Alstonia scholaris (L.) R.Br. - APOCYNACEAE

Basionym : Echites scholaris L.

Synonym : Echites pala Ham.
Alstonia scholaris (L.) R.Br. var. avae A.DC.
Alstonia scholaris (L.) R.Br. var. blumii A.DC.
Alstonia kurzii Hook.f.
Alstonia scholaris (L.) R.Br. var. velutina Monach.

Common name : Devil tree; white cheese wood; black board tree; pagoda tree.

English   Lao   

Botanical descriptions Habitat and ecology Distribution

Botanical descriptions :

Diagnostic characters : Evergreen or briefly deciduous trees, bole fluted, branches horizontal. Exudate white. Leaves simple whorled, secondary veins perpendicular to the midrib. Inflorescence terminal, flowers white. Fruits long thin follicles, seeds with tufts of hairs at both ends.
Habit : Evergreen or briefly deciduous tree up to 40 m. tall, branches horizontally to the main trunk.
Trunk & bark : Bole fluted. Bark light brown, smooth to slightly cracked, inner bark brown to yellow.
Branches and branchlets or twigs : Branches glabrous, sparsely to densely lenticellate.
Exudates : Latex white in trunk and leaves.
Leaves : Leaves simple, 5-32 by 1.5-8 cm. grouped in whorl of 4-8, oblong-elliptic, apex acuminate, base attenuate and decurrent, blade coriaceous and glabrous, brownish when dry, margin entire and slightly undulate.
Midrib flat above, proeminent below; secondary vein closely parallel.
Inflorescences or flowers : Flowers white or greenish yellow, densely clustered in terminal inflorescence, pubescent; pedicel short.
Fruits : Fruits are cylindrical and slender follicles of 21-56 by 0.2.-0.3 cm. grouped by pair arranged in suspended whorl, glabrous.
Seeds : Many seeds, glabrous, ciliate.

Habitat and ecology :

In evergreen, deciduous or mixed forest, on forest margin and sometimes cultivated as ornamental pattern.
Flowering period: October to March; fruiting time: April to June.

Distribution :

From India and Sri Lanka to Southern China, in Southeast Asia countries, Malesia (Type), Bismarck Archipelago, the Solomon Islands, Laos (Kham - mouan and widespread in several provinces).

Remark/notes/uses :
The wood is often used for coffins and as a plywood core. An infusion of the crushed leaves is used to clean infected wounds. The bitter bark and latex yield a tonic and anti-septic medicine.

Specimens studied :
BT 924 and FOS 67 (Herbarium of Faculty of Sciences-NUoL, NHN-Leiden and CIRAD-Montpellier).

Literature :
Gardner S., Sidisunthorn P. & Anusarnsunthorn V. 2000. A field guide to Forest Trees of Northern Thailand. Kobfai Publishing Project. Bangkok. Thailand.
Lecomte H. (ed.). 1907-1912. Flore Générale de l'Indo-Chine. Vol. 3 (8-9), Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Laboratoire de Phanérogamie, Paris, France.
Lecomte H. (ed.). 1907-1912. Flore Générale de l'Indo-Chine. Vol. 7 (1), Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Laboratoire de Phanérogamie, Paris, France.

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