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Caulophyllum thalictroides - (L.)Michx.

Common Name Papoose Root, Blue cohosh
Family Berberidaceae
USDA hardiness 6-9
Known Hazards This plant should not be used during pregnancy prior to the commencement of labour[165]. Excessive doses may cause high blood pressure and symptoms similar to nicotine poisoning. Overdose may cause nausea, vomiting, in-coordination and narrowing of blood vessels to the heart muscles. Powdered root can have an irritant effect on mucous membranes [301]. Contraindicated in patients with ischaemic heart disease (angina and heart attacks) and in patients with high blood pressure [301].
Habitats Rich moist soils in swamps, by streams[4, 21] and in woods[43].
Range Eastern N. America - New Brunswick to South Carolina, Arkansas, North Dakota and Manitoba.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade
Caulophyllum thalictroides Papoose Root,  Blue cohosh


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Caulophyllum thalictroides Papoose Root,  Blue cohosh
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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Caulophyllum thalictroides is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 1 m (3ft 3in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7. It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen in September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

Leontice thalictroides L.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; not Deep Shade;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts:
Edible Uses: Coffee.

The roasted seed is a coffee substitute[4, 102, 105, 177]. The seeds are about the size of large peas, but are not produced in abundance[232].

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.

Anthelmintic;  Antispasmodic;  Birthing aid;  Diaphoretic;  Diuretic;  Emmenagogue;  Oxytoxic;  Sedative.


Papoose root is a traditional herb of many North American Indian tribes and was used extensively by them to facilitate child birth[207]. Modern herbalists still consider it to be a woman's herb and it is commonly used to treat various gynaecological conditions[254]. An acrid, bitter, warming herb, it stimulates the uterus, reduces inflammation, expels intestinal worms and has diuretic effects[238]. The root is anthelmintic, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, oxytocic and sedative[4, 21, 46, 165, 207]. An infusion of the root in warm water is taken for about 2 weeks before the expected birth date in order to ease the birth[207, 213]. This infusion can also be used as an emmenagogue and a uterine stimulant[213]. Papoose root should therefore be used with some caution by women who are in an earlier stage of pregnancy since it can induce a miscarriage or early delivery[222]. The plant is also taken internally in the treatment of pelvic inflammatory disease, rheumatism and gout[238]. It should not be prescribed for people with hypertension and heart diseases[238]. The powdered root can have an irritant action on the mucous membranes, therefore any use of this plant is best under the supervision of a qualified practitioner[238, 268]. The roots are normally harvested in the autumn, because they are at their richest at this time[213], and are dried for later use. The root is harvested in early spring as new growth is beginning and is used to make a homeopathic remedy[232]. It is used especially in childbirth and in some forms of rheumatism[232].

Other Uses

None known

Cultivation details

Easily grown in a damp light humus-rich woodland soil preferring a position in deep shade[1, 200]. One report says that it is best in a peat garden. Plants are hardy to at least -20°c[187]. The plant only produces one large leaf each year[233]. The seeds rupture the ovary before they are fully ripe and continue to expand naked, they are bright blue when fully ripe[130].

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a shady part of a cold frame[200]. If stored seed is used, it should be sown as soon as it is received. Germination can be erratic. Prick out the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a shady part of a greenhouse or cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions during autumn or early winter. Division in spring or just after flowering[200]. Plants are slow to increase[187].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

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 :

Related Plants

 

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Expert comment

Author

(L.)Michx.

Botanical References

43200

Links / References

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Subject : Caulophyllum thalictroides  
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