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Sunday - January 25, 2009

From: Buckeye, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: Are yellow bells (Tecoma stans) edible?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Can you tell me if any part of the yellow bell can be eaten and if so what part. Also is it useful in making natural paints?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants assumes you mean Tecoma stans (yellow bells or yellow trumpetbush) and not Fritillaria pudica (yellow missionbells) or the South African native, Bauhinia tomentosa (yellow bell orchid tree).

I could find no reference that any part of Tecoma stans is edible.  It is not listed in Delena Tull's Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest nor in Peterson's Field Guide to Edible Plants:  Eastern and Central North America and I could find no entry for it in the Native American Ethnobotany database. Nor could I find any indication in my favorite poisonous plant databases (Poisonous Plants of North Carolina, Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System, Cornell University Plants Poisonous to Livestock or other Animals or Texas Toxic Plant Database) that it is toxic.

Although not considered a food item, the plant, according to information from the US Forest Service, has been used in traditional folk medicine to treat various conditions and has been reported to lessen the symptoms of diabetes mellitus in mice, rats, and dogs.  It is listed on the Western Herbal Medicine website as a treatment for gastrointestinal problems as well as for yeast (Candida albicans) infections.  The Southwest School of Botanical Medical webpage reports on studies for the use of an infusion T. stans in the treatment of diabetes mellitus. You can read a list of the constituents of the plant on their webpage.

 

 

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