Poppy, Plume

Medical Herbs Catalogue


Poppy, Plume

Botanical Name: Bocconia cordata
Family: N.O. Papaveraceae
Synonym: Macleaya.
Part Used: Juice of stems of leaves.
Habitat: China, but grows freely in author's garden.

Description: This plant was named in honour of a Sicilian botanist. A handsome and vigorous perennial, growing in erect tufts up to 8 feet. Flowers in very large panicles; the inflorescence is a soft creamy to brown plume, not showy, but has a fine effect; the blue-green downy leaves are very effective and elegant; the plant is propagated by seeds and division of the root.

Constituents: Protopine, homo-chilidonine chelerythrine and sanguinarine have been isolated from the plant.

Medicinal Action and Uses: The liquid from the root and the juice of the stems of the leaves are a deep orange and stains the hands; the juice from the stems of the leaves is used for insect-bites.

It is considered probable that the various species of this genus may have active medicinal qualities.

Other Species:
The Mexican (Bocconia arborea, Watson)has been found to contain two alkaloids, one of which is probably Sanguinarine, and the leaves of other species are used in South America as purgatives and abortifacients.

B. frutescens and B. integrifolia are natives of the West Indies and Mexico, and are more tender than B. cordata, and are best protected or taken into greenhouse during the winter. It is easier to raise these by seeds than by cuttings.