Elecampane Inula helenium
How to sow elecampane: Direct seed indoors or outdoors, division, root cuttings
Sun requirement for elecampane: Plant in Partial Sun
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Elecampane, also known as Wild Sunflower, is a perennial flowering herb in the Asteraceae, or Sunflower, family. It is native to Europe and Asia and grown for the medicinal properties of its roots, which are harvested in the fall of its second year. Like a sunflower, Elecampane's stem can grow to heights of 150cm. It's large, toothed leaves have a thick layer of wool on the underside. The bright yellow flowers are 5-8cm in diameter and resemble ragged sunflowers. Elecampane thrives in moist soils and partial shade. It's mucilaginous, thick, octopus-like roots have a bitter taste and antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. They are used to stimulate the immune and digestive systems, and to treat coughs, asthma, bronchitis, the flu, and skin conditions like scabies, herpes, and acne. The plant can be processed to yield a blue dye.
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