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Uses

Toxic parts

The fresh root is mildly poisonous[1].

Edible uses

Notes

Bulb - cooked[2][3][4]. Intensely bitter[5]. A bitter-sweet soapy taste[6].

Material uses

There are no material uses listed for Aletris farinosa.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The greatest value of unicorn root is its tonic influence on the female generative organs, proving to be of great use in treating cases of habitual miscarriages[7]. It also promotes the appetite and is used in the treatment of diarrhoea, rheumatism and jaundice[8].

The root is bitter, diuretic, narcotic and tonic[9][1][10][11]. Only use the dried rootstock[1], in large doses the fresh root is somewhat narcotic, emetic and cathartic[7]. A decoction of the root is a bitter tonic and has been used for expelling flatulence and for various uterine disorders[12][8]. It is used in the treatment of colic, though small doses, especially of the fresh root[7], can cause hypogastric colic[8]. The root is harvested in late summer after flowering and dried for later use[6]. The root contains diosgenin, which has both anti-inflammatory and oestrogenic properties[8].

A tea of the leaves has been used in the treatment of colic, stomach disorders, dysentery and bloody dysentery[11][13].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - we have no details for this species but suggest sowing the seed in a greenhouse in early spring. Sow the seed thinly to allow the seedlings to be grown on for their first year without potting them up, but give a liquid feed from time to time to ensure that they do not become nutrient deficient. Prick the young plants out into individual pots the following spring and grow them on in the greenhouse for the next winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. Division in spring.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Aletris farinosa. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Prefers a damp sunny position in peat, leafmold and sand[9]. Requires a sunny position[14]. Plants are hardy to between -10 and -15°c[14].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Aletris farinosa. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Aletris farinosa.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Aletris farinosa
Genus
Aletris
Family
Liliaceae
Imported References
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
7
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    ?
    Herbaceous or Woody
    ?
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    ?
    Mature Size
    Fertility
    ?
    Pollinators
    ?
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type











    References

    1. ? 1.01.11.21.3 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
    2. ? 2.02.1 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.1 Yanovsky. E. Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237. U.S. Depf of Agriculture. ()
    4. ? 4.04.1 Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3874292169 (1984-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
    6. ? 6.06.16.26.3 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.17.27.3 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.18.28.38.4 Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (1990-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.19.2 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    11. ? 11.011.111.2 Weiner. M. A. Earth Medicine, Earth Food. Ballantine Books ISBN 0-449-90589-6 (1980-00-00)
    12. ? 12.012.1 Coffey. T. The History and Folklore of North American Wild Flowers. Facts on File. ISBN 0-8160-2624-6 (1993-00-00)
    13. ? 13.013.1 Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
    14. ? 14.014.114.2 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    15. ? Fernald. M. L. Gray's Manual of Botany. American Book Co. (1950-00-00)