Herb: Owls Claws


Latin name: Helenium hoopesii


Synonyms: Dugaldia hoopesii, Hymenoxys hoopesii


Family: Compositae



Medicinal use of Owls Claws:

The plant is used as a remedy for vomiting. A snuff made from the crushed blossoms and the leaves of Psoralidium lanceolatum has been inhaled in the treatment of headaches and hay fever.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial


Height:
90 cm
(2 feet)

Flovering:
June to
September

Habitat of the herb:

Rich soils in coniferous forests, in meadows along stream sides and on wet slopes, 2250 - 3300 metres in the Southern Rockies.

Edible parts of Owls Claws:

A chewing gum is obtained from the roots.

Other uses of the herb:

A yellow dye is obtained from the flowers. They are usually boiled up with juniper ash to obtain the dye.

Propagation of Owls Claws:

Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. If you have sufficient seed it might be worthwhile trying a sowing in mid to late spring in situ outdoors. Cuttings of soft wood from the base of the plant, June/July in a frame. Basal cuttings in spring. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10 - 15cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer. Division in spring or autumn. This needs to be done fairly regularly because the clumps soon become congested. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Rich soils in coniferous forests, in meadows along stream sides and on wet slopes, 2250 - 3300 metres in the Southern Rockies.

Known hazards of Helenium hoopesii:

This species is said to be poisonous to sheep. Although no mention of any toxicity to people has been seen it is wise to assume that it is toxic.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.