Polyscias fruticosa, or Ming aralia, is a perennial plant, dicot evergreen shrub or dwarf tree, native to India. The plant grows fairly slowly but can reach up to 1–2 meters in height. The leaves are of a dark green pigment, glossy in texture, and are tripinnate and appear divided. Individual leaves vary from narrowly ovate to lanceolate and are about 10 cm long.

Polyscias fruticosa
Tiliacora triandra on Polyscias fruticosa tree
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Araliaceae
Genus: Polyscias
P. fruticosa
Binomial name
Polyscias fruticosa
(L.) Harms
Polyscias guilfoylei and Polyscias fruticosa

Distribution edit

The Ming aralia is widely cultivated in several countries of Southeast Asia and the tropical islands of the Pacific region. It was originally located in Polynesia and thrives in environments of medium humidity, with temperatures varying from 16 to 29 °C (60–85 °F).

Genus: Polyscias edit

The name Polyscias means many-shaded, in reference to the foliage found on these plants. Their stalks carry compound leaves with up to seven (or more) opposite leaflets. In several species, the leaves are deeply lobed. There are about six species of the genus Polyscias that are actively cultivated. The genus contains a variety of tropical plants, which include about 80 species from the Pacific islands and Southeast Asia.

Family: Araliaceae edit

The family Araliaceae, to which the genus Polyscias, including Ming aralia, belongs, gives rise to a multitude of trees or shrubs that contain gum and resin ducts. As a whole, the family contains plants that have leaves of alternate, palmately or pinnately compound or simple, with stipules. The inflorescences are generally umbellate and often arranged in compound umbels, caouttules, panicles, or races. They possess flowers of smaller size than dioecious plants, which are bisexual or unisexual.

This family also includes a multitude of popular house plants, including English ivy, as well as the herb ginseng. Araliaceae is known as the ginseng family, which is where the traits of the Ming Aralia spice and medical herb originate. Plants of this family can be found throughout the Neotropics, for the greater part in mountainous regions, and much less in the lowlands.

Uses edit

In Thailand, Polyscias fruticosa is called lep khrut (lit. "Garuda claws"). It can be eaten raw, together with a spicy dip, or it can be boiled in curries.[1]

In some Asian countries, the leaves of Polyscias fruticosa are used as a tonic, anti-inflammatory, antitoxin, and an antibacterial ointment. They have also been used to aid digestion. The root is used as a diuretic, febrifuge, anti-dysenteric, and is employed for neuralgia and rheumatic pains. Along with medicinal purposes, Polyscias fruticosa is also used as an ornamental plant and a spice.

In experiments with rodents, root extract of Polyscias fruticosa (Vietnamese= Dinh lang) has been demonstrated to extend life span[2] and improve cognitive function[3]

Sources edit

  • Maas, Paul J.M., and Lubbert Y. Th. Westra. Neotropical Plant Families. 1st ed. Koenigstein, Germany: Koeltz Scientific Books, 1993. Print.
  • Martorell, Luis F., and Liogier. Henri Alain. 1st ed. Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico: Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, 1982. Print.
  • Huan, Vo Duy, and Satoshi Yamamuraa, and Kazuhiro Ohtania, and Ryoji Kasaia, and Kazuo Yamasaki, and Nguyen Thoi Nham, and Hoang Minh Chau. "Oleanane Saponins from Polyscias Fruticosa." Pergamon 47. 3.24 Jun 1997 451–457. Web.30 Apr 2009.
  • Lemke, Cal. "Polyscias fruticosa, Ming Aralia" Plant of the Week. 1 April 2004. University of Oklahoma Department of Botany & Microbiology . 4 May 2009 <http://www.plantoftheweek.org/week253.shtml>.
  • Elbert, George. "Polyscias: "Ming Aralias" and Relatives". Rhapis Gardens. 1988. New York Botanical Garden. 4 May 2009 <http://www.rhapisgardens.com/ming-aralias/>.

References edit

  1. ^ "Ming aralia – Lanna Food | Northern Thai Information Center, Chiang Mai University Library". library.cmu.ac.th. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015.
  2. ^ Yen, T T; Knoll, J (1991). "Extension of lifespan in mice treated with Dinh lang (Policias fruticosum L.) and (-)deprenyl". Acta Physiologica Hungarica. 79 (2): 119–124. PMID 1304677.
  3. ^ "Dinh lang (Polyscias fruticosa)" (PDF).