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piscidia erythrina L.
The pounded leaves and young branches of Pisc. and some allied species are used like Cocculus, for poisoning fish hence the name Piscidia (Piscis-caedere).
French and Bois des chiens German: Gemeiner Fischtänger
Fish Poison Tree
Piscidia piscipula (L.),
Tincture from the bark of the root, obtained while the tree is in flower, before leaf.
Kingdom Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Subclass Rosidae -
Order Fabales -
Family Fabaceae - Pea family
Genus Piscidia L. -- piscidia P
Proved and introduced by William Hamilton. Pharm. Journ, 1845, 76
Description of the substance
Jamaica dogwood is indigenous to Central America, Florida, and the West Indies, and can now also be found in Texas, Mexico, and the northern part of South America. The plant's characteristic pods bear four projecting longitudinal wings. The bark is yellow or grayish brown on the outer surface, and lighter colored or white on the inner surface. The Jamaica dogwood's distinctly acrid and bitter taste causes a burning sensation in the mouth, and the bark gives off an unpleasant odor.
---Description---A tree with very valuable wood and with the foliage and habit of Lonchocarpus. The pods bear four projecting longitudinal wings. The pounded leavesand young branches are used to poison fish the method followed is to fill an open crate with the branches, drop it into the water, and swill it about till the water is impregnated with the liquid from the leaves, etc.; this quickly stupefies the fish and enables the fishers to catch them quickly. In commerce the bark is found in quilled pieces 1 or 2 inches long and 1 inch thick. The outer surface yellow or greyish brown, inner surface lighter coloured or white, and if damp a peculiar blue colour. Inside it is very fibrous and dark brown, taste very acrid and bitter, and produces burning sensation in mouth with a strong disagreeable smell like broken opium. In 1844 attention was called to its narcotic, analgesic and sudorific properties which are uncertain.
An evergreen tree up to 7m in height with spreading branches. Leaves: pinnate, leaflets 3.4 pairs (7.11), opposite, oblong or elliptical, pointed or blunt, rounded at base, downy on both surfaces when young, smooth when old. Flower: purplish white 1.3cm across in axillary compound racemes on three cornered downy stalks. Pod 5.10cm long, bear four projecting longitudinal wings. Seeds: 6.8, black.
Part used: Root - bark.
Quills or curved pieces, 5.15cm or nearly 1m in length, 2.8cm broad and 4.6mm thick. Outer surface orange - brown when cork is present and dark greyish - brown where the cork is exfoliated; wrinkled with thin projecting edges of exfoliating scales on the outer cork and somewhat fissured. When surface is scraped the exposed phloem is greenish - black. Older pieces are dull reddish - brown, with reddish corky warts and transverse fissures at intervals. Inner surface brownish, smooth and finely chequered. Fracture short, even in the outer part, somewhat splintery internally. Odour characteristic; taste somewhat acrid.
Tropical America and West Indies.