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Dichroa febrifuga - Lour.

Common Name Chinese Quinine, Dichroa
Family Hydrangeaceae
USDA hardiness 8-11
Known Hazards One report says that the plant is toxic but gives no more details[147].
Habitats Shrubberies and damp places[51], often gregarious in clearings of oak forests[146], 900 - 2400 metres, from C. Nepal to China[51].
Range E. Asia - China, Japan, Himalayas.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Half Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Dichroa febrifuga Chinese Quinine, Dichroa
Dichroa febrifuga Chinese Quinine, Dichroa


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Bloom Color: Blue. Form: Rounded, Spreading or horizontal.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Dichroa febrifuga is an evergreen Shrub growing to 2 m (6ft 7in) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 9. It is in leaf all year, in flower from June to August, and the seeds ripen from August to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map



Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; South Wall. By. West Wall. By.

Edible Uses

None known


Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antiperiodic  Emetic  Expectorant  Febrifuge  Purgative

This plant is commonly used in Chinese herbalism, where it is considered to be one of the 50 fundamental herbs[218]. The leaves are purgative[218]. They are used in the treatment of stomach cancer[218]. The juice of the leaves is used in Nepal to treat coughs, colds and bronchitis[272]. A decoction of the stem bark is used in the treatment of fevers[218]. a decoction of the leaves is used to treat malarial fever[272]. The root contains several alkaloids[283] and is emetic, expectorant, febrifuge and purgative[51, 61, 146, 147, 176, 218, 240, 272]. The juice of the root is used in Nepal to treat fevers and indigestion[272]. This plant is 26 times more powerful than quinine in the treatment of malaria but causes vomiting[176]. Substances in the plant are 100 times more powerful than quinine, but they are poisonous[218].


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Other Uses

The wood is used as a fuel[272].

Special Uses


Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Erosion control, Ground cover, Massing, Rock garden. An easily grown plant, succeeding in an open loamy soil[1]. The flowers vary in colour according to the type of soil they grow in, the best blue colour is formed when plants are in very acid soils[260]. One report says that this plant is probably not hardy outdoors in Britain[11] whilst another says that some provenances tolerate temperatures down to about -5°c[260] and another report says that the forms in cultivation are only fully hardy in southern Cornwall[1]. This same report goes on to say that those forms probably do not belong to D. febrifuga in the strict sense[1]. This plant is cultivated in Russia as an anti-malarial herb[240]. Special Features:Not North American native, Attractive flowers or blooms.


Temperature Converter

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Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

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Seed - we have no information on this species but suggest sowing the seed in a greenhouse in spring and only just covering it. Do not allow the compost to dry out. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings. No details are given, we suggest trying in August with almost ripe wood in a frame.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Tom Reed   Wed Jul 13 18:27:35 2005

Would like source of seeds or selected cultivars, preferably available in US.

Stephen Griffith   Mon Oct 8 2007

I HAVE BEEN GROWING THIS PLANT OUTSIDE IN A SHELTERED ACID WOODLAND CLOSE TO THE SEA IN ABBOTSBURY GARDENS IN DORSET, UK, FOR 15 YEARS NOW. In the coldest winters it looses its leaves but comes back in spring -3 is our average winter cold .occasionally -6 We take cuttings which root quite easily for insurance plants.It has a vivid blue flower that often gets confused with nearbt Hydrangeas

ABBOTSBURY SUB TROPICAL GARDENS 18thC woodland garden , Vast plant collections from all over the world

anne mccaughan   Mon Jan 7 2008

I have a shrub that I think may be a dichroa. Mine started flowering in September and is now at its peak. It matches the photos I've seen but there seems to be conflicting information about flowering times. If anyone could help with identification, I could send a photo. January 7th

anne   Mon Jan 7 2008

forgot to sat that I live in Co Down, close to the sea. I had thought it was a hydrangea.

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