Herbs & Plants

Coriaria myrtifolia

Botanical Name: Coriaria myrtifolia
Family: Coriariaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Cucurbitales
Genus: Coriaria
Species: C. myrtifolia

*Coriaria hermaphrodita Turra
*Coriaria tinctoria Dulac

Common Names: Redoul, Myrtle-leaved sumach, Myrtle-leaved tanner’s tree, English redoul.

Habitat: Coriaria myrtifolia is native to Europe. It grows in the Mediterranean coastal Spain and Southern France (from the Gironde to the Alpes Maritimes), penetrating into Italy as far as part of the Apennines.It prefers to grow on dry woods, hedges and rocky places.

Coriaria myrtifolia is a deciduous Shrub growing to 1.8 m (6ft) with branches greyish square section. The leaves are sessile, mostly opposite but sometimes in groups of three or more, oblong, acuminate, with three ribs. The small greenish flowers, which appear from April to June in racemes, have five reddish highlights styles, five sepals and five petals, with ten stamens. The black fruits are formed of five fleshy carpels, each containing one seed.
The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).

The root nodules of this plant carry out symbiotic nitrogen fixation, Coriaria myrtifolia is one of the 13 Coriaria species known to bear actinorhizae.


Prefers a fairly good loamy soil in a sunny sheltered position. Succeeds in light shade[200]. Plants are hardy to about -5°c, succeeding outdoors in Britain from London and south-westwards. The stems are often cut back by winter cold but the plants usually resprout from the base. This new growth does not flower in its first year. The roots of plants in this genus bear nitrogen-fixing nodules[218]. Whilst much of the nitrogen will be utilized by the growing plant, some of it will become available for other plants growing nearby.

Seed – sow February/March in a greenhouse. The seed usually germinates in 1 – 3 months at 15°c. 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, 7cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Fair percentage[

Traditionally, leaves of redoul were intensively collected for their tannin content, for tanning and dyeing purposes. During the medieval period, ecclesiastical institutions and the aristocracy clearly sought to establish some royalties on this resource, the samples are being especially on the distribution and sale of material first. These uses are due to the wealth of Coriaria spp tannin, particularly concentrated in the root and the bark of the stem, but also present in leaves, where they coexist with yellow dyes from the chemical group of flavonoids. These tannins are part of the group of hydrolyzable tannins, such as gall tannins. The chemical composition of redoul thus makes a tanning substance, capable of transforming recently flayed animal skins into leather, which is rot resistant, flexible and relatively impermeable, known as Basil leather. These properties allow for its widespread use in many industries. Moreover, the well-known chemical reaction of tannins with iron salts, producing black precipitates, is the basis for the manufacture of some inks used since the Middle Ages, and is also used to dye a variety of textiles black or gray. Until the mid-fourteenth century, the material was the subject of extensive trade between the north of Catalonia and Languedoc. The M?ori used species of Coriaria from New Zealand: they produced traditional tattoo inks from the fruit juice, made musical instruments from the hollow stems, and despite its extreme toxicity ate the fruit sparingly due to its sweet taste; using it to sweeten drinking water or jellies made from seaweed.

Coriaria myrtifolia is also used as an ornamental plant,

Known Hazards: This plant is very poisonous, the poison having the same effect as alcoholic intoxication.


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