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Uses

Toxic parts

The whole plant is poisonous due to its saponin content[1]. Although toxic, saponins are very poorly absorbed by the body and so tend to pass through without causing harm. They are also broken down by thorough cooking. Saponins are found in many plants, including several that are often used for food, such as certain beans. It is advisable not to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish[K]. The toxic effect of this plant is not caused by saponins, but by calcium oxalate crystals which are found mainly in the fruit[2].

Edible uses

Notes

Young shoots - cooked[3][4][5][2]. A decidedly bitter flavour[1]. An asparagus substitute, it is best if the water is changed once whilst cooking[6]. See notes at top of the page regarding possible toxicity.

Leaves

Material uses

There are no material uses listed for Tamus communis.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The root is antiecchymotic, diuretic, emetic, haemolytic and rubefacient[4][1][7]. Use with caution, the plant is rich in saponins, has a very powerful cathartic affect and ranks as a dangerous irritant poison[4][1]. It is not normally used internally, but the macerated root is applied externally as a poultice to bruises, rheumatic joints etc[4][1]. This should not be done without expert advice since it can cause painful blisters[7]. The root is used fresh[7] or can be harvested in the autumn and dried for later use[1].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Climber

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - sow in a cold frame in early spring or as soon as the seed is ripe in the autumn. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle, and plant out in the summer or in late spring of the following year.

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



Cultivation

Requires a moist well-drained fertile soil[8].

A climbing plant, the weak stems support themselves by twining around other plants and are capable of growing quite high up into shrubs and trees[4].

Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Tamus communis. 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 Tamus communis.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Tamus communis
Genus
Tamus
Family
Dioscoreaceae
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
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
5
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Strong wind
Ecosystems
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Life
Deciduous or Evergreen
?
Herbaceous or Woody
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
Fertility
Pollinators
Flower Colour
?
Flower Type

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References

  1. ? 1.01.11.21.31.41.51.61.7 Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
  2. ? 2.02.12.2 Frohne. D. and Pf?nder. J. A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants. Wolfe ISBN 0723408394 (1984-00-00)
  3. ? 3.03.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
  4. ? 4.04.14.24.34.44.54.6 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
  5. ? 5.05.1 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
  6. ? 6.06.1 Johnson. C. P. The Useful Plants of Great Britain. ()
  7. ? 7.07.17.27.3 Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-37216-2 (1981-00-00)
  8. ? 8.08.1 Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)

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