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Woodfordia fruticosa - (L.) Kurz

Common Name Fire-flame bush
Family Lythraceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Habitat Open, sunny places, often on disturbed soils and on old agricultural land. Open waste land and degraded places[338 ].
Range East Africa - Tanzania, Madagascar; E. Asia - Indian subcontinent, China, Myanmar, Thailand, Indones
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Woodfordia fruticosa Fire-flame bush


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Woodfordia fruticosa Fire-flame bush
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Summary

Fire-flame bush, Woodfordia fruticosa, is a well-branched tropical shrub growing up to 5-7 m in height with a reddish-brown bark that peels off in strips. It is endemic to India. New shoots and leaves have black dots and circles of glands. The leaves are simple, covered with white hairs, and opposite or in rings of three. The flowers are in clusters of up to 17 on short shoots in the axils of leaves. Individual flowers are large and red-orange. The fruits are dry irregular capsules containing many smooth, small, brown seeds. The plant has medicinal uses and is used in the treatment of dysentery and menorrhagia, and as an astringent. The flowers are eaten as food and used in the preparation of a cooling drink. The plant yields a gum and the flowers and leaves contain tannins. The flowers also yield a dye. The wood is used for fuel. Plants are tolerant to frosts and coppices well.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Woodfordia fruticosa is an evergreen Shrub growing to 5 m (16ft) by 5 m (16ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Synonyms

Grislea punctata Buch.-Ham. ex Sm. Grislea tomentosa Roxb. Lythrum fruticosum L. Lythrum hunteri DC.

Habitats

Edible Uses

The flowers are eaten as food and used in the preparation of a cooling drink[439 ]. (This report was a little unclear, and might have referred to the leaves[K ].)

Medicinal Uses

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The flowers are astringent[615 ]. They are used in the treatment of dysentery, traditionally being beaten up with honey into a kind of confection[615. They are also thought to be of use in treating menorrhagia[615 ] The flowers are used externally as an astringent[615 ].

Other Uses

Agroforestry Uses: This is a common gregarious shrub which springs up naturally on landslips, abandoned cultivation, and other open places, killing out grass, binding the soil together and acting as a useful soil-improver and a most efficient nurse to tree species, including sal, which come up freely under its protective cover. It is unable to regenerate by seed in shady places so, as the trees grow larger this species gradually dies out. It is not eaten by cattle, and is frost-hardy, and thus appears often in extensive pure masses on open ground subject to grazing. Other Uses A gum is obtained from the plant. It is similar to gum tragacanth[46 , 439 ]. The flowers contain about 20% tannins[615 ]. They are harvested when open and then dried for later use. When being used for their tannins, the leaves are employed more commonly than the flowers, simply because they are available in greater quantity[439 ]. A dye is obtained from the flowers[46 , 615 ]. It can be used on its own or combined with other dyes where they also act as a mordant[439 ]. They are most commonly combined with Morinda citrifolia[439 ]. The wood is used for fuel[439 ].

Cultivation details

Plants are frost tolerant. Requires a sunny position. Succeeds in any well-drained soil[200 ]. Plants are very wind tolerant[200 ]. The plant coppices well; coppice-shoots five years old averaged 3 metres in height.

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Propagation

The seed is minute - the plant self-sows freely in open, well-drained ground but can be more difficult in a nursery situation. The most successful way in which to grow the plant artificially is to sow the seeds in broken bricks; on ordinary seed-beds it is very difficult to obtain germination and to raise seedlings. If sowing the seed in a nursery bed, the soil should be light and very well-drained and the position should be fairly sunny. Scatter the seed over the surface and just lightly push it into the soil - do not cover it. Water the seed gently, being careful not to wash it away, and water once or twice a day if the soil looks like it is drying out[K ]. Softwood cuttings[200 ]. They are said to be easy[439 ]. Hardwood cuttings[200 ]. They are said to be easy[439 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Agnijwala, Dahai, Dawai, Dawi, Dhai-phul, Dhai, Dhaiphal, Dhangera, Dhataki, Dhaula, Dhaura, Dhavdi, Dhawi, Dhayti, Dhenti, Gaddaisinka, Gul bahar, Gul, Harwari, Icha, Jargi, Jatiko, Lambohenza, Phuldawai, Phulsatti, Santha, Serinji, Shiranjitea, Tamrapushpi, Tawi, Thai, Thawi, Zhubuli, aarl puruvu, anare phul, bahupuspi, bajhiya, birukanda, chenchev, chyuhuwa, daring, davi, dha-ta-ki, dhai, dhainra, dhaiphool, dhaiphul, dhaiphula, dhanyar, dhanyaro, dhataki, dhathaki, dhauli, dhava, dhavadi, dhavadiphool, dhavani, dhavati, dhaya, dhayaro, dhayati, dhataki (flower), fire flame bush, fire-flame bush, fire-flame bush|malitha, fire-flame-bush, ghayaro, jamjasa, kattathi, kattati, kattattipoo, phul dhava, sano dhayaro, shiranji tea, shiranji-tea, syakte, tamrapushpi, tatire, tattiripuvu, tamrapu?pi, vahnijvala, woodfordia.

Found In

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

Africa, Asia, Bhutan, Burma, China, East Africa, Himalayas, India, Indonesia, Laos, Madagascar, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, SE Asia, Sri Lanka, Thailand,

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 : Status: Lower Risk/least concern

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Author

(L.) Kurz

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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