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Paris quadrifolia - L.

Common Name Herb Paris
Family Trilliaceae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards The plant is poisonous in large doses[9, 13, 19, 65]. This refers to the fruit[200].
Habitats Damp woods on calcareous soils[13, 17].
Range Europe, including Britain, from Iceland south and east to Spain, Macedonia, Siberia and the Caucasus
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade
Paris quadrifolia Herb Paris


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Paris quadrifolia Herb Paris

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Paris quadrifolia is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.3 m (1ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in flower from May to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Flies, midges. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; not Deep Shade;

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.

Antianxiety;  Antidote;  Antirheumatic;  Aphrodisiac;  Detergent;  Homeopathy;  Narcotic;  Ophthalmic.


The entire plant, harvested just as it is coming into flower, is antirheumatic and detergent[13, 61, 178]. In large doses the herb is narcotic, producing nausea, vomiting, vertigo etc[4]. It should be used with great caution, overdoses have proved fatal to children[4]. In small doses it is of benefit in the treatment of bronchitis, spasmodic coughs, rheumatism, colic etc[4]. The plant is also used in the treatment of headaches and neuralgia[61, 178]. The seeds and the berries have something of the nature of opium, they have been used as an aphrodisiac[4]. A tincture of the fresh plant is useful as an antidote to poisoning by mercurial sublimate and arsenic[4]. A cooling ointment made from the seeds and juice of the leaves is applied externally to wounds, tumours and inflammations[4]. The juice of the berries is used to treat eye inflammations[4]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant[4].

Other Uses

Dye.

A red dye is obtained from the berries[13]. A yellow dye is obtained from the leaves[137].

Cultivation details

Easily grown in a humus-rich soil in woodland conditions[200]. Prefers a light sandy loam[42, 90]. Plants are hardy to about -15°c[200]. The presence of this plant in a truly wild state in Britain is an indicator of ancient woodland[200]. Plants are very slow to flower from seed[137]. The flowers are very long-lived[200]. The flowers emit a strong unpleasant smell rather like decaying meat[245].

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Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in late summer in a cold frame. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as soon as it is received. The seed is very slow to germinate. It produces a primary root about 7 months after sowing, this pulls the seed deeper into the soil. Leaves are produced about 4 months later[137]. Sow the seed thinly so that it does not need to be thinned and grow the young plants on undisturbed in a shady part of the greenhouse for their first two years of growth. Give an occasional liquid feed in the growing season to ensure the plants do not become nutrient deficient. At the end of the second year's growth prick out the young plants into individual pots and grow them on for another year or two in a shady part of the greenhouse before planting them out in the spring. Division.

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 NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Arthrocnemum subterminaleGlasswort, Parish's glasswort10
Berberis parisepala 22
Capparis spinosaCaper,Common Caper, Caper Bush23
Chamaecyparis lawsonianaLawson Cypress, Port orford cedar, Oregon Cedar, Port Orford Cedar, Lawson's Cypress01
Chamaecyparis nootkatensisNootka Cypress, Nootka Cypress, Yellow Cypress, Alaska Cedar01
Chamaecyparis thyoidesWhite Cypress, Atlantic white cedar, Coast White Cedar, Southern White Cedar, White Cypress01
Cupressocyparis leylandiiLeyland Cypress00
Ericameria parishiiHeath Goldenrod, Parish's rabbitbrush11
Liparis japonica 10
Paris polyphyllaHerb Paris12
Ribes divaricatumCoastal Black Gooseberry, Spreading gooseberry, Parish's gooseberry, Straggly gooseberry41
Santolina chamaecyparissusCotton Lavender22

 

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Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

17200

Links / References

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Readers comment

Alexis MJ Rosell   Sun Apr 18 17:32:30 2004

I am 50 years old. When I was 30 years old I wanted to experiment with this "so toxic" plant. I did not believe the confused European reports. Instead, I believed Chinese reports for a very similar plant (P. polyphylla). They recommend it against encephalitis B, and diphteria. The result, after having drunk the tea made day by day of over half a sack of dried Paris quadrifolia (including some berries) was that . . . I felt better than ever. And I am missing taking some more. I felt the head soothed.

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