Drimys winteri

Botanical Name: Drimys winteri
Family: Winteraceae
Genus: Drimys
Species: D. winteri
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Canellales

Synonyms: True Winter’s Bark. Winter’s Cinnamon. Wintera aromatica. Wintera. Drimys aromatica. Murray. non (R.Br.)Muell. Wintera aromatica. Murray. non (R.Br.)Muell.

Common Names: Winter’s Bark, Canelo

Habitat: Drimys winteri is native to the Magellanic and Valdivian temperate rain forests of Chile and Argentina, where it is a dominant tree in the coastal evergreen forests. Boggy sites by streams etc in rich soils. It is found below 1,200 m (3,937 ft) between latitude 32° south and Cape Horn at latitude 56°. In its southernmost natural range it can tolerate temperatures down to ?20 °C (?4 °F).

Description:
Drimys winteri is an evergreen Shrub growing to 7.5 m (24ft) by 6 m (19ft) at a medium rate. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jan to June. The leaves are lanceolate, glossy green above, whitish below and can measure up to 20 cm (8 in). The flowers  are white with a yellow center, and comprise a great number of petals and stamens. The fruit is a bluish berry. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)

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The bark is green and wrinkled, that of the branches smooth and green, erect and scarred, leaves alternate, oblong, obtuse, with a midrib veinless, glabrous and finely dotted underside. Flowers small on terminal peduncles, approximately one-flowered, simple. Fruits up to six obovate, baccate, and many seeded. The bark is the official part and is found in small carved pieces 1/4 inch thick, dull yellow grey externally. Both Canella and Cinnamodendron are found in its transverse section, exhibiting radiating white lines at the end of the last rays, diverging towards the circumference; odour aromatic with a warm pungent taste.
Cultivation:
Requires a light lime-free soil in semi-shade. Tolerates chalk in the soil. Requires a deep moist soil. Dislikes dry conditions. Prefers a warm sandy loam with some shelter. Fairly wind resistant. Another report says that the plant resents severe wind-chill. Succeeds against a wall at Kew and it thrives in an open position in S.W. England. Tolerates temperatures down to about -10°c. This species is less hardy than D. lanceolata but it usually recovers from damage. Another report says that it is hardier than D. lanceolata. A very ornamental plant. The sub-species D. winteri andina. Reiche. is a slow growing dwarf form seldom exceeding 1 metre in height. It usually commences flowering when about 30cm tall. A polymorphic species. The flowers have a delicate fragrance of jasmine, whilst the bark has a powerful aromatic smell. This plant was a symbol of peace to the indigenous Indian tribes of S. America in much the same way as an olive branch was used in Greece. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow on the plants for at least their first winter in a cold frame. Plant them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Layering in March/April. Takes 12 months. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10 – 15 cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Approximately 60% take. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year’s growth with a heel of older wood, November in a cold frame

Edible Uses : The aromatic pungent bark is powdered and used as a pepper substitute in Brazil, Chile and Argentina. It is rich in vitamin C.

Part Used: The Bark.

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Constituents: An inodorous acrid resin, pale yellow volatile oil, tannic acid, oxide of iron, colouring matter and various salts.

Medicinal Uses:

Antidandruff; Antiscorbutic; Aromatic; Febrifuge; Parasiticide; Skin; Stimulant; Stomachic.

The bark is a pungent bitter tonic herb that relieves indigestion. It is antiscorbutic, aromatic, febrifuge, skin, stimulant and stomachic. An infusion of the bark is used in the treatment of indigestion, colic, dandruff and scurvy. It is also used as a parasiticide. The bark is harvested in the autumn and winter and is dried for later use.

Other Uses:
Essential; Parasiticide; Wood.

Canelo wood is reddish in color and heavy, with a very beautiful grain. It is used for furniture and music instruments. The wood is not durable outdoors because continuous rainfalls damage it. The wood is not good for making bonfires because it gives off a spicy smoke.The powerfully aromatic bark contains resinous matter and 0.64% of aromatic essential oil.

The bark is gray, thick and soft and is used as a pepper replacement in Argentina and Chile. The peppery compound in canelo is polygodial.

Known Hazards  : The sap of this plant can cause serious inflammation if it comes into contact with the eyes

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drimys_winteri
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/w/winbar25.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Drimys+winteri

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