Flower buds - raw or cooked. Tasting somewhat like peas. Young shoots and leaves - cooked. An asparagus substitute. They should not be eaten raw. Tips of older shoots are cooked like spinach. Young seed pods, 3 - 4 cm long, cooked. Very appetizing. Flower clusters can be boiled down to make a sugary syrup or they can be eaten raw. Seed - raw. A chewing gum can be made from the latex contained in the stem and leaves.Root.No further details.
A good quality tough fibre is obtained from the bark. It is used in twine, coarse cloth, paper etc. The fibre is 10 - 45mm long. It is easily harvested in late autumn, after the plants have died down, by simply pulling it off the dead stems. When making paper, the stems can be retted by leaving them in the ground until they are dry in the winter or they can be harvested in late summer, the leaves removed and the stems steamed to remove the fibre. The stems are then cooked for two hours with lye and pounded with mallets. The paper colour varies from white to creamy green depending on how the paper is made. If the stems are used in the summer the latex will often find its way onto the fibres and is hard to remove. The seed floss is used to stuff pillows etc or is mixed with other fibres to make cloth. It is a Kapok substitute, used in Life Jackets or as a stuffing material. It is very water repellent. The floss has also been used to mop up oil spills at sea. Rubber can be made from latex contained in the leaves and the stems. The yield is up to 3%. Pods contain an oil and a wax which are of potential importance.A green dye is obtained from the flowers and leaves combined.
Division in spring. With great care since the plant resents root disturbance. Pot the divisions up and place them in a lightly shaded position in the greenhouse until they are growing away strongly, then plant them out in the summer, giving them some protection from slugs until they are established..Basal cuttings in late spring. Use shoots about 10cm long with as much of their white underground stem as possible. Pot them up individually and place them in a lightly shaded position in a greenhouse until they are rooting and growing actively. If the plants grow sufficiently, they can be put into their permanent positions in the summer, otherwise keep them in the greenhouse until the following spring and when they are in active growth plant them out into their permanent positions. Give them some protection from slugs until they are established.
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A very ornamental plant, it is closely related to A. speciosa. Many members of this genus seem to be particularly prone to damage by slugs. The young growth in spring is especially vulnerable, but older growth is also attacked and even well-established plants have been destroyed in wet years[K]. Plants resent root disturbance and are best planted into their final positions whilst small.The flower of many members of this genus can trap insects between its anther cells, the struggles of the insect in escaping ensure the pollination of the plant.
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
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Polycultures & Guilds
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