An Eco-sustainable World
HerbaceousSpecies Plant

Gynura procumbens

Gynura procumbens

The purple-passion or purple passion vine, velvet plant (Gynura procumbens (Lour.) Merr. 1923) is a herbaceous species belonging to the Asteraceae family.

Systematic –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Eukaryota domain,
Kingdom Plantae,
Division Magnoliophyta,
Class Magnoliopsida,
Order Asteridae,
Suborder Asterales,
Asteraceae family,
Subfamily Asteroideae,
Senecioneae tribe,
Genus Gynura,
Species G. procumbens.
The term is basionym:
– Cacalia procumbens Lour..
The terms are synonymous:

– Cacalia cylindriflora Wall.;
– Cacalia finlaysoniana Wall.;
– Cacalia reclinata Roxb.;
– Cacalia reclinata Wall.;
– Cacalia sarmentosa Blume;
– Cacalia sarmentosa var. longipes Blume, 1826;
– Cacalia sarmentosa var. sarmentosa;
– Cacalia sarracenia Blanco;
– Crassocephalum latifolium S.Moore;
– Crassocephalum pubigerum Kuntze;
– Gynura affinis Turcz.;
– Gynura agusanense Elmer;
– Gynura agusanensis Elmer;
– Gynura buntingii S.Moore;
– Gynura cavaleriei H.Lév.;
– Gynura clementis Merr.;
– Gynura emeiensis Z.Y.Zhu;
– Gynura finlaysoniana DC.;
– Gynura latifolia (Moore) Elmer;
– Gynura lobbiana Turcz.;
– Gynura piperi Merr.;
– Gynura procumbens var. hirsuta Hort.;
– Gynura pubigera Bold.;
– Gynura sarmentosa (Blume) A.DC.;
– Gynura sarmentosa var. longipes (Blume) Blume;
– Gynura sarmentosa var. longipes (Blume) Blume ex Zoll., 1845;
– Gynura sarmentosa var. sarmentosa;
– Gynura scabra Turcz.;
– Senecio cacaliaster Blanco;
– Senecio finlaysonianus Sch.Bip.;
– Senecio mindoroensis Elmer;
– Senecio sarmentosus (Blume) Sch.Bip.;
– Senecio sarmentosus (Blume) Sch.Bip. ex Schweinf..

Etymology –
The term Gynura comes from the Greek “ghyné”, meaning female and “ourà”, meaning tail, in reference to the long stigmas.
The specific epithet procumbens derives from the Latin “procumbere”, that is, to lie down, to prostrate, in reference to its creeping posture.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Gynura procumbens is a plant that grows mainly in China, South-East Asia and Africa.
The species is native to an area that includes China (Guangdong, Guizhou, Hainan and Yunnan), the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
Its habitat is that of hilly and mountain rainforests, on its limestones, where it grows up to 1500 m above sea level.

Description –
Gynura procumbens is a perennial, tufted, creeping or climbing herbaceous plant, with cylindrical stems that can reach 1-1.5 m in length and alternate leaves 4-10 cm long and 1-4 cm wide at the base, which become smaller in terminal part 2-6 cm long.
The leaves are ovate-elliptical or lanceolate, 3.5 to 8 centimeters long and 0.8 to 3.5 centimeters wide; they are found on short tomentose petioles, red-purple in colour; they are rather fleshy and soft, with a pointed apex and irregularly toothed margin, dark green in color and covered with fine, thick hair with purple reflections, particularly evident in the younger leaves.
The flowers are tubular, hermaphroditic, 2-5 mm long, with a 5-lobed orange-yellow corolla and prominent yellow stigmas; compared to most Asteraceae, the flowers of the external ring, the “ray flowers”, are missing, those which in classic daisies resemble petals.
The flowers are collected in an inflorescence, which is terminal, and is a panicle with 5-8 flower heads, made up of a multitude of sessile flowers (without a peduncle) inserted in a spiral on a rounded base, the receptacle, of 1 cm in diameter , surrounded by a cylindrical casing made up of a double series of thin and pointed purple bracts, the external ones are about 6 mm long, the internal ones 15 mm.
The fruits are achenes about 5 mm long and surmounted by the pappus, the modified calyx of the flower, consisting of a crown of white hairs about 15 mm long, which have the function of promoting the dispersion of the fruits.
Once flowering is over, the external bracts of the envelope retroflect and the internal ones widen to allow the achenes to emerge.
Inside the fruits there is only one seed.

Cultivation –
Gynura procumbens is a plant that grows spontaneously but has also been cultivated as a vegetable or medicinal plant in its places of origin since ancient times.
It is a very ornamental and easy to grow plant and has been used for interior decoration for several decades.
The inflorescences are poorly ornamental and give off a rather unpleasant odor and are generally eliminated when they appear; to maintain a compact shape it must be frequently pruned to stimulate the production of new branches.
The plant is preferably grown in suspended pots using a draining and ventilated substrate which can be made up of peaty soil and agri-perlite in equal parts. It should be placed in a very bright position where it can receive a few hours of sun, preferably in the morning, which is essential for keeping it compact and intensifying the color of the leaves.
Watering must be regular in summer, but allowing the upper layer of soil to dry before watering again, reduced in winter, not exposing the plant to temperatures lower than +12/14 °C. however it is important to avoid wetting the leaves which can easily become stained and rot.
Reproduction occurs by seed and easily by tip cutting in spring-summer using portions of 8-10 cm in length, cut just below a node, and placed to root in moistened peaty soil and agri-perlite, or even pure agri-perlite; if the environment does not have sufficient humidity, place in a small greenhouse or, failing that, enclose for 15-20 days in a transparent plastic bag, preventing the walls from touching the leaves, to maintain a high level of humidity. You can also proceed by leaf cutting, but it is a longer process.

Customs and Traditions –
Gynura procumbens is known by various common names; among these are: “purple-passion”, “purple passion vine”, “velvet plant” (English); “gynura pourpre” (French); “veludo-roxo” (Portuguese); “ginura” (Spanish); “niederliegende samtpflanze” (German).
In its places of origin the species has been cultivated since ancient times for food use and in popular medicine.
Its young leaves are used in cooking, for example with meat and shrimp in a vegetable soup.
Extracts from the leaves are variously used as anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, antihypertensive, in diabetes mellitus and other pathologies.
In recent years, studies on the substances contained and their properties have intensified, with promising results for their possible use in the pharmaceutical industry.

Preparation Method –
Gynura procumbens is a plant whose leaves are eaten raw or cooked in its countries of origin.
The leaves are eaten both raw, to flavor rice, and in salads, or cooked in various ways.
Furthermore, extracts from the leaves are used medicinally and are used as anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, antihypertensive, in diabetes mellitus and other pathologies.
Research shows promising medicinal properties.

Guido Bissanti

– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– GBIF, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora d’Italia, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.

Attention: Pharmaceutical applications and food uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; we therefore decline any responsibility for their use for healing, aesthetic or food purposes.

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