PLANTS IN PROFILE #28FIREBUSH (Hamelia patens)
The Mound House is home to a wide variety of plants and trees. Firebush, a native species of Florida, is one of the more colorful and interesting shrubs and is located right outside our office door. Blossoming all year long with bright red and showy flowers, these plants are often featured in tropical landscaping. The fruit of this shrub is a juicy red berry that is edible, but unremarkable in flavor. Beyond enhancing the landscape with color, firebush serves as a host plant to attract butterflies and migratory hummingbirds. While beneficial to wildlife, firebush has also been selected for the landscape at Mound House because of its medicinal and industrial uses. Historically, firebush was utilized by Native Americans to treat skin problems such as burns, insect bites and rashes. Recent research into the medicinal value of firebush has revealed that extracts from this plant showed analgesic and anti- inflammatory uses. In addition, tannins from this plant are used in several industrial applications as well.