Uraria crinita (Cat’s Tail Plant, Asian Foxtail)
A fuss-free plant that will surely be a garden mouthpiece.
Grow them to enjoy their exotic beauty and attractiveness.
Plant Profile, Culture and Propagation :
- Botanical Name:
Uraria crinita (syn.: Uraria macrostachya, Uraria cornosa/comosa, Hedysarum crinitum).
- Common Names: Cat’s Tail Plant, Asian Foxtail, Pokok Ekor in Bahasa Malaysia.
- Family Name: Fabaceae
The specific epithet, crinita, is Latin word for hairy, referring to the inflorescence’s long white hairs.
- Origin: Native to China, Taiwan, India and Southeast Asia. It is also cultivated worldwide.
- Plant type: An ornamental and perennial plant
- Features: Uraria crinita is a species from the genus, Uraria that consists of 25 accepted species of flowering plants. The evergreen leaves are arranged alternately along the stems.
A compact and tropical shrub that grows between 1.0-1.5 m tall.
A woody shrub with erect stems and produces long bushy inflorescences.
The stem is covered in soft, short and grey hairs.
They are pinnately compound with 2-3 pairs of lateral leaflets and 1 slightly larger terminal leaflet.
Leaflets are oblong to narrowly ovate, 6-15 cm long and 3-8 cm wide.
The petioles are usually 5.5-15 in length. It produces bisexual and polycarpic flowers, with one large ovate petal that hangs over 3 smaller petals that are 0.6-0.9 cm wide.
Flowers are arranged on an inflorescence with stalked flowers carried along 1 main axis.
The inflorescences come in a variable shades of light purple, pink, blue and white.
It is shaped like a cone, measuring 15-30 cm in length.
This species usually flowers from April to September.
The common names of Cat’s Tail and Asian Foxtail were given as
the inflorescence resembles a bushy tail of a cat.
Flowers will eventually be followed by dehiscent dry fruits that are an elliptic pod and lightly covered in soft and short hairs.
- Culture (Care): Uraria crinita or Asian’s Foxtail can be easily grown with a little more care.
Light: Full sun.
Moisture: Moderate water requirements.
Soil: Humus-enriched, loamy and well-drained soils. Can even tolerate poor infertile soils.
Deadhead the flowers and trim off the withered foliage to keep it tidy and aesthetically pleasing.
Generally free from serious diseases and pests. Nevertheless, it is susceptible to seed beetles from the Bruchinae family.
For subtropical and temperate regions: Hardiness: USDA Zone 10 – 11.
For non-hardy regions, grow Uraria crinita or Asian Foxtail as a potted plant and bring it to overwinter indoors. Feed with a balanced flowering fertilizer during the growing seasons and none at all during winter. Reduce watering during cooler temperatures, allowing soil to dry slightly between waterings.
- Propagation: Easily propagated from seeds.
- Usage: Uraria crinita or Cat’s Tail Plant with its ornamental flowers will be excellent in any garden beds or borders.
Ideal as a groundcover plant. Suitable as a ground-cover plants. Can be grown indoors as a houseplant. Great for container planting or above-ground planters. It is used as a green manure crop to improve soil quality.
Also, in certain countries, it is used as a traditional medicine to stop bleeding, reducing fever, relieving coughs, treating diarrhoea, dysentery, ulcer and inflammation.