NOM. VULG.—Flores y Rosas Caballero, Caballero, Sp.-Fil.; Barbadoes Flower- Fence, Eng.
USES.—The leaves are emmenagogue, purgative like those of senna, and excitant. The bark especially is a powerful emmenagogue, used in some countries for criminal purposes. The decoction of the flowers is pectoral and febrifuge and is given in bronchitis, asthma and malarial fever. The flowers contain a bitter principle. The roots are acrid and poisonous. The seeds of the green fruit are eaten frequently by children; when ripe they contain gallic and tannic acids, by virtue of which they are used in tanning hides and to dye yellow combined with alum, and black combined with salts of iron. They also contain a pigment and a resin.
INFUSION OF THE FLOWERS.— Flowers of the caballero, dry 20 grams.
Water 500 grams.
Sugar 70 grams.
Mix. Dose, a wineglassful several times a day.
BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A shrub, with prickly trunk. Leaves twice abruptly pinnate. Leaflets 5–8 pairs, glabrous, ovate and elliptical, bearing a spine at the extremity, 3 stipules to each pair of leaflets. Flowers yellow and red, in racemes on the ends of the branches. Calyx divided almost to the base, with 5 concave parts. Corolla, 5 petals 1′ long with short claws, one petal very small and straight, the others larger, with wavy edges. Stamens 10, crimson, 3′ long, free, woolly, united at the lower end. Pistil the same length as the stamens. Stigma somewhat concave. Ovary sessile, unilocular, many-ovuled. Pod compressed, with 7 or more seeds inserted on the superior suture and separated from each other by fleshy divisions.
HABITAT.—Very common in gardens where it is cultivated for its beautiful flowers. Blooms throughout the entire year.
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