Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pretty and Practical

Although the Carnation is the national flower of Spain the Lantana camara, which is in flower now. is more commonly know as the Spanish flag. Its a wonderfully colourful bush which is native to tropical regions in Central and South America.It is very hardy and invasive, which is probably why you see it on road side and central reservations. It seems to survive any sort of treatment or conditions here. This Shrub can cope with minimum amounts of water, tolerates high temperatures and is not affected by most pests. It is also attractive to butterflies. You do see various colours but the one that gave it it common name is of course yellow and red.There are some wonderful examples in flower beds near the river. Such is the survival rate of this shrub in many countries a whole host of uses have been found for it. As you can see from the photo it has a very pretty flower it also produces a blackberry looking fruit. There are reports that children have died from eating unripe berries though I have read the berries are edible when ripe.
All the parts of this plant have been used traditionally for several ailments throughout the world. The root of this plant is used for the treatment of malaria, rheumatism and skin rashes according to some sources,it has also been said that it has properties which help in the treatment of cancer.In some parts of the world Some communities have found alternate uses for Lantana, because it is so difficult to eradicate. Some household furniture, such as tables and chairs are made from the stalks, or the small branches are bundled together to make brooms. I am not sure I will risk trying the berries maybe just stick to admiring its beauty

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