An oil is extracted from the seeds. It attains a tallow-like consistency on standing and is used to make candles. These burn brilliantly, though they emit a pungent smoke. The plant has an extensive root system and is sometimes planted to prevent soil erosion.The split stems are used in basket making.
The root bark is astringent and diuretic. An infusion can be used in the treatment of diarrhoea, dysentery. Used externally, it is used to treat excessive vaginal discharge and skin eruptions and also as a gargle for sore throats. Its use is contraindicated if inflammation is present. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. The fruits are astringent and diuretic. They have been chewed in the treatment of stomach aches, toothaches and gripe and used as a gargle to treat mouth and throat complaints. They help reduce fevers and may be of help in treating late-onset diabetes.Some caution is advised in the use of the leaves and stems of this plant, see the notes above on toxicity.
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A very hardy plant when fully dormant, tolerating temperatures down to about -25°c. However, the young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. Many of the species in this genus are highly toxic and can also cause severe irritation to the skin of some people, whilst other species such as this one are not poisonous. It is relatively simple to distinguish which is which, the poisonous species have axillary panicles and smooth fruits whilst non-poisonous species have compound terminal panicles and fruits covered with acid crimson hairs. The toxic species are sometimes separated into their own genus, Toxicodendron, by some botanists. This species is a low suckering shrub. There is a specially low growing form, var. arenaria, that is found growing on sand dunes in the mid-west of N. America. A polymorphic species. Plants are susceptible to coral spot fungus. Plants have brittle branches that are easily damaged in very strong winds. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. This species transplants easily. The plant has an offensive smell. Or, to go by another nose, the bruised leaves emit a delicious resinous scent.Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
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Polycultures & Guilds
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This table shows all the data stored for this plant.
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