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Aletris farinosa - L.
                 
Common Name Unicorn Root - Colic Root, White colicroot
Family Liliaceae
USDA hardiness 6-9
Known Hazards The fresh root is mildly poisonous[21] causing abdominal discomfort (hypogastric). May lead to colic, diarrhoea and vomiting. As used to treat amenorrhoea avoid during pregnancy [301].
Habitats Grassy or sandy woodlands, in dry or moist peats, sands and gravels, especially on the seashore[4, 21, 43]
Range South-eastern N. America - Southern Maine to Florida, west to Texas and Wisconsin.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun

Summary

Aletris farinosa Unicorn Root - Colic Root, White colicroot


Aletris farinosa Unicorn Root - Colic Root, White colicroot
   
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Aletris farinosa is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7. It is in flower from May to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms
Aletris alba Michx. Aletris lucida Raf.

Habitats
Woodland Garden Sunny Edge;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Root.
Edible Uses:

Bulb - cooked[105, 161, 177]. Intensely bitter[2]. A bitter-sweet soapy taste[238].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antiflatulent;  Antiinflammatory;  Appetite Stimulants;  Appetizer;  Bitter;  Diuretic;  Narcotic;  Tonic.


The greatest value of unicorn root is its tonic influence on the female generative organs, proving to be of great use in treating cases of habitual miscarriages[4]. Used for gynaecological disorders or 'female complaints' in the US including dysmenorrhoea, amenorrhoea and prolapsed vagina complaints [301]. It also promotes the appetite and is used in the treatment of diarrhoea, rheumatism and jaundice[222]. The root is bitter, diuretic, narcotic and tonic[1, 21, 46, 213]. Only use the dried rootstock[21], in large doses the fresh root is somewhat narcotic, emetic and cathartic[4]. A decoction of the root is a bitter tonic and has been used for expelling flatulence and for various uterine disorders[207, 222]. It is used in the treatment of colic, though small doses, especially of the fresh root[4], can cause hypogastric colic[222]. The root is harvested in late summer after flowering and dried for later use[238]. The root contains diosgenin, which has both anti-inflammatory and oestrogenic properties[222]. A tea of the leaves has been used in the treatment of colic, stomach disorders, dysentery and bloody dysentery[213, 257].
Other Uses
None known
Cultivation details
Prefers a damp sunny position in peat, leafmold and sand[1]. Requires a sunny position[200]. Plants are hardy to between -10 and -15°c[200].
Propagation
Seed - we have no details for this species but suggest sowing the seed in a greenhouse in early spring. Sow the seed thinly to allow the seedlings to be grown on for their first year without potting them up, but give a liquid feed from time to time to ensure that they do not become nutrient deficient. Prick the young plants out into individual pots the following spring and grow them on in the greenhouse for the next winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. Division in spring.

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Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
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Expert comment
 
Author
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Botanical References
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Links / References
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Readers comment
 
Elizabeth H.
Mon Jan 11 2010

Aesculus hippocastanum

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Subject : Aletris farinosa  

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