Botanical Name: Rhus wallichii
Species: R. typhina
Equisetopsida: C. Agardh
Subclass: Magnoliidae Novák ex Takht.
Superorder: Rosanae Takht.
Synonyms: Toxicodendron wallichii var. wallichii, R. vernicifera. DC. pro parte.
Common Names:.…Local Names: Kag Bhalayo, Thulo Bhalayo (Nep)
Habitat: Rhus wallichii is native to E. Asia – Himalayas. It grows on shady and open places in forests and shrubberies at elevations of 300 – 2500 metres.
Rhus wallichii is a deciduous Tree growing to 8 m (26ft 3in).
It is frost tender. It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.
Succeeds in a well-drained fertile soil in full sun. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. Plants have brittle branches and these can be broken off in strong winds. Plants are also susceptible to coral spot fungus. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Many of the species in this genus, including this one, are highly toxic and can also cause severe irritation to the skin of some people, whilst other species 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. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in hot water (starting at a temperature of 80 – 90c and allowing it to cool) prior to sowing in order to leach out any germination inhibitors. The stored seed also needs hot water treatment and can be sown in early spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for 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, 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings 4cm long taken in December and potted up vertically in a greenhouse. Good percentage. Suckers in late autumn to winter
Medicinal Uses:….The juice of the leaves is a corrosive vesicant.
The leaves are rich in tannin. They can be collected as they fall in the autumn and used as a brown dye or as a mordant. 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. A lacquer is obtained from the sap of this plant. The leaf juice is rubbed onto thread to strengthen it. (This might be due to the presence of tannin which would act as a preservative.) Wood. Used for tools, musical instruments. It is also used to make the handle of the Khukuri, the Nepalese curved knife
Known Hazards : This plant contains toxic substances in the sap that can cause severe irritation to some people.
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.