Antiaris toxicaria Lesch

[From Malay, antjar = Antiaris toxicaria Lesch. and from Greek, toxikon = poison for arrow]

Physical description: It is a lowland rainforest tree which grows to a height of 45 m. It is found in Malaysia, Indonesia, India and South China. The bark is dark grey. The inner bark is yellowish with a milky latex. The wood is white and soft. The stems are hairy at the apex. Leaves: simple, alternate and stipulate. The petiole is 2 mm-1 cm long. The blade is oblong-elliptic, and 7.5cm-20cm x 3.6cm-8.5cm. The apex of the blade is pointed, and the base is round and asymmetric.The inflorescences are axillary. The male flowers are tiny and consist of a 4-lobed perianth and 8 stamens. The female flowers show a pair of styles. The fruits are pear-shaped, pulpy, tomentose and crimson drupes (Fig. 49).

Common names: Upas tree; pokok ipoh (Malay); upas (Javanese).

The plant is used for medicinal purposes in India, where the latex is ingested in very small doses to stimulate blood circulation and the heart. In Malaysia, Dayaks and Ibans use the latex to heal wounds, and to counteract snake-poison. In the Philippines, the leaves and bark are used to treat fever and to stop dysentery.

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