Sunday, September 14, 2008

Alstonia scholaris

Alstonia scholaris is an evergreen, tropical tree native to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia.


''Alstonia scholaris'' is a small tree that grows up to 40 m tall and is glabrous. The bark is greyish; branchlets are copiously lenticellate.

The upperside of the leaves are glossy, while the underside is greyish. Leaves occur in whorls of 3-10; s are 1-3 cm; the leathery leaves are narrowly obovate to very narrowly spatulate, base cuneate, apex usually rounded; lateral veins occur in 25-50 pairs, at 80-90° to midvein. Cymes are dense and pubescent; peduncle is 4-7 cm long. Pedicels are usually as long as or shorter than . The is white and tube-like, 6-10 mm; lobes are broadly ovate or broadly obovate, 2-4.5 mm, overlapping to the left. The ovaries are distinct and pubescent. The are distinct and linear.

Seeds of ''A. scholaris'' are oblong, with ciliated margins, and ends with tufts of hairs 1.5-2 cm. The bark is almost odourless and very bitter, with abundant bitter and milky sap.


''Alstonia scholaris'' is native to the following regions:

* China: Guangxi , Yunnan
* Indian subcontinent: India; Nepal; Sri Lanka
* Southeast Asia: Cambodia; Myanmar; Thailand; Vietnam, Indonesia; Malaysia; Papua New Guinea; Philippines
* Australia: Queensland

It has also been naturalised in several other tropical and subtropical climates.


The bark contains the alkaloids ditamine, echitenine and echitamine and used to serve as an alternative to quinine. At one time, a decoction of the bark was used to treat diarrhoea and malaria, as a tonic, febrifuge, emmenagogue, anticholeric and vulnerary. A decoction of the leaves were used for beriberi.

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