Galphimia glauca [gal-FIM-ee-uh, GLOCK-uh] is a member of the Malpighia family and is commonly called Thryallis or Rain of Gold.
It is a small, perennial evergreen shrub hailing from the tropical areas of Central America and Mexico, where it is very commonly used in folk medicine for a wide variety of ailments, including depression and anxiety.
In its native Mexico, it has a number of common names including:
- Hierba Del Desprecio
- Hierba Del Cuervo
- Calderona Amarilla
- Ojo De Gallina
- Flor Estrella
Size & Growth
Rain of Gold can grow to be 4′ to 6′ feet tall and spreads to be about 4′ feet wide.
The plant drops it’s small, green leaves during cold winter months but, in areas with moderate winters, offers some winter interest thanks to the reddish hue of its stems and branches.
Flowering & Fragrance
In a full sun setting, Flor Estrella is covered with fragrant sweet-scented yellow flowers from early in the springtime until the first frost.
For more on Fragrant Garden Flowers
Lack of sun can cause sparse flowering.
Flowers are attractive to hummingbirds, bees, and other pollinators.
Light & Temperature
Although Thryallis can tolerate shade, it will perform best in full sunlight.
When temperatures drop to 25° degrees Fahrenheit (-4° C), the plant will die back to the ground; however, the roots will survive (especially if well mulched before winter commences).
When spring arrives, the plant will quickly regrow.
It is winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 8b through 9.
It’s important to note more damage is done to this plant by wind than by cold.
Be sure to choose a sheltered setting.
Watering & Feeding
When first planted, you should keep Kunze well watered until it is established.
Once established, this drought-tolerant shrub requires very little water.
In good quality, well-draining soil, you needn’t fertilize; however, it is a good idea to add organic peat humus and cow manure to the soil when you plant seeds or seedlings.
Grooming & Maintenance
Depending on the desired effect, either let this plant grow a bit wild throughout most of the growing season or keep it tidily groomed.
Either way, give it a hard pruning early in the springtime to get it off to an even start.
For an informal, natural appearance, you might just wish to prune lightly, occasionally during the growing season to control size.
For a more formal appearance, prune more often to maintain the desired shape and size.
Even prune it for use as a topiary presentation.
Frequent pruning will result in the loss of flowers.
How To Propagate Galphimia Glauca
Thryallis is successfully propagated by sowing the seeds while they are still green.
In ideal conditions, the plant will self sow.
- Alternately, take tender, softwood cuttings during the summertime.
- Dip the ends of the cuttings in rooting powder and insert them into good quality, well-draining soil.
- When the seedlings are about six months old and/or approximately a foot high, they should start to bloom.
Galphimia Glauca Main Pest or Disease Problems
When healthy, Ojo De Gallina is virtually pest-free.
It may occasionally be bothered by mites or caterpillars.
Thryallis plants are also generally disease-free, but as with any plant, Rain of Gold may experience problems with root rot if it is made to stand in water and/or overcrowded.
Always use well-draining soil, and space the plants about 3′ to 5′ feet apart.
Is Thryallis Toxic or Poisonous?
It’s important to remember this is a plant possessing a wide variety of medicinal properties.
It is used in traditional medicine in Mexico as an antihistamine, an anticonvulsant, an anti-allergic medication, a sedative, and much more.
Kunze contains a wide variety of therapeutic compounds, including phenolics, triterpenoids, and flavonoids.
Current scientific studies are devoted to exploring its use as an anti-inflammatory drug, an antidiarrheal medication, and treatment for a number of other ailments, including malaria and gastroenteritis.
This powerful medicinal plant should not be ingested without proper supervision by an experienced and knowledgeable herbalist and/or a medical doctor.
Is Galphimia Plants Invasive?
Although he grows with wild abandon in its native, very dry settings, this plant is considered exotic outside of Mexico, and it is not known to be invasive.
Suggested Uses For Galphimia Glauca
This attractive, fast-growing plant makes an excellent privacy hedge or screen in the summer.
In areas with mild winters, it can provide some winter interest because of its intricate form, attractive trunks, branches and stems, and persistent fruit.
It makes a nice understory for very tall trees or trees having sparse leaves and tall plain trunks (e.g., palm trees).
In this sort of setting, Rain of Gold adds a lot of visual interest and can still receive the sun it needs to flower abundantly.
This tall, pretty plant makes a nice backdrop for shorter flowering plants in contrasting colors.