Xiphidium [genus] (413)
X. caeruleum (2,052)
Synonyms: Xiphidium coeruleum Aublet



Xiphidium [genus] Aublet HAEMODORACEAE

Trop. Am.; 2 spp. Per. herbs with horizontal rhizomes. Lvs. alt. in 2 ranks, sword-shaped. Infl. terminal, paniculate-cymose, fls. small, white, bisexual, regular, perianth segms. 6, equal, stamens 3, ovary nearly inferior, 3-celled. Fruit a berry, seeds many (Hortus Third 1976:1176) 1 sp. (Mabberley 1998:761)


HAEMODORACEAE Xiphidium caeruleum

Xiphidium caeruleum Aubl. HAEMODORACEAE

Synonyms: Xiphidium coeruleum Aublet

Common names: Walk Fast (Wong)

Mexico, W Indies, S Am. To 2.5 ft. Lvs. to 20” long, 1.8” wide. Panicle to 1 ft. long 5” wide, scurfy-puberulent, perianth segms. to 0.2” long (Hortus Third 1976:1176) X. coeruleum: Fls. visited by male euglossine bees collecting oils (Mabberley 1998:761) S Mexico to Panama & Brazil, Cuba to Trinidad. Herb to 60 cm tall, iris-like. Short horizontal rootstalk bears numerous slender rootlets, sends up vertical shoots. Lvs. sword-like or linear to 60 cm long 6 cm wide, long-pointed, smooth. Fls. white, yellowish or bluish, 6 segms. to 8 mm long 3.5 mm wide; in an erect terminal open branched yellow-hairy panicle to 30 cm long. From the stalk adventitious buds fall, develop into new plants. Fruit is rare, nearly round, 3-lobed, to 8 mm wide, green to dull red to purple-black, fleshy, many small seeds. Common in moist shady thickets, forests, often forms solid stands on roadsides, stream banks. Often grown in flower gardens, intro. in Malaysia. In Surinam, the name ebesere-bina indicates the plant is used for cracks in the feet. Cuna Indians in Panama use the plant for ‘female problems’. The chief pigment in the plant is xiphidone, a hydroxy phenalenone (Morton 1981:Vol. 1 page 97) In Trinidad, lvs. are rubbed on feet & knees of children learning to walk (Wong 1976:111) Rather ornamental, foliage suggest the genus Iris [Iridaceae]. Sometimes planted in local gardens. The small white fls. are neither showy nor handsome. Aublet says some of the petals are blue at the apex, hence the name, but this is not found in Cent. Am. plants (Flora of Guatemala 1952:101) Valid species, synonym not in GRIN (GRIN 2006)



Flora of Guatemala (Standley, Paul C.; Steyermark, Julian A.). 1952. Part 3: Haemodoraceae. Chicago Natural History Museum, Chicago IL.
GRIN. 2006. USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. (18 September 2006).
Hortus Third. 1976. Hortus Third: A Concise Dictionary of Plants Cultivated in the United States and Canada. Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., New York NY.
Mabberley, D. 1998. The Plant-Book., 2nd edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, Gt. Britain.
Morton, J. F. 1981. Atlas of Medicinal Plants of Middle America, Bahamas to Yucatan. Charles C. Thomas, Springfield IL.
Wong, W. 1976. Some Folk Medicinal Plants from Trinidad. Economic Botany 30:103-142.