Heirlooms forum: Eyeball Plant, Spilanthes sp.

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Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
Nov 2, 2010 4:00 PM CST

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Eyeball Plant, Toothache plant, Peek-a-boo plant, Spilanthes oleracea

Although this plant is said to be tropical, it comes back every year from seed as an annual here in my zone 7b. As a matter of fact, it was one of the first things sprouting in the garden this year, in April! It was still quite cold. I have never fussed over this plant at all, and it just keeps growing! It does like regular waterings in the heat of the summer, but no more than the other garden plants. I also have it growing where it gets afternoon shade, here in our Texas heat it seems to appreciate that.

It's a compact herb with medicinal properties, giving it its name of 'toothache plant'. grows about 12" tall, makes a nice low growing intersting plant. It's said to be used in salads in small quantities. I say, maybe with heavier watering... but in my garden it is very potent and one bite will numb your tongue!



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Name: Mystic
Kentucky
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mystic
Jul 16, 2011 8:28 PM CST
I've forgotten about this plant I used to grow it all time. Thanks for the reminder for next year.
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
Jul 17, 2011 7:50 AM CST

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Hi mystic,

I like it too. It's a nice plant, in a patch or can even work as a ground cover. Besides all the medicinal vurtues, it's very interesting to look at in the garden.

May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Mar 21, 2013 11:30 PM CST
I actually used it a couple of times in bouquets for farmer's market. Unusual. It reseeded for me very well.
Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
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springcolor
Mar 21, 2013 11:46 PM CST
I'm growing this in my greenhouse. Planted the seeds a week ago. I should have winter sowed this one. Whistling I bought one plant 2 years ago and loved it.
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Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Mar 22, 2013 4:44 AM CST
It's a fun plant but I have never used it medicinally. Not sure if it is the leaves, flowers or roots.
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
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pod
Mar 22, 2013 5:14 AM CST
Leaves or flowers can be nibbled to provide oral numbing. I've not heard of using the Spilanthes root.
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
Mar 22, 2013 7:42 AM CST

Moderator

Hi,

I've been missing this plant, it's so fun and carefree to grow! Although, I lost it in our drought of 2011, so I guess although it's an easy care plant, it must have needed some water and attention! nodding But isn't that how it goes? Start bragging on a plant and it doesn't come back!

I believe it's typically the leaves that are harvested and used thru the growing cycle. I thought it to be very potent as it will numb your mouth immediately.

May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Mar 22, 2013 8:27 AM CST
I'm not game enough to try it, but one year I had a customer try horehound leaves (supposed to use the root) and she said it numbed her mouth! Yikes!

I think I gathered seeds but one of those, out in the garden with nothing to put them in so I'm not quite sure WHERE I saved them, and I have a box full of that kind of seed. I think since I have the room, I'll just broadcast ALL the seeds and see what comes up! (Of course I did save my zinnias, celosia, etc in envelopes)
Name: Jay Wyatt
Crossville, TN
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JayWyatt
Feb 13, 2015 2:06 PM CST
The increase of salivation provided by chewing on the blossoms helps with oral hygiene. Very useful plant.

I dried blossoms and they still numbed when chewed.

I need to get more starts as I killed mine LOL
Garden for God and your harvest will be sweet!
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Georgia Garden Sages Organic Gardener Beekeeper Vegetable Grower
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abhege
Feb 13, 2015 4:03 PM CST
Welcome! Jay!
Name: Jay Wyatt
Crossville, TN
I Garden for God.
JayWyatt
Feb 13, 2015 4:14 PM CST
Thanks!
Garden for God and your harvest will be sweet!
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
Feb 17, 2015 10:25 AM CST

Moderator

Welcome! Jay

I like useful plants, and this one is so cute! It's easy to grow from seed, if you can't find starts. Thumbs up
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Georgia Garden Sages Organic Gardener Beekeeper Vegetable Grower
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abhege
Feb 17, 2015 11:52 AM CST
And it will generally reseed, not not so much as to be invasive.
Name: Laurie Basler
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
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lauriebasler
Aug 5, 2016 11:28 PM CST
I have not seen this little plant at all. It is adorable. Do most start it from seed, and that is why I don't see it offered, or perhaps it is not happy in the Pacific Northwest.
Laurie
Laurie 7b
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
Aug 6, 2016 7:41 AM CST

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Hi Laurie Welcome!

Short answer, Probably.

I haven't looked lately but I'm sure you can find seeds at various vendors on the internet. Once you grow them, you can save seeds for planting the next year or let them self seed where they grow. I'm not sure about how they grow in your neck of the woods. Here the plant seems to like to be shaded from our very hot afternoon sun.

May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

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