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Picrasma quassioides - (D.Don.)Benn.

Common Name Nigaki
Family Simaroubaceae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Lowland woods and hills[58]. Forests in the higher hills of the W. Himalayas, in ravines under forests of deodar, oak, fir etc, 1800 - 2400 metres[146].
Range E. Asia - China, Japan, Korea.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Picrasma quassioides Nigaki

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Bruce_MarlinPicris echioides
Picrasma quassioides Nigaki


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Physical Characteristics

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Picrasma quassioides is a deciduous Tree growing to 10 m (32ft) by 7 m (23ft).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 6. It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen in October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Secondary; Sunny Edge;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit
Edible Uses: Condiment  Tea

Fruit[105, 177]. Small and red[183]. The fruit is a berry about 7mm in diameter[200]. Young buds (the report does not say if they are flower or leaf buds) are used to make a tea[177, 179, 183]. A bitter substance called quassin' is extracted from (the bark of?) the tree and can be used as a hop substitute in brewing beer[183].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

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Anthelmintic  Antiviral  Bitter  Febrifuge  Hypotensive  Parasiticide  Stomachic  Tonic

The wood contains a number of medicinal compounds and has been shown to be anthelmintic, antiamoebal, antiviral, bitter, hypotensive and stomachic[279]. It increases the flow of gastric juices[279]. It is used in Korea in the treatment of digestive problems, especially chronic dyspepsia[279]. A decoction of the stem bark is bitter, febrifuge and tonic[46, 61, 146, 158, 174, 218, 240, 272]. The leaves have been used to treat itchy skins[240, 272]. (Probably acting by killing body parasites[K].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Insecticide  Parasiticide  Wood

The bark is used as an insecticide[46, 61]. Another report says that it is the wood that is used[240]. It is a substitute for the insecticide quassia, which is obtained from the wood of a tropical tree[240]. Quassia is a relatively safe organic insecticide that breaks down quickly and is of low toxicity to mammals. It has been used as a parasiticide to get rid of lice, fleas etc. Wood - hard, fine and close grained. Used for mosaic, utensils etc[46, 61, 158].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Requires a fertile humus-rich moisture-retentive loam in a sunny position[200]. Plants also succeed when growing in semi-shade[188]. According to [200] this plant is only hardy to zone 10 (not tolerating frosts) but there are healthy trees in many parts of Britain including one 8.5 metres tall at Kew in 1981, one 8 metres tall seen growing in light woodland shade at Cambridge Botanical Gardens where it was bearing fruit in the autumn of 1996 and one 9 metres tall at Westonbirt in 1980[11, K].

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 a cold frame. Stored seed requires 3 months cold stratification[113] and should be sown as early in the year as possible. 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 of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame[200]. Root cuttings 4cm long in December. Plant them out horizontally in pots in a greenhouse[78].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

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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
Picrasma excelsaJamaican QuassiaTree20.0 10-12 MLMNM244

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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Readers comment

Ari Widiyantoro   Sat Mar 26 07:56:13 2005

i am a researcher in Department of chemistry, Faculty of Mathematic and Natural Science, University of Tanjungpura, Pontianak, Indonesia, Jl. A. Yani Pontianak. HP +6281522536967. I am interest in Natural Product Chemistry. I wish details plant in Family Simarubaceae and it distribution. And picture of Garcinia dulcis and G. boornensis. Thanks for your information.

Ari Widiyantoro

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