The following information was taken from Wikipedia: Globeflower (Cordylula angustifolia)
Globeflower is a small perennial herbaceous plant native to Europe and Asia. It grows up to 3 feet tall with a spreading habit. Globeflowers are commonly known as globes or globe plants because they have long stems and large round leaves which resemble those of a globe.
They are very popular in gardens due to their attractive flowers.
Globeflower is a member of the family Cordylineae (cordyliaceae). Globeflowers belong to the same genus as other members of the genus Cordylula including purple globeflower, golden globeflowers, and silver globemillia. Globeflowers are often used as houseplants because they tolerate most soils well and require little care.
However, they prefer moist soil.
In the wild, globeflowers are found growing along streamsides and riverside areas. They may also be grown in containers if provided with good drainage. They are not invasive and will not compete with native species; however, they tend to spread rapidly when cultivated in cultivation since they produce many seeds which must be dispersed throughout the garden area.
Globeflowers are herbaceous perennials with long, narrow leaves which grow from underground bulbils. Leaves grow in a circular pattern and range from green to blue-green in color. The leaves have a distinct globe shape.
The stems are tall and slender with a white coloration at the base and may reach up to 3 feet in height. The flowers bloom in early summer and are a vibrant purple or white in color. They may reach up to 4 inches diameter and have six petals. Each stem will produce between three and five flowers. Like most members of the family, globeflower has a distinctive scent, which some people find disagreeable while others find pleasant. The stems usually die back after flowering but the bulb can remain dormant in soil for many years before sending up new shoots.
Globeflowers are native to Europe but have been naturalized in the United States. They prefer a well-drained, moist soil with plenty of organic material and sun. They may be grown in gardens and borders alongside other perennials or in containers on decks and patios.
They tolerate most conditions but dislike sudden changes in temperature and should be kept fairly dry in winter. They are not invasive and will not outcompete native species.
Globeflowers can be propagated by division, seed or bulbils. Division should be performed when the plant is dormant (late summer to early fall). It is best to pot up the new plants soon after division since they do not like to be moved.
Seed may be sown in pots or directly in the ground. Germination usually occurs within one to four weeks. The young seedlings are very delicate and need a great deal of water for the first few weeks.
Globeflower is not related to foxglove (digitalis), a popular garden plant which contains a poisonous cardiac glycoside and should never be confused with it.
The plant is sometimes used for herbal medicines. The leaves can be used to make a yellow dye. In some countries it is used to treat inflammation, pain, and rheumatism.
The roots have been used for stomach aches.
Globeflower is a favorite food of the caterpillar of the grayling (“Hipparchia semele)” and some other butterflies and moths.
In New Zealand, “G. bavaricus” (syn. “G.
repens”) is eaten by the brush-tailed rock-wallaby (“Petrogale penicillata”) as well as sheep, goats, cattle and deer.
The genus name “Trollius” is derived from the Latin word “trollus”, meaning “reddish color”. The species epithet “bavaricus” refers to the border region between Bavaria (Germany) and Bohemia, where the type specimen was collected.
Globeflowers have a history of medicinal usage going back to ancient Egypt and Greece. The plant was used to treat sore throats and inflammations of the eye in ancient Egypt, while the ancient Greeks used it as a diuretic. The Ancient Greeks and Romans also used it to keep skin looking young and for toothache pain.
In the Middle Ages it was used to treat fever, jaundice, scabies, and headaches. The herb was listed in the United Kingdom Pharmacopoeia from 1830 to 1926, mainly as a treatment for inflammation and menstrual disorders.
In the United States, globeflower was used as a substitute for quinine by the Eclectic physicians, who rejected traditional allopathic medicine in favor of a wide range of medicines from plants, minerals, and animals. Globeflower came to be listed in the US Pharmacopoeia from 1820 to 1920 as a substitute for quinine. Because of its toxicity, it was used in much lower doses, so its effectiveness as a quinine substitute is doubtful.
It was also used extensively in Native American medicine.
Globeflowers are not recommended for use during pregnancy or before surgery, and people with epilepsy should avoid the plant due to its potential to trigger seizures. All parts of the plant except the ripe fruit contain oxypeucedanin, a toxic glycoside that can cause stomach and kidney problems, breathing difficulties, heart failure, coma, and death. The toxic dose of oxypeucedanin is only 3 to 5 mg/kg, which can be compared to the toxic dose of quinine, a related compound, which is 75 to 150 mg/kg.
Despite their certain toxic effects, oxypeucedanin and its derivatives have shown some positive results in treating malaria.
The toxin acts on the mitochondria, and the more the mitochondria have, the less toxic it is. The mitochondria are organs in charge of creating adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a form of energy used by all cells.
The toxic compound prevents the passage of electrons during oxidative phosphorylation, but when there are excess amounts the compound loses its toxicity. It is still unknown why higher temperatures increase a plants oxypeucedanin content.
The global medical market for quinine is around $340 million, and could reach $710 million by 2008, making it an attractive target for large pharmaceutical companies.
The structure of oxypeucedanin is similar to that of quinine, so the two compounds seem to have comparable effects on malaria. The demand for new anti-malarial drugs is high, and the World Health Organization has estimated that more than 60% of the world’s population is infected with malaria, and around 2 million people die from the disease every year.
Globeflowers are also susceptible to disease, such as a fungus called “Nectriaportentosa”. It has been little studied, but it is known to affect plants by creating lesions on stems and leaves. It is widespread in the western United States.
Most of the information on “B. australis” is coming from research done in the 1990s. The plant has been understudied, and more research needs to be done on its potential medical uses before it can be considered a reliable source.
More in-depth testing on the toxin oxypeucedanin is necessary as well, since research on that front has been limited. The plant could potentially be used as a flavoring or a food preservative, but again further research is necessary.
Other than its potential uses in medicine, “B. australis” is a good edible and medicinal herb. It is drought tolerant and can grow in poor soil, so it can be used as a pasture plant.
It is also fairly resistant to weeds and other pests. It is a good addition to the home garden.
Sources & references used in this article:
The Wild Garden: Expanded Edition by W Robinson – 2009 – books.google.com
The wild garden: or, The naturalization and natural grouping of hardy exotic plants, with a chapter on the garden of British wild flowers by W Robinson – 1894 – books.google.com
Perennial combinations: Stunning combinations that make your garden look fantastic right from the start by CC Burrell – 1999 – books.google.com
HARDY PERENNIALS IN SPRING AND EARLY SUMMER by BMW – Landscape Architecture, 1910 – JSTOR
… : Or, Our Groves and Gardens Made Beautiful by the Naturalisation of Hardy Exotic Plants; Being One Way Onwards from the Dark Ages of Flower Gardening … by W Robinson – 1883 – books.google.com
The Wild Garden: Or, Our Groves and Shrubberies Made Beautiful by W Robinson – 2011 – books.google.com
Herbaceous perennials by FW Meyer – 1901 – Blake and Mackenzie