Sunday, March 11, 2012

CAESALPINIA L. - Yün-Shih

Caesalpinia sepiaria Roxb.
Yün-Shih


Caesalpinia sepiaria or Yün-Shih, a shrubby vine with retrorsely hooked spines, is reputedly used as a hallucinogen in China. The roots, flowers, and seeds also have value in folk medicine.

The earliest Chinese herbal—Pen-ts'-ao-ching——state​d that the "flowers could enable one to see spirits and, when taken in excess, cause one to stagger madly?' If consumed over a long period, they produce levitation and "communication with the spirits?'

This plant is an extensive climber with pinnate leaves 9—15 in. (23—38cm) long and linear-oblong leaflets in 8—12 pairs. The large, erect, unbranched showy racemes, 21 in. (53 cm) long, bear canary yellow flowers. The smooth, elongateovoid, pointed fruit has 4 to 8 ovoid, brown- and black-mottled seeds, % in. (1 cm) long. An alkaloid of unknown structure has been reported from Caesalpinia sepiaria.

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