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Leontice leontopetalum - L.

Common Name Rakaf
Family Berberidaceae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Sunny rocky places on cultivated ground, 400 - 2200 metres[89, 90]. Plants are sometimes found on limestone, they also grow in steppes and semi-desert[200].
Range Europe - Mediterranean to N. Africa.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (1 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Leontice leontopetalum Rakaf

Leontice leontopetalum Rakaf


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Leontice leontopetalum is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 6. It is in flower from April to May. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map



 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts:
Edible Uses: Drink

The tuber is said to contain a significant quantity of starch, from which a liquor is distilled[280].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antidote  Antispasmodic  Epilepsy  Leprosy  Miscellany

The tuber is used as a cure for epilepsy and leprosy. It is also said to be an antidote to opium[61, 89].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Miscellany  Soap

A soap is obtained from the plant, it is used in removing stains from cloth[89].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Regional Crop  Regional Crop

Succeeds in an ordinary well-drained soil[1]. Plants require plenty of moisture during their winter-spring growing period and then a warm dry rest period in the summer[280]. In cool moist temperate climates they are best grown in a bulb frame and kept completely dry in the summer[200]. They can succeed outdoors in warm dry areas[200]. The tuber should not be covered when planting[1]. This is a strange report when considered against the report that seeds pull themselves down 15 - 30cm into the soil when they germinate - see below.

Carbon Farming

  • Regional Crop  These crops have been domesticated and cultivated regionally but have not been adopted elsewhere and are typically not traded globally, Examples in this broad category include perennial cottons and many nuts and staple fruits.
  • Regional Crop  These crops have been domesticated and cultivated regionally but have not been adopted elsewhere and are typically not traded globally, Examples in this broad category include perennial cottons and many nuts and staple fruits.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Seed - sow 3 - 4 seeds in each pot of deep soil in a greenhouse, covering the seed with 2cm of soil. It germinates in the autumn and pulls itself down 15 - 30cm deep into the soil before the first leaves appear in the spring[130, 200]. If necessary, thin the plants to the best one in each pot and grow them on for at least three years in their pots before trying them outdoors. Give regular weak liquid feeds to ensure that the plants do not become nutrient deficient. Plants are very slow growing and can take several years before they first flower[280].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

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Found In

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

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.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

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Readers comment

saracoglu ibrahim adnan   Sat Mar 23 15:48:10 2002

Link: prof.dr.saracoglu against breast and prostate cancer as propylax

maria   Wed Jun 13 2007

Hi Dear, I live in Vancouver, BC. There is no information about where I can find this herbs. I'm looking for rakaf right now. If you have any idea please let me know. Thanks for your time. Maria

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Subject : Leontice leontopetalum  
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