1) Plant History & General Information:
- Scientific Name: Iresine Herbstii
- Region of Origin: American Tropics
- General Appearance: Red leaves with bright pink veins
2) Plant Uses:
- Mostly grown as an ornamental plant
- Used locally as a food coloring
Height: Up to 2 ft (60 cm)
3) Growing Instructions
- Growing: Can only be grown outdoors in growing zones 10 or 11. In climates that get any frost, plants must be treated as an annual or brought inside.
- Sunlight Requirements: Partial Shade, Full Sunlight. The colors are more brilliant when grown in full sun.
- Soil Requirements: Organically rich soil that drains freely.
- Tip: Pinch out the growth tips while the plants are young to promote a dense growth habit and attractive shape.
- Propagation: They root easily.Take cuttings about 10 centimeters long, with at least three sets of leaves. Remove the bottom set of leaves and cut the larger leaves in half to reduce transpiration. Insert the cuttings directly into the soil – several can be placed in the same hole.
- Light: Bright light is necessary to prevent the bright leaf color from fading. Shade the plant from hot, direct summer sun. It thrives under indoor grow lights.
- Water: Water thoroughly, aiming to keep the potting mix lightly moist at all times. Empty drainage tray to prevent soggy soil, which can lead to root rot.
- Humidity: Moderate to high (50% relative humidity or higher). Use a humidity tray or room humidifier to raise the moisture in the air around it.
Temperature: Average to warm room temperatures 65-80°F/18-27°C. Iresine will tolerate a minimum of 55°F/13°C in winter.
Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks spring through fall with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half.
- Reported as an additive of ayahuasca (Bianchi and Samorini, 1993), as an ingredient of San Pedro decoction, with possible hallucinogenic properties (Schultes and Hofmann, 1973). I. herbstii leaves are used as wound healing, anticancer agent (Sebold, 2003), post-labor tonic (Srithi et al., 2009), and externally against skin depurative such as eczemas, sores and pimples (De Feo, 2003) as well as antimicrobial agent (Khare, 2007). Moreover, the plant is also used in astringent, diuretic, spasmolytic, whooping cough and roots in hemicranias (Khare, 2007). Leaves and flowers are used in decoction, fever, relaxant and kidney problems (Vicente et al., 2007) and also as an antipyretic (De Feo, 2003). Schmidt et al. (2009), reported that this plant possessed anti-inflammatory, cytotoxic and apoptotic activities and also has very low antioxidant activity (Cai et al., 2003). So far, the phytochemicals constituent identified in the leaves are 21,5-Dimethoxy-6,7-(methylenedioxy)-isoflavone; acylated betacyanins (Vašinová et al., 2004; Cai et al,. 2005), iresinin I (acylated amaranthine)and its C15 -epimer iresinin II (Cai et al., 2001).