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Arctopus echinatus

   (Family: Apiaceae)
Afrikaans: Kaapse platdoring, sieketroos  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Shrub
Height: 0.1m
Spread: 0.6m
Special properties:
  Has Medicinal Uses
Rarity Status:
Preferred rainfall: Winter
Preferred position:
Full Sun
Tolerated soil:  
  Sand (coarse texture, drains easily)
Flowering time EDIT
        x x x          
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
Flower type
  Flower info
  Males bear umbels of small cream flowers, borne on short flower stalks. Female flowers greenish, stalkless, arranged in flower-like heads (pseudanthia) surrounded by four or five prominent spiny bracts.
Leaf shape EDIT
Leaf margin
Leaf type
Leaf arrangement
Leaf texture Rough
  Leaf info EDIT
  Leaves large, simple, prostrate, ovate to rhomboidal in outline, with spiny margins and sharp recurved thorns between the leaf divisions.
Fruit colour
  Seed info EDIT
  Fruit dry, brown and spiny.
Description EDIT
This peculiar plant is quite unlike any other and most people would not recognize it as a member of the family Apiaceae.
The plant has a thick, tuberous root with a rosette of spiny leaves which is borne flat on the ground.
Plants are either male or female.
Growing EDIT
Distribution EDIT
Widely distributed in the Cape fynbos region, from Nieuwoudtville in the north to Port Elizabeth in the east.
History EDIT
The roots (or the white resinous gum which oozes from it) are used for madicinal purposes.
It was a popular early Cape remedy for numerous diseases and the use of the plant probably had its origin in the Khoi culture.
Decoctions, infusions or tinctures of the root have been used to treat venereal diseases.
The medicine is said to be diuretic, demulcent and purgative, and is widely used to treat bladder ailments and skin irritations.
Other traditional uses include the treatment of epilepsy.
Ecology EDIT
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  • Ben-Erik van Wyk, (2005), Medicinal Plants of South Africa ,Briza Publications  


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