Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

Ptelea trifoliata

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ptelea trifoliata L.


Ptelea is the greek name for the Elm,applied by Linnaeus to a genus of shrubs and small trees nativs of north America and Asia.


Traditional name

Amyris elemifera. P. viticifolia. Hop tree. Shrubby trefoil. Swamp dogwood. Wafer ash. Wing seed.

German: Kleeulme

Used parts

Tinct. of bark.


Plantae; Spermatophyta, Angiospermae - Flowering Plants; Dicotyledonae; Rosiflorae / Rosidae; Rutales; Rutaceae - Citrus Family


Original proving

Introduced by Hale, Tran. Am. Inst. Hom. 1868; Allen: Encyclop. Mat. Med. Vol. VIII, 177; Clarke: A Dictionary of Practical Met. Med. Vol. VII, 903.

Description of the substance

Botanical Source.—
The Wafer Ash is a shrub growing 6 to 8 feet high, a native of North America, but cultivated here, having been introduced in 1714.
This plant is a shrub from 6 to 8 feet in height, leaves trifoliate, marked with pellucid dots; leaflets sessile, ovate, short, acuminate, downy beneath when young, crenulate, or obscurely toothed; lateral ones inequilateral, terminal ones cuneate at the base, 3 to 4 1/2 inches long by 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 inches wide. The flowers are polygamous, greenish-white, nearly 1/2 inch in diameter, of a disagreeable odor, and borne in terminal corymbose cymes. Stamens mostly 4; style short. The fruit is a 2-celled samara, nearly 1 inch in diameter, winged all around, and nearly orbicular (G.—W.).

History and Description.—Wafer ash, or ptelea, is a shrub common to this country, growing more abundantly west of the Alleghanies, in shady, moist hedges, and edges of woods, and in rocky places; it flowers in June. The bark of the root is medicinal, and yields its properties to boiling water, but alcohol is its best solvent. It is when dried, of a light, brownish-yellow color externally, in cylindrical rolls or quills, 1 or 2 lines in thickness, and from 1 to several inches in length, irregularly wrinkled and furrowed externally, with broad, transverse lines or rings at short but irregular intervals, and is covered with a thin epidermis; internally it is yellowish-white, but becomes darker on exposure, and is wrinkled longitudinally. It is brittle, with an almost smooth, resinous fracture; granular under the microscope, resembling wax. It has a peculiar smell, somewhat similar to that of liquorice root, and a peculiar, bitter, resinous, pungent, acrid, and rather disagreeable taste, speedily and powerfully acting upon the mouth and fauces, and of persistent pungency, which is probably owing to its oleoresin. The leaves and fruit have also been used in medicine.