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"Firebush" redirects here. It is also a slang which refers to the pubic hair of red-haired women.
Hamelia patens
Habitus
Conservation status
Not evaluated (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Rubiaceae
Genus: Hamelia
Species: H. patens
Binomial name
Hamelia patens
Jacq., 1763
Synonyms

Hamelia erecta Jacq.
Hamelia nodosa M.Martens & Galeotti

Hamelia patens is a large perennial shrub or small tree in the coffee family, Rubiaceae, that is native to the American subtropics and tropics. Its range extends from Florida in the southern United States to as far south as Argentina.[1] Common names include Firebush, Hummingbird Bush, Scarlet Bush and Redhead.

Contents

Growth

Flowers

Firebush has orangish-red tubular flowers, which recruit hummingbirds and butterflies for pollination[2]. The corollas vary greatly length, making them attractive to a wide range of pollinators[3]. The fruit is a small dark red berry, turning black at maturity.[4]

Despite its somewhat scraggy appearance, this is a valuable garden tree in warmer climates and even in temperate ones, as long as the soil remains above freezing[2].

Uses

Hummingbirds are attracted by its flowers and other birds feed on the fruit, both of which will also forage on small insects found in the vicinity, helping to keep down pests. The fruit have a refreshing, acidic taste and are also edible by humans; in Mexico, they are made into a fermented drink.

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Medicinal uses

Also, the plants are used in folk medicine against a range of ailments. A number of active compounds have been found in firebush[5], but no scientific study of its medical usefulness has been conducted yet.

Footnotes

  1. ^ USDA (2006)
  2. ^ a b Welch (2003)
  3. ^ Fenster (1991)
  4. ^ Francis, John K.
  5. ^ Including maruquine and isomaruquine, pteropodine and isopteropodine, palmirine, rumberine, seneciophylline and stigmast-4-ene-3,6-dione. The bark contains significant amounts of tannins. See Duke (2007).

References

External links


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