nursery beds - these are shaded to prevent excessive evaporation. Germination commences within 5 days. When the seedlings are 2 - 3 weeks old, with 4 - 6 leaves, they are pruned by nipping the growing point and are then transplanted with a ball of soil to their permanent positions[ 299 ]. Cuttings. Stems with 4 buds, taken from mature plants, are used; they are planted slanting. Rooting of the cuttings is not always successful and plant growth is much slower than in seedlings, so that this method is only used in home gardens when a particular plant type is appreciated[ 299 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Baccharoides hymenolepis or Carqueja

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Coming Soon

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants


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(A.Rich.) Isawumi, B.Nord. & El-Ghazaly

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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