LAMIACEAE Solenostemon

Solenostemon [genus] (1,102)
S. ocymoides (1,546)
S. rotundifolius (3,239)
Synonyms: Coleus dysentericus Baker, Coleus rotundifolius (Poiret) A. Chev. & E. Perrot, Coleus rotundifolius var. nigra A. Chev., Coleus rotundifolius var. rubra A. Chev., Coleus tuberosus Benth., Plectranthus tuberosus Blume
S. scutellarioides (4,831)
Synonyms: Coleus atropurpureus Benth., Coleus blumei Benth., Coleus blumei var. Verschaffeltii Lem., Coleus pumilus Blanco, Coleus x hybridus Voss, Coleus scutellarioides (L.) Benth., Plectranthus scutellarioides (L.) R. Br.


LAMIACEAE Solenostemon

Solenostemon [genus] Schumach. & Thonn. LAMIACEAE

Trop. Africa; 10 spp. Erect herbs, stems mostly square in cross section. Lvs. opp. often toothed, petioled. Fls. small, in 6 to many-fld. verticillasters arranged in elongate racemes, calyx ovoid-campanulate, nearly equally 2-lipped, corolla tube exserted, limb 2-lipped, upper lip 4-toothed, lower lip elongate, concave, stamens 4 in 2 pairs, filaments united at base, anthers 1-celled. Fruit of 4 glabrous nutlets. Similar to Coleus, but calyx nearly equally 2-lipped. In Labiatae (Hortus Third 1976:1056) Trop. Africa & Asia; 60 spp. Shrubby herbs, often hairy & glandular. Lvs. often blotched or variegated. Infl. terminal, racemose or paniculate, fls. in glomerate dichasia. Calyx bilabiate, uppermost tooth forming an erect ovate lobe, 2 lower teeth fused, corolla bilabiate, tube S-shaped, upper lip obscurely 4-lobed, lower lip larger, boat-shaped, stamens 4, declinate. In Labiatae (Griffiths 1994:1094) [Spp. formerly in Coleus are now in Plectranthus or Solenostemon.]


LAMIACEAE Solenostemon ocymoides

Solenostemon ocymoides Schum. & Thonn. LAMIACEAE

Range not given. Roots form small tubers, perhaps sometimes cult. in W Africa. Lvs. for a pot-herb. Lagos, used as a vegetable. Also in agbo infusions as a children’s medicine. N Nigeria, tubers a medicine for craw-craw. Liberia, plant scorched in the fire, juice squeezed out & used on yaws. Gold Coast, much used medicinally. Leaf juice as a stomachic, remedy for colic. Fresh juice squeezed in the nostrils for fever and headache in children. Mixed with white clay, used to relieve palpitation. Rub the plant on the abdomen of a pregnant woman to prevent the child from having stomach ache. Placed in fetish pots with Kalanchoë [Crassulaceae]; other superstitious uses. Widely used as a women’s medicine in Gold Coast. Inject a decoction of infusion mixed with peppers [? Capsicum, Solanaceae or Aframomum, Zingiberaceae] during the later months of pregnancy, to relieve the pains of childbirth, also drink the liquid. Ashanti, plant used in birth ceremonies. Plant is v. like Coleus dysentericus [now Solenostemon rotundifolius], worthy of cult. (Dalziel 1948:463) Name not in GRIN (GRIN 2007)


LAMIACEAE Solenostemon rotundifolius

Solenostemon rotundifolius (Poir.) J.K. Morton LAMIACEAE

Synonyms: Coleus dysentericus Baker, Coleus rotundifolius (Poiret) A. Chev. & E. Perrot, Coleus rotundifolius var. nigra A. Chev., Coleus rotundifolius var. rubra A. Chev., Coleus tuberosus Benth., Plectranthus tuberosus Blume
Common names: Hausa Potato, Salaga, Fra-Fra Potato, Sudan Potato, Madagascar Potato (Dalziel) Fura-Fura Potatoes, Daso (Schery)

Coleus d.: Perhaps orig. in Abyssinia acc. to Heckel. The name fa-Birama in the W Sudan, where there was no previous vernacular name, suggests Birama, an African Moslem; also there is a local belief that it came from the East. Grown as a food tuber in several vars. throughout W Sudan, Ubangi-Shari and the Congo Basin. Now also in many other trop. countries. Has been described under a number of specific names. Hausas cult. it on mounds or broad ridges, preferably on humid soil. Plant at the beginning of the rains, ripen in 5-6 months. Fls. at the end of the rains, after which the herbaceous stem dies down. Tubers often numerous on each plant. Multiplied by cuttings & by tubers; cuttings said to given a smaller yield. In the dry season can be grown with irrigation, like onions, etc. Tubers are 82-86% carbohydrate, 6-8% protein, 1% fat, 4% ash on dry weight; a v. suitable substitute for potatoes in hot climates. In Yoruba used for dysentery, for dietetic rather than medicinal reasons. Common names are the same as for Coleus dazo [now Plectranthus esculentus] (Dalziel 1948:459) Coleus d. var. alba: Common in Ubangi-Shari, also in Upper Niger basin with var. nigra (Dalziel 1948:460) Coleus d. var. nigra: The most widespread var. in Fr. Sudan. Tuber blackish brown, the size of a pigeon’s egg or larger (Dalziel 1948:460) Coleus d. var. rubra: Small tubers, reddish gray (Dalziel 1948:460) Coleus t.: Prob. brought from E Africa some centuries ago, but early history is doubtful. Rumpf said it might have come to Java from Malaya because the name there was ‘plant of beyond’. Portuguese found it much grown in the Kling country on the Coromandel Coast. Still grown there & in Ceylon, but not extensively. Possibly Arabs brought it to India & Portuguese to Malacca. The Portuguese had to import food for Malacca all through their occupation, prob. imported this, though it does better in a drier climate. Now grown abundantly in the hotter lowlands of Java. In Malaya in the dry Kedah & Province Wellesley. Small round starchy tubers. Aromatic flavor, somewhat indigestible, but pleasant to eat in small quantities. Can be used in soup. Lvs. for flavoring. Crop is small, but can be harvested in 4 months (Burkill 1966:644) Coleus r.: Cult. in W Africa for the edible tubers (Schery 1972:500) Valid species & synonyms except C. dysentericus and C. tuberosus which are not in GRIN. [Dalziel says C. rotundifolius is a synonym of C. dysentericus. Plectranthus tuberosus is a valid synonym of S. rotundifolius.] (GRIN 2007)


LAMIACEAE Solenostemon scutellarioides

Solenostemon scutellarioides (L.) Codd. LAMIACEAE

Synonyms: Coleus atropurpureus Benth., Coleus blumei Benth., Coleus blumei var. Verschaffeltii Lem., Coleus pumilus Blanco, Coleus x hybridus Voss, Coleus scutellarioides (L.) Benth., Plectranthus scutellarioides (L.) R. Br.

Common names: Painted Nettle, Butterfly Coleus (Hortus) Coleus (Griffiths)

C. blumei: Java. Glabrous per. to 6 ft. becoming shrubby. Lvs. membranous, ovate, to 8” long, acuminate, coarsely crenate. Fls. in close verticillasters, these sessile, corolla pale to dark blue. Prob. not in cult.; material so listed may be the var. or a hybrid. Coleus x hybridus: A name given to the hybrid assemblage comprising the cvs. of common garden coleus. In much of the lit. these cvs. are listed under C. blumei, but their hybrid origin involves other spp. C. pumilus: Philippine Is. to Indonesia. Per to 3 ft., stems creeping and ascending. Lvs. ovate to orbicular to 1.5” long, deeply crenate-dentate with pinkish zone at the base; in cult. plants with a conspicuous often 3-colored pattern and only the margins green. Fls. fragrant, in few-fld. verticillasters in an open spike-like infl to 15” long, corolla bright blue, 0.6” long. C. blumei var.: More robust and much branched. Lvs. acute, variously colored (Hortus Third 1976:295) Malaysia, SE Asia. Per. herb or subshrub, aromatic, procumbent or erect to 1 m, stem semi-succulent, 4-angled. Lvs. petiolate, membranous, large, ovate, crenate or dentate. Infl. terminal, simple or with a pair of branchlets at base, fls. in sessile several-fld. dichasia, calyx 7 mm, upper lip 2 mm, erect, corolla to 10 mm, violet-blue. The Coleus of florists, ranging from dwarf to trailing to tall, lvs. to 15 cm long, shaped like oak-leaf, heart, saber, edges sometimes deeply serrated or frilled, many colors (Griffiths 1994:1094) Plectranthus s.: New Guinea. Foliage plant, cult. as a pot plant. Variegated lvs. with purple dominant over green, and both over-patterned which is expressed only in homozygous condition. Some are true chimeras with green-yellow-green; others with dark-edged yellowish lvs. are apparently due to reversible hormonal bleaching initiated from the mesophyll, another dominant char. (Mabberley 1997:567) C. blumei: Resembles C. atropurpureus; origin doubtful. In gardens of Malaysia. Medicinal uses as for C. atropurpureus, but less common in Malaya so less used. Decoction taken internally for dyspepsia & for wasting away. Also dropped in the eyes for ophthalmia. Heyne points out that the brown markings on the lvs. suggests blood, also the lvs. are heart-shaped. Most uses may be suggested by appearance alone. Cult. in Eu. gardens (Burkill 1966:Vol. 1 page 644) C. atropurpureus: Siam to the Pacific Is.; throughout Malaya. Herb, much used medicinally. Lvs. & leafy stems taken pulped in water or as a decoction. Stimulate the digestion, relieve pain such as often ascribed to the heart. For congestion of the liver with swollen hands & feet. Sometimes a leaf paste is applied over the stomach or heart, on glandular swellings, & over the whole body for smallpox. K. Heyne does not separate it from C. blumei [now S. scutellarioides]; they are both grown in gardens in Java & hybridize. Used to space out pregnancies, for hemorrhoids, to regulate menstruation. Rumpf said it was a diuretic. Root for colic, diarrhea; leaf juice for sore eyes, on the umbilical cord, wounds, etc. Besisi plant it round their graves. Use it in the brush used to sprinkle holy rice-gruel over a new clearing (Burkill 1966:Vol. 1 page 643) C. blumei: common in ornamental gardens worldwide for its extravagant showy foliage. This & C. pumilus [now also in S. scutellariodes] are used by Mazatecs as hallucinogens (Emboden 1972) Coleus s.: [A study of pigment formation; check the article for the details] (Lamprecht and Powell 1977:148) C. blumei: Common in gardens of Guatemala, occasionally escaping but not persisting. In colder parts of Guatemala grown in pots (Flora of Guatemala 1973:243) Valid species & synonyms except C.



Burkill, I. 1966. A Dictionary of the Economic Products of the Malay Peninsula., 2nd ed. Ministry of Agriculture and Co-Operatives, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Dalziel, J. 1948. The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa. Crown Agents, London U.K.
Emboden, W. A. 1972. Narcotic Plants. Macmillan, New York NY.
Flora of Guatemala (Standley, Paul C.; Williams, Louis O.). 1973. Part 9(3): Labiatae. Chicago Natural History Museum, Chicago IL.
Griffiths, M. 1994. Index of Garden Plants. Royal Horticultural Society, London U.K.
GRIN. 2007. USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program, Germplasm Resources Information Network. (18 July 2007).
Hortus Third. 1976. Hortus Third: A Concise Dictionary of Plants Cultivated in the United States and Canada. Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., New York NY.
Lamprecht, W. O. and R. D. Powell. 1977. The effect of hydrogen fluoride on two pigments in Coleus. Economic Botany 31(2):148-152.
Mabberley, D. 1997. The Plant-Book, 2nd edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, Gt. Britain.
Schery, R. W. 1972. Plants for Man., 2nd ed. Prentice-Hall, Engelwood Cliffs NJ.