Plant A Day – Orangefruit Horse-gentian

Orangefruit Horse-gentian Triosteum aurantiacum

Orangefruit Horse-gentian
Triosteum aurantiacum

Orangefruit Horse-gentian is a cool looking plant with some cool names – Wild Coffee, Tinker’s Weed, Feverwort.

It got the name of Feverwort because it has been used to combat fevers.  It has been described as a diaphoretic, diuretic, laxative, pectoral, stomachic, emetic and cathartic.  I’m not sure what all that means, but it sounds powerful.  The name Feverwort also applies to Boneset (Eubatorium perfoliatum), which is a laxative, antispasmodic, expectorant, vasoconstrictor, cholagogue, cathartic, emetic, febrifuge, tonic, aperient, diaphoretic, diuretic, nervine, carminative or stimulant.  How does your body decide what to do?

The name of Tinker’s Weed came from a doctor named Tinker.  That’s all I know.

Wild Coffee  – The Germans of Lancaster County used this plant as a substitute for coffee.  Just dry, roast, and grind the fruits.  Yum yum!

Of course it got the first part of its name from the color of its fruit.  I’m not sure where “Horse-gentian” comes from, although it would be easy to suspect that it has been used to heal horses from some malady.

This plant is in the family Caprifoliaceae.  This family also includes honeysuckles, viburnums and elderberry.  This is one of the few non-woody plants in this family.

Orange fruits!

Orange fruits!

Whole plants

Whole plants

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