Corchorus capsularis

Corchorus capsularis

The white jute (Corchorus capsularis L.) is a shrubby species belonging to the Malvaceae family.

Systematic –
From a systematic point of view, it belongs to the Eukaryota Domain, Plantae Kingdom, Magnoliophyta Division, Magnoliopsida Class, Dilleniidae Subclass, Malvales Order, Malvaceae Family and therefore to the Genus Corchorus and to the Species C. capsularis.
The terms are synonymous:
– Corchorus cordifolius Salisb .;
– Corchorus marua Buch.-Ham. nom. inval ..

Etymology –
The term Corchorus comes from the Greek κoρέω koréo to sweep, sweep, nectar and, by extension, purge.
The specific epithet, capsularis derives from Latin, which means capsule or small box, i.e. carrier capsule, which produces capsules or capsular fruits.

Geographical Distribution and Habitat –
White jute is a plant native to the humid tropics where it probably originated in China but is found in a widespread way in Bangladesh and India and has spread throughout much of tropical Africa. It is also grown in the Amazon region of Brazil. This plant can also be grown in the warmer subtropical and temperate areas.
In the tropics it is found at altitudes of up to 2,000 meters. Its habitat is that of areas with annual daytime temperatures between 20 and 37 ° C, but it is a plant that can tolerate between 13 and 45 ° C.

Description –
The corchorus capsularis is a shrubby plant with erect bearing, straight and thin stems, annual, unbranched or with few lateral branches, which grows up to two or more meters in height but can reach 3-4 meters in cultivation.
The leaves are opposite, lanceolate, sharp, finely indented, with evident ribs and green to intense green in color, lighter on the lower page and about 5-15 cm long.
The flowers are small about 2-3 cm in diameter and yellow, with five petals.
The fruits are globular in shape and are capsules that carry many seeds.

Cultivation –
For the cultivation of Corchorus capsularis, keep in mind that its habitat is that of tropical wetlands where it prefers an average annual rainfall between 1,500 and 3,000 mm, but which tolerates 900 – 3,600 mm.
The plant prefers a sunny position, with very fertile soil and a warm, humid climate. Young plants are sensitive to water stagnation, but more mature plants can tolerate very humid conditions, even flooding of the soil.
The optimal soil pH must be between 6.5 and 7, tolerating oscillations between 5 and 8.6.
The cultivation involves annual cycles with a collection of the fiber 80-150 days after sowing, depending on the variety.
Yields can be around 34 tons / Ha of green plants that supply 2 tons / Ha of rectified dry fiber.
The plant is often grown in areas flooded every year and enriched with organic matter. They are short diurnal plants but in the condition of longer days they prolong the vegetative phase and are therefore normally sown when the length of the day exceeds 12.5 hours.
World production is concentrated in India and Bangladesh, where the crop grows well in the floodplains of the Ganges and Brahmaputra and in the delta region.

Uses and Traditions –
White jute like other Corchorus species has been used since ancient times as an excellent substitute for spinach, especially in areas with hot summers.
It is one of the sources of jute fiber, considered to be of finer quality than Corchorus olitorius fiber, the main source of jute.
It is a protein-rich plant and dried leaves can be used as a thickener in soups.
From these we also obtain a tea with dry leaves.
Unripe fruits are added to salads or used as potherb.
From the stems of this plant a precious fiber is obtained which represents the main source of jute and is whiter and of higher quality than that produced by C. olitorius.
This fiber has characteristics of considerable resistance, is somewhat rough and is mainly used as a canvas for the production of bags or other manufactures.
In general it is used to make jute bags, ropes, rugs, rugs, rough fabrics and many other similar items for daily use.
The stems are collected when the plant is in bloom and then are subjected to a process, so-called grinding, so that the fiber can be extracted.
If used in the manufacture of paper, the fibers are cooked for 2 hours with lye and then ground for 4 and a half hours. The paper obtained is gray / coated.
The marrow, left after the extraction of the fiber, is used in the paper industry and in the preparation of alcohol.
The wood obtained from it is very light and soft and is used to make matches.
This plant is also used in herbal medicine. The leaves have been used to increase appetite, as an aid to digestion, as a laxative and as a stimulant. An infusion of leaves is prepared to reduce fever and the roots and leaves have been used against dysentery. The seeds contain a substance similar to digoxin and are poisonous to both animals and insects.
In general, the leaves are: carminative, demulcent, laxative, stimulant and gastric stimulant.

Preparation method –
The white jute plant is used in the food field both for the leaves, raw or cooked and also for the unripe fruits.
Young leaves are added to salads while older leaves are cooked as vegetables. In fact, the leaves and sprouts of this plant are widely consumed in salads when they are young and are used as cooked leaf vegetables when they are larger. The leaves are dried and reduced to powder used as a thickener in soups or as herbal tea. Unripe fruits are added to salads or used as vegetables.

Guido Bissanti

Sources
– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Tips and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (edited by), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.

Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for information purposes only, they do not in any way represent a medical prescription; therefore, no responsibility is accepted for their use for healing, aesthetic or food purposes.



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