En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
3 ratings

Saturday - January 31, 2009

From: Trinidad, CO
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Medicinal Plants, Trees
Title: Tree that successfully treats psoriasis
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty plants,I have a rather unusual question. Do you know of a tree/plant that you can grow in a container, looks like a conifer/evergreen, is green, has wispy looking branches, but when transplanting, you have to be very careful of the roots, or the plant will die, has red bark, and when sprouting produces a rose like flower and grows into a tree? This plant also will cure eczema/psoriasis? I received this information from a friend who gave me as much detail as they could remember about this plant to help with eczema. Unfortunately, they didn't have a picture of said plant or name.

ANSWER:

The Native American Ethnobotany database from the University of Michigan-Dearborn lists Pinus contorta (lodgepole pine) and Abies grandis (grand fir) as being used by the Salish Indians of Vancouver Island, British Columbia to treat psoriasis. Here are photos of Abies grandis and you can see photos of seedlings of these two plants from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.  Certainly, either of these plants somewhat fits your description.  Foster and Duke in Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America, p. 325, also report Pinus contorta being used for treatment of psoriasis.

From the Internet Health Library Mahonia aquifolium (hollyleaved barberry), another North American native, is reported as being useful for treatment of psoriasis, but this plant doesn't really fit your description.

You can google "medicinal plant psoriasis" and find other plants (i.e., Indigofera tinctoria, a native of Asia and Africa) that are named as treatments for psoriasis.  However, I did not find other native plants of North America reported as being effective against psoriasis.

I know that you said that you don't have a photo of the plant.  If you do, however, come across a photo, please send it to us and we will do our best to identify it.  Visit the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page to read instructions for submitting photos. 

 

From the Image Gallery


Beach pine
Pinus contorta

Hollyleaved barberry
Mahonia aquifolium

More Trees Questions

Plantings for a slope from New Carrollton MD
June 27, 2012 - My house (Maryland, near DC) sits at the bottom of a south facing slope. The soil is very heavy clay. The grade is about 1:20 for about 100 feet (with a steeper part at the top). Part of the hill is i...
view the full question and answer

Is sulfurous well water affecting leaves on trees in Belton TX
November 07, 2011 - We installed an irrigation system for our buffalo grass lawn last spring. The grass is fine but the leaves on the trees are burned where the water hits them. I suspect that the well we are using fo...
view the full question and answer

Pruning Bald Cypress in Wylie, TX
January 02, 2010 - I have a 6 year old bald cypress that sustained damage to the upper portion of its trunk a couple of years ago. Since that time it has grown more outward than upward and developed a rounder shape. I...
view the full question and answer

Leaf problems on oaks in North Liberty IA
June 12, 2010 - My oak trees (young and old) are showing leaf problems. Is there a disease or insect causing oak tree disease?
view the full question and answer

Plants wilting too quickly in Toledo OH
May 27, 2012 - The garden I have had recent issues with plants wilting all too quickly. I would like to know what types of plants would be hearty for the climate in Toledo, Ohio. I have a partly sunny front yard and...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center