Sida spp.

Bala; Arrow-Leaf Sida; Flannel Weed; Paddys Lucerne.

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Sida spp.

Botanical information

An evergren shrub, it grows to a height of 2m with a spread of 2m. The stem is erect and branching; the leaves are narrowly oval to rhomboidal, alternate and 7cm long, with serrate margins and a white undersurface; the flowers are yellow, open and petalled, occurring in the leaf axils.

A native of Asia, it prefers light to medium, well drained soils in an open, sunny position, and is drought and frost tender. A very hardy and fastgrowing plant.

Propagation is by seeds or cuttings. Sow seed 5mm deep in moist but well-drained seedmix. Should germinate within a few days.

Traditional uses

The leaves of Sida rhombifolia and Sida acuta are smoked in many countries for their stimulating and euphoric effect (especially in Mexico, where S. rhombifolia is regarded as the stronger species). In India a tea is prepared from the fresh or dried leaves which is very refreshing and also stimulating. A tea made from fresh leaves and then chilled is a perfect beverage for hot and humid days. Australian Aboriginees use this herb to treat diarrhoe.

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