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Euphorbia pekinensis - Rupr.

Da Ji

AuthorRupr. Botanical references58, 275
FamilyEuphorbiaceae GenusEuphorbia
Synonyms
Known Hazardswarning signThe sap contains a latex which is toxic on ingestion and highly irritant externally, causing photosensitive skin reactions and severe inflammation, especially on contact with eyes or open cuts. The toxicity can remain high even in dried plant material[200]. Prolonged and regular contact with the sap is inadvisable because of its carcinogenic nature[214].
RangeE. Asia - China, Japan, Korea, Manchuria.
HabitatGrassy places in lowland and mountains, C. and S. Japan[58].
Edibility Rating 0 (1-5) Medicinal Ratingapple iconapple iconapple icon 3 (1-5)

Physical Characteristics

icon of man icon of perennial/biennial/annual Perennial growing to 0.6m.
It is hardy to zone 0. It is in flower from May to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil.

Habitats

Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antibacterial; Diuretic; Purgative; Vasodilator.

Da Ji is classified as a toxic herb in Chinese medicine and so is only prescribed for relatively serious diseases[254]. It is considered to be one of the 50 fundamental herbs[218] and is used as a cathartic to purge excess fluids in conditions such as pleurisy and ascites and for the treatment of kidney problems, especially nephritis[254]. Research has shown that it is therapeutically useful in the treatment of ascites and nephritis, but it does produce significant side-effects[254]. It should only be used under the supervision of a qualified herbalist[254]. The root is antibacterial, diuretic, emetic, emmenagogue, purgative and vasodilator[176, 218, 238]. It is used in the treatment of oedema, fullness of the chest, sticky sputum, epilepsy, carbuncle and tubercle[176]. When used in conjunction with liquorice (Glycyrrhiza species) the diuretic and purgative actions are inhibited[176]. Another report says that the plant is incompatible with liquorice because it neutralizes their medicinal effects[254]. Externally, it is applied to inflamed sores to reduce swelling[254].

Other Uses

None known

Cultivation details

We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in most parts of this country. It is a polymorphic species[58]. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Prefers a light well-drained moderately rich loam in an open position[200]. Succeeds in dry soils[1]. Hybridizes with other members of this genus[200]. The ripe seed is released explosively from the seed capsules[200]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits[233]. This genus has been singled out as a potential source of latex (for making rubber) for the temperate zone, although no individual species has been singled out[141].

Propagation

Seed - sow 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 at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.

Links

References

[1] F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press 1951
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).

[58] Ohwi. G. Flora of Japan. (English translation) Smithsonian Institution 1965
The standard work. Brilliant, but not for the casual reader.

[141] Carruthers. S. P. (Editor) Alternative Enterprises for Agriculture in the UK. Centre for Agricultural Strategy, Univ. of Reading 1986 ISBN 0704909820
Some suggested alternative commercial crops for Britain. Readable. Produced by a University study group.

[176] Yeung. Him-Che. Handbook of Chinese Herbs and Formulas. Institute of Chinese Medicine, Los Angeles 1985
An excellent Chinese herbal giving information on over 500 species. Rather technical and probably best suited to the more accomplished user of herbs.

[200] Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press 1992 ISBN 0-333-47494-5
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

[214] Matthews. V. The New Plantsman. Volume 1, 1994. Royal Horticultural Society 1994 ISBN 1352-4186
A quarterly magazine, it has articles on Himalayacalamus hookerianus, hardy Euphorbias and an excellent article on Hippophae spp.

[218] Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. 1985 ISBN 0-917256-20-4
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.

[233] Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants J. M. Dent & Sons, London. 1990 ISBN 0 460 86048 8
A concise guide to a wide range of perennials. Lots of cultivation guides, very little on plant uses.

[238] Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. 1995 ISBN 0-7513-020-31
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.

[254] Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London 1996 ISBN 9-780751-303148
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.

[275] Flora of Japan 0
An on-line version of the flora - an excellent resource.

Readers Comments

Plants for a Future does not verify the accuracy of reader comments, use at your own risk. In particular Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. You should always consult a professional before using plants medicinally.

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