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QUININE BERRY TREE

Petalostigma pubescens

Plant Family

Picrodendraceae

Alternative Common Names

Bitter bark, native quince

Shrub or small tree 5 to 10 m high, with drooping branches which are silky or more or less woolly.

Leaves - ovate to circular, 2–6 cm long, 1–2.5 cm wide, upper surface dark green; lower surface grey and with long and short hairs.

Flowers - Male flowers in clusters of 3 or 4, female flowers solitary, creamy-fawn. Male and female flowers on the same plant.

Fruit – globular 12–17 mm diameter, orange-yellow to orange; ripe April–November.

Indigenous uses - bark and fruits have been used in the treatment of malaria, toothache and sore eyes; tonic: vitamin deficiencies, blood purifiers (bark and fresh fruit used as a bitter tonic); toothache (fruits held in the mouth reputed to relieve toothache); diaphoretics: treatment of fever (induces sweating); bactericides: wounds, sores and ulcers; styptics (bark infusion as an astringent and antiseptic wash); eye disease (bark or fruit infusion used for treatment of sore eyes); treatment of internal parasites.

Habitat

Grows in dry rainforest or in open forest.

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