Thursday, 7 February 2008

Cedronella triphylla

Cedronella triphylla
AKA Balm of Gilead or False Balm of Gilead
Family: Lamiaceae; Genus: Cedronella
Originated in: Canary Islands

Perennial growing to 1.5m by 1m
Grows best in full sun
Requires well drained soil
pH of 7
Said to need damp soil but mine survive on a once a week soak once established
Frost tolerant (in Aust) with shelter but tends to be dormant through winter.

The scented flowers are hermaphrodite
(have both male and female organs)
and are pollinated by insects.

Propagate by:
Seed - sow spring or warm time of year. Sown in punnets or pots it usually germinates in about 2 weeks at 15°c
Cuttings may be taken while it is actively growing.

The leaves are mildly resinous with a mix of lemon-leaf and camphor aroma when crushed and appear to be quite insect repellent. I crush leaves and rub on to skin** to repel mozzies. (That's Aussie for mosquito wink )
Works well on feet and toes!

I'm planning on experimenting by steeping (infusing) in a light oil or vinegar for use as a rub on insect repellent.

As with any home made herbal preparations:
**Care needs to be taken, especially if allergy prone, so test on small patch of skin before using.
Allergic reactions to this plant have been noted.


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