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Drimys_winteri - J.R.Forst.&G.Forst.

Common Name Winter's Bark
Family Winteraceae
USDA hardiness 7-10
Known Hazards The sap of this plant can cause serious inflammation if it comes into contact with the eyes[139].
Habitats The dominant tree in moister lowland sites to Tierra Del Fuego[69]. Boggy sites by streams etc in rich soils[139].
Range Southern S. America - Chile, Argentina.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Frost Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade
Drimys_winteri Winter

Drimys_winteri Winter


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Drimys_winteri is an evergreen Shrub growing to 7.5 m (24ft) by 6 m (19ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 8. It is in leaf all year, in flower from January to June. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


D. aromatica. Murray. non (R.Br.)Muell. Wintera aromatica. Murray. non (R.Br.)Muell.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

The aromatic pungent bark is powdered and used as a pepper substitute in Brazil, Chile and Argentina[2, 46, 69, 183]. It is rich in vitamin C[22].

References   More on Edible Uses

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.

The bark is a pungent bitter tonic herb that relieves indigestion[238]. It is antiscorbutic, aromatic, febrifuge, skin, stimulant and stomachic. An infusion of the bark is used in the treatment of indigestion, colic, dandruff and scurvy[4, 46, 69, 139, 238]. It is also used as a parasiticide[4, 46, 69, 139]. The bark is harvested in the autumn and winter and is dried for later use[238].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

The powerfully aromatic bark contains resinous matter and 0.64% of aromatic essential oil[245]. Wood - not durable, heavy (it sinks in water) - interior of houses, boxes etc. It burns badly with a smell[46, 61, 69, 139].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Requires a light lime-free soil in semi-shade[202]. Tolerates chalk in the soil[11]. Requires a deep moist soil[11]. Dislikes dry conditions[139]. Prefers a warm sandy loam with some shelter[1]. Fairly wind resistant[49, 166]. Another report says that the plant resents severe wind-chill[202]. Succeeds against a wall at Kew[K] and it thrives in an open position in S.W. England[11, 49, 59]. Tolerates temperatures down to about -10°c[184]. This species is less hardy than D. lanceolata but it usually recovers from damage[120]. Another report says that it is hardier than D. lanceolata[200]. A very ornamental plant[11]. The sub-species D. winteri andina. Reiche. is a slow growing dwarf form seldom exceeding 1 metre in height[182]. It usually commences flowering when about 30cm tall[238]. A polymorphic species[139]. The flowers have a delicate fragrance of jasmine, whilst the bark has a powerful aromatic smell[245]. This plant was a symbol of peace to the indigenous Indian tribes of S. America in much the same way as an olive branch was used in Greece[139]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a greenhouse[200]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow on the plants for at least their first winter in a cold frame. Plant them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Layering in March/April. Takes 12 months[78]. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10 - 15 cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Approximately 60% take[78]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year's growth with a heel of older wood, November in a cold frame[78].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Chachaca, Palo de mambo,

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Found In

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

Argentina, Australia, Belize, Brazil, Central America, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico*, Nicaragua, North America, Panama, South America, Tasmania,

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
Drimys winteriWinter's BarkShrub7.5 7-10 MLMSM323

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


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Readers comment

Gamalieth Salazar   Fri Mar 16 2007

I’m surprised with the fact that this tree is not cold tolerant, I think that provenances planted in Britain come from central Chile; everybody who has information about Tierra del Fuego, knows that Drimys winteri grows there and that has survived temperatures down to –20°C in the town of Ushuaia!. Compare all climate statistics from any city in Britain with Ushuaia and you will confirm that Tierra del Fuego is very much colder. Faroe Islands example: In Faroe Islands Drimys winteri has been very hardy; due to the fact that those islands are naturally devoid of trees and it was thought that no trees could grow because of strong winds and cold summers (10°c) , a commission was created in order to make an expedition to Tierra del Fuego, the collecting was carried out in tundra borders and tree-lines (colder places than Ushuaia), in crop trials trees (Drimys and Nothofagus) from Tierra del Fuego registered good growth but those from northern Europe and southern Alaska didn’t succeed because they need more heat in summer. The usefulness of Tierra del Fuego’ trees is amazing and they could be introduced even in Iceland. If we compare climate data averages; hottest month: Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego) 9°C, Reykjavik 11°C; coldest month Ushuaia 0°C, Reykjavik 0°C. In Iceland they could be used as wind curtains against strong winds in order to protect soil from grazing. Wood imports would be reduced. In Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian Islands (in this two regions trees from Sitka, South Alaska; were a failure because they have more than 100 years and are still shrubs; they need more heat in summer), trees from Tierra del Fuego could be planted too because the climate is practically the same. Besides, I’m sure that if provenances of Drimys winteri from the southernmost forests of Tierra del Fuego are planted in Britain they will turn out to be very hardy ones. BIBLOGRAPHY: Højgaard, A., J. Jóhansen, and S. Ødum (eds) 1989. A century of tree planting in the Faroe Islands. Føroya Frodskaparfelag, Torshavn.

Luke Harding   Fri Jan 16 2009

It is often the combination of wet and cold which knocks plants in the UK. We also have cooler and wetter summers too and these factors don't allow for a stable/predictable climate. We also experience very late frosts. Some years plants will have been growing happily for a few months and then we freeze soild for a few days. The plants are still tender at that time and young tissue is easily damaged. We end up having to find very sheltered locations for them.

Marco Vendetti   Tue Mar 3 2009

Frosts in Tierra del Fuego are present also in early Autumn and late Spring and it has snowed even in summer, Fuegian trees tolerate this cold conditions throughout the year. Many tree species have arrived to Britain from their northernmost range from Chile and/or Argentina and have not been hardy at first, later some species with provenance from different places in its natural range have been tested in cultivation in Great Britain. Trees cultivated collected from Central Chile have been the most damaged by frosts. Trees collected from Tierra del Fuego were the hardiest and proved a good frost tolerance. I think it´s worthy to try with Winter´s bark. By the way there is a Winter’s bark tree growing in Northumberland, Northeast England, I don’t know its provenance.

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