Herb latin name: Rhus wallichii

Family: Anacardiaceae (Cashew Family, Sumac Family)

Medicinal use of Rhus wallichii:

The juice of the leaves is a corrosive vesicant.

Description of the plant:


8 m
(26 feet)

Habitat of the herb:

Shady and open places in forests and shrubberies at elevations of 300 - 2500 metres.

Other uses of Rhus wallichii:

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.

Propagation of the herb:

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.

Cultivation of Rhus wallichii:

Shady and open places in forests and shrubberies at elevations of 300 - 2500 metres.

Known hazards of Rhus wallichii:

This plant contains toxic substances in the sap that can cause severe irritation to some people.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.