Herb: Sweet Leaf


Latin name: Symplocos tinctoria


Family: Symplocaceae (Sweetleaf Family)



Medicinal use of Sweet Leaf:

The bitter, aromatic roots have been used as a tonic. A decoction of the scraped roots has been used in the treatment of fevers.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Evergreen
Shrub

Height:
8 m
(26 feet)

Flovering:
May


Scent:
Scented
Shrub

Habitat of the herb:

Woods, swamps and bottomlands. Rich moist soils, often in the shade of dense forests.

Edible parts of Sweet Leaf:

Leaves - raw. Thick and downy, they have a pleasant sweet smell and taste. Chewed for their pleasantly sweet, slightly acid flavour that is refreshing and helps to ease thirst.

Other uses of the herb:

A yellow dye is obtained from the leaves, the bark and the fruits. We have no specific information for this species but many species in this genus contain alum and can be used as mordants when dyeing. Wood - soft, weak, light, close grained, easily worked. It weighs 33lb per cubic foot. Used for turnery.

Propagation of Sweet Leaf:

Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Stored seed requires stratification and is best sown in a cold frame in late winter, it can take 12 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the cold frame for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 7 - 10cm with a heel, July/August in individual pots in a cold frame. Roots are formed in about 4 weeks. Good percentage.

Cultivation of the herb:

Woods, swamps and bottomlands. Rich moist soils, often in the shade of dense forests.

Known hazards of Symplocos tinctoria:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.