Kingdom: Plantae Order: Gentianales Family: Rubiaceae Genus:Hamelia Species:Hamelia patens Common name: Scarlet- bush Origin: Brazil
Description: It has orangish-red tubular flowers. Their corolla varies much in length, making it attractive to a wide range of pollinators. The fruit is a small dark red berry.
Hummingbirds are attracted by its flowers which will also forage on small insects found in the vicinity, helping to keep down pests. The fruits have a refreshing, acidic taste and besides being much liked by some birds, they are also edible for humans, in Mexico, they are made into a fermented drink.
Also, the plants are used in folk medicine against a range of ailments. A number of active compounds have been found in fire-bush, but no scientific study of its medical usefulness has been conducted yet.
Indigenous people in tropical America use extracts of the leaves and stems to treat all kinds of skin diseases including rashes, skin fungus, sores and insect stings. Modern researchers have found that extracts of firebush contain several active photo chemicals which have antibacterial and antifungal properties. Other ethno botanical uses include treatment for menstrual cramps, headache, rheumatism, fever, and dysentery. Effective immuno-stimulants have been identified in firebush extracts and studies with rats have shown that firebush has analgesic, diuretic and hypothermic activities.