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Edible uses


Fruit[1][2]. Small and red[3]. The fruit is a berry about 7mm in diameter[4].

Young buds (the report does not say if they are flower or leaf buds) are used to make a tea[2][5][3].

A bitter substance called quassin' is extracted from (the bark of?) the tree and can be used as a hop substitute in brewing beer[3].

Unknown part


Material uses

The bark is used as an insecticide[6][7]. Another report says that it is the wood that is used[8]. It is a substitute for the insecticide quassia, which is obtained from the wood of a tropical tree[8]. 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[6][7][9].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The wood contains a number of medicinal compounds and has been shown to be anthelmintic, antiamoebal, antiviral, bitter, hypotensive and stomachic[10]. It increases the flow of gastric juices[10]. It is used in Korea in the treatment of digestive problems, especially chronic dyspepsia[10].

A decoction of the stem bark is bitter, febrifuge and tonic[6][7][11][9][12][13][8][14].

The leaves have been used to treat itchy skins[8][14]. (Probably acting by killing body parasites[K].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Secondary canopy

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 3 months cold stratification[15] 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[4].

Root cuttings 4cm long in December. Plant them out horizontally in pots in a greenhouse[16].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Picrasma quassioides. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Requires a fertile humus-rich moisture-retentive loam in a sunny position[4]. Plants also succeed when growing in semi-shade[17]. According to [4] 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].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Picrasma quassioides. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Picrasma quassioides.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Picrasma quassioides
Imported References
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    10 x 7 meters
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type


    1. ? 1.01.1 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
    2. ? Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3874292169 (1984-00-00)
    3. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    4. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.1 Reid. B. E. Famine Foods of the Chiu-Huang Pen-ts'ao. Taipei. Southern Materials Centre (1977-00-00)
    6. ? Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    7. ? Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
    8. ? Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement). Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi. (1986-00-00)
    9. ? Gupta. B. L. Forest Flora of Chakrata, Dehra Dun and Saharanpur. Forest Research Institute Press (1945-00-00)
    10. ? Medicinal Plants in the Republic of Korea World Health Organisation, Manila ISBN 92 9061 120 0 (1998-00-00)
    11. ? 11.011.1 Gamble. J. S. A Manual of Indian Timbers. Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh (1972-00-00)
    12. ? 12.012.1 Kariyone. T. Atlas of Medicinal Plants. ()
    13. ? 13.013.1 Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (1985-00-00)
    14. ? Manandhar. N. P. Plants and People of Nepal Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-527-6 (2002-00-00)
    15. ? Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation. Athens Ga. Varsity Press ISBN 0942375009 (1987-00-00)
    16. ? Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (1948-00-00)
    17. ? Brickell. C. The RHS Gardener's Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-86318-386-7 (1990-00-00)
    18. ? Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named PFAFimport-11
    19. ? Ohwi. G. Flora of Japan. (English translation) Smithsonian Institution (1965-00-00)