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Dictamnus

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Template:Italic title Template:Taxobox Dictamnus is a genus of flowering plant in the family Rutaceae, with a single species, Dictamnus albus, which has several geographical variants.<ref name=RHSAZ>Template:Cite book</ref> It is also known as burning bush,<ref name=GRIN>Template:Citation</ref> dittany,<ref name=GRIN/> gas plant,<ref name=GRIN/> and fraxinella.<ref name=GRIN/> It is an herbaceous perennial, native to warm, open woodland habitats in southern Europe, north Africa and much of Asia.

Contents

Description

This plant grows about Template:Convert to Template:Convert high. Its flowers form a loose pyramidal spike and vary in colour from pale purple to white. The flowers are five-petalled with long projecting stamens. The leaves resemble those of an ash tree.<ref name=RHSAZ></ref>

Volatile oils

In the summer months, the whole plant is covered with a kind of flammable substance, which is gluey to the touch, and has a very fragrant, lemony aroma; but if it takes fire, it goes off with a flash all over the plant. The name "burning bush" derives from the volatile oils produced by the plant, which can catch fire readily in hot weather, leading to comparisons with the burning bush of the Bible, including the suggestion that this is the plant involved there. The daughter of Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus is said to have ignited the air once, at the end of a particularly hot, windless summer day, above Dictamnus plants, using a simple matchstick. The volatile oils have a reputed component of isoprene.

Cultivation

Numerous varieties and cultivars have been selected for garden use. The variety D. albus var. purpureus (purple flowered dittany) has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Toxicity

The plant is inedible: the leaves have a bitter and unpalatable taste. Despite the lemon-like smell, the plant is acrid when eaten. All parts of the plant may cause mild stomach upset if eaten, and contact with the foliage may cause photodermatitis.<ref name=RHSAZ></ref>

Chemistry

More than 100 chemical constituents have been isolated from the genus Dictamnus, including alkaloids, limonoid triterpenoids, flavonoids, sesquiterpenoids, coumarins, and phenylpropane.<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref>

Gallery

References

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External links

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  • This page was last modified on 27 July 2015, at 10:13.
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