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Vaccaria hispanica - (Mill.)Rauschert.                
                 
Common Name Cow Cockle
Family Caryophyllaceae
Synonyms V. pyramidata. V. segetilis. V. vulgaris. Saponaria vaccaria. L.
Known Hazards The seeds and other parts of the plant contain saponins[218, 240]. Although toxic, these substances are very poorly absorbed by the body and so tend to pass through without causing harm, they are also broken down if thoroughly heated[K]. Saponins are found in many plants, including several that are often used for food, such as certain beans. It is not advisable to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish[K].
Habitats A weed of cultivated fields[50].
Range C. and S. Europe, north to Belgium. An introduced and not infrequent casual in Britain[17].
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Moist Soil Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
Vaccaria hispanica is a ANNUAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft). It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Lepidoptera, self.The plant is self-fertile.


USDA hardiness zone : Coming soon


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Vaccaria hispanica Cow Cockle


Vaccaria hispanica Cow Cockle
   
Habitats       
 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Seed.
Edible Uses: Condiment.

Leaves - used as a condiment[177, 179, 183]. Seed - ground into a meal[179]. Rich in starch[179]. The seed contains 13.8 - 16.1% protein and 1.6 - 3.2% fat[218]. The seed also contains saponins, see notes above on toxicity[218].
Composition                                         
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Seed (Dry weight)
  • 0 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 0%
  • Protein: 15g; Fat: 2.5g; Carbohydrate: 0g; Fibre: 0g; Ash: 0g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 0mg; Phosphorus: 0mg; Iron: 0mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
  • Vitamins - A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 0mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0mg; Niacin: 0mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;
  • Reference: [ 218]
  • Notes: The report does not make it clear whether this is a zero moisture basis.
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.

Anodyne;  Antiphlogistic;  Antipruritic;  Diuretic;  Emmenagogue;  Febrifuge;  Galactogogue;  Oxytoxic;  Styptic;  Vulnerary.

The seed is anodyne, discutient, diuretic, emmenagogue, galactogogue, styptic and vulnerary[147, 176, 178, 218]. A decoction is used to treat skin problems, breast tumours, menstrual problems, deficiency of lactation and sluggish labour[218]. The seeds are also taken internally as a galactogogue[218]. The flowers, leaves, roots and shoots also have the same properties[218]. The sap of the plant is said to be febrifuge and tonic[240]. It is used in the treatment of long-continued fevers of a low type[240]. The plant is used externally to cure itch[240].
Other Uses
None known
Cultivation details                                         
Succeeds in any well-drained soil in a sunny position[200]. Sometimes cultivated for its seed which is often added to wild bird foods[200]. By this means, the plant is often found as an introduced casual in Britain[200].
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - sow April in situ[1].
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
(Mill.)Rauschert.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
50200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[50]? Flora Europaea
An immense work in 6 volumes (including the index). The standard reference flora for europe, it is very terse though and with very little extra information. Not for the casual reader.
[147]? A Barefoot Doctors Manual.
A very readable herbal from China, combining some modern methods with traditional chinese methods.
[176]Yeung. Him-Che. Handbook of Chinese Herbs and Formulas.
An excellent Chinese herbal giving information on over 500 species. Rather technical and probably best suited to the more accomplished user of herbs.
[177]Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption.
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
[178]Stuart. Rev. G. A. Chinese Materia Medica.
A translation of an ancient Chinese herbal. Fascinating.
[179]Reid. B. E. Famine Foods of the Chiu-Huang Pen-ts'ao.
A translation of an ancient Chinese book on edible wild foods. Fascinating.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[218]Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
[240]Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.

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Subject : Vaccaria hispanica  
             

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