Sarcostemma viminale

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Sarcostemma viminale

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Sarcostemma viminale is a succulent vine in the milkweed family. The Rapunzel plant is an appealing choice for succulent, cactus and rock/cliff gardens and for spilling over dry walls. It also does well in hanging containers.

The rounded stems and branches scramble over the ground and through brush. Sarcostemma viminale is commonly known as the Rapunzel plant. This may be because — when in a hanging container — its vines hang down like the long-tressed Rapunzel character from the Brothers’ Grimm fairytale.

The flowers of Sarcostemma viminale are arranged in spherical umbels of green and white and look like a typical asclepiad flower in form. Flowers are followed by carrot-shaped seed pods. Although it is drought tolerant and does well in a dry environment, it can also be grown in a shadier riparian setting where the plant takes on a different appearance, becoming more lush with irrigation.

Throughout the areas of South Africa and Somalia where it is native, it has been reported that stems are eaten by humans either raw or cooked, and in Kenya it is collected as high-quality forage, however in other areas it has been known to poison lifestock..

Sarcostemma viminale has been used traditionally for medicinal purposes, and is currently being studied for possible use for cancer treatments.

Sarcostemma viminale’s aerial parts, roots and latex of the plant are all used in traditional medicine. The plant has been reportedly used to treat a wide variety of conditions including sores and wounds, eye infections, diarrhea, intestinal and skin parasites. Application of its healing properties includes ingestion of plant parts, drinking a decoction of the plant, application of the sap to affected parts, exposure to smoke from the burning plant or placing patients onto bedding made from the plant, however extreme care is usually required because of the poisonous and caustic nature of the sap.

Horticultural Data

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Names and Synonyms: Cynanchum tetrapterum, Apocynum viminale Bassi ex Schult., Sarcostemma aphyllum, Sarcostemma tetrapterum, Euphorbia viminalis
Common Names: Rapunzel plant
Family: Asclepiadaceae
Origin: Zimbabwe
Size Label: 1 Gallon
Height: 2-3′
Width: 3-5′
Cold Tolerance: 25 to 30°F; -3.9 to -1.1°C
Heat Tolerance: Very high heat tolerance
Light Requirement: Full sun
Water needs: Very drought tolerant but is a taller, more lush plant with irrigation.
Maintenance: None
Uses: An interesting plant for succulent, cactus and rock/cliff gardens and spilling over dry walls. It also does well in hanging containers.
Propagation: This plant can be grown from seed or root divisions.
Problems: None

Research Links:
http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/61251/
http://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=146060

Shipping & Availability

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There is a minimum purchase of any 4 plants for online orders. All plants shipped bare root. Other sizes may be available for pick up from our growing grounds in Fallbrook, CA. For more information, give us a call at 760-990-4762.
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