Solanaceae: a straggly, woody, deciduous or semi-evergreen medium-sized shrub to 3m. Found in valleys and coastal mountains. Flowers tubular, 2.5cm in length, yellow-green and fragrant at night. Fruit an ovoid brownish/black berry. The lanceolate leaves to 12cm in length and emit a rubber smell when crushed. Native to Chile. It spread to Peru, Argentina, and Brazil at a very early date. It may now also be found in the Mediterranean and California.
The Mapuche drink C. parqui leaf tea for the treatment of smallpox, leprosy, tuberculosis, herpes, and fever. The tea may also be used as a wash for open wounds. A tea prepared from the bark is taken to induce sleep. Juice pressed from the plant may be applied to ant and other insect bites, and the leaves may be applied directly to wounds (Hofmann et al. 1992 cited in Ratsch 1998, 165).
In Chile, C. parqui is used by the Mapuche and other tribes in shamanic healing practices. It is said that the plant contains contra, a magical force capable of resisting black magic attacks. (Hofmann et al. 1992 cited in Ratsch 1998, 165).
NOTE: All parts of the plant are highly toxic.
They should be sown into well-drained, sandy compost, and covered to their own depth with sand or grit. The seed tray is best left in a cool spot outside and kept moist. Seeds germinate slowly in the spring after a chilling in the cold compost. Some seeds may take more than a year to germinate. Seeds treated with GA3 [Gibberellic acid] germinate in 4-5 weeks warm.
I have grown the cultivated form which has deeper the more richly coloured flowers and this wild form which has paler flowers, the cultivated form has struggled to grow for me there in the north east of England, but this wild form has flourished, planted behind the greenhouse in a sheltered spot with morning sun only it is now 2.5m in height and has survived five winters now, with no die back. Hardy to -10°C. Full sun to part shade, well-drained rich loamy soil, sheltered from cold winds. It will die back in bad winters but will regrow.
Attractive to moths, butterflies, and bees.