Herb latin name: Skimmia laureola

Synonyms: Limonia laureola, Skimmia melanocarpa

Family: Rutaceae (Rue Family, Citrus Family)

Medicinal use of Skimmia laureola:

The leaves are used in the treatment of smallpox. The smoke produced by burning them is said to purify the air.

Description of the plant:


150 cm
(5 feet)

to June


Habitat of the herb:

An undershrub in rocky places in oak and fir forests, 2400 - 3600 metres from C. Nepal to N. China.

Edible parts of Skimmia laureola:

Leaves - cooked. Used as a condiment. The strongly aromatic leaves are used in curries or as a flavouring for other foods.

Other uses of the herb:

An essential oil in the leaves is used in scenting soap. The dried leaves are used as an incense. The fresh leaves are used to make garlands for weddings. Plants can be grown as a ground cover when planted about 1 metre apart each way. Wod - used to make handles of small farming implements such as hoes and axes.

Propagation of Skimmia laureola:

Seed - can be sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. It also succeeds when sown in early spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a shady position in the cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. If there is sufficient seed then it can be sown can be in an outdoor seedbed in early spring. Grow the plants on in the seedbed for a couple of years before planting them out in late autumn or early spring. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a cold frame. Cuttings of nearly mature side shoots, 7 - 10cm with a heel, September in a cold frame. Slow to root, they should be left for 18 months before moving to their permanent positions. Good percentage. Layering in autumn. Takes 18 months. Good to high percentage.

Cultivation of the herb:

An undershrub in rocky places in oak and fir forests, 2400 - 3600 metres from C. Nepal to N. China.

Known hazards of Skimmia laureola:

A poisonous alkaloid called 'skimmianin' is found in all parts of the related S. japonica, it is probably also present in this species.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.