Herb: Tickweed


Latin name: Cleome viscosa


Synonyms: Polanisia viscosa


Family: Capparidaceae (Caper Family)



Medicinal use of Tickweed:

The leaves are diaphoretic, rubefacient and vesicant. They are used as an external application to wounds and ulcers. The juice of the leaves has been used to relieve earache. The seeds are anthelmintic, carminative, rubefacient, stimulant and vesicant. The seed contains 0.1% viscosic acid and 0.04% viscosin. A paste of the root is applied externally in the treatment of earaches.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Annual


Height:
150 cm
(5 feet)

Habitat of the herb:

Sandy and freely draining soils in open woodland scrub and on scree slopes in dry areas.

Edible parts of Tickweed:

Leaves and young shoots - cooked as a vegetable. A sharp mustard-like flavour. The pungent seed can be pickled or used as a mustard substitute in curries. The seedpods are made into pickles. The juice of the plant is used as a condiment. An oil obtained from the seeds is used for cooking.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - surface sow or only lightly cover the seed in spring in a greenhouse. The seed usually germinates in 5 - 14 days at 25C. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in late spring. Day time temperatures below 20C depress germination but a night time fall to 20 is necessary.

Cultivation of Tickweed:

Sandy and freely draining soils in open woodland scrub and on scree slopes in dry areas.

Known hazards of Cleome viscosa:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.