Lithraea molleoides (syn. Lithraea molleoides var. lorentziana Lillo, Lithraea ternifolia, Schinus brasiliensis Marchand ex Cabrera, Schinus leucocarpus M., Schinus molleoides (Vell.) Engler, Lithraea aroeirinha Marchand ex Warm. Lithraea molleoides at Germplasm Resources Information Network) is a tree (2.5 and 8 m tall) that is native to South America, specially in Argentina, Bolivia, and Cerrado vegetation of Brazil.
This plant is used as a honey plant and medicinal plant in the form of alcoholic extracts, decoctions, and infusions for the treatment of arthritis, bronchitis, cough, and diseases of the digestive system. It is also used as diuretic, hemostatic, tonic agent, and tranquillizer. Furthermore, it has antimicrobial, antiviral, cytotoxic, and immunomodulatory proprieties.
However, the plant is commonly considered as unsuitable to landscaping, as it is a poisonous plant: it produces volatile substances that propagate from touching the leaves, through contact with droplets, or through the tree's pollen. These substances are allergenicCf. Paulo Backes & Bruno Irgang, Mata Atlantica: as arvores e a paisagem, Porto Alegre, Paisagem do Sul, 2004, page 100 and contact with them may produce general allergic sensitivity, skin disease, fever, and visual problems. Shimizu, Mario Tsunezi; Bueno, Leandro de Jesus Franco;Rodrigues, Rosa Fatima Oliveira; Sallowicz, Fabiano Augusto; Sawaya, Alexandra Christine Helena Frankland; Marques, Marcia Ortiz Maio. Essential oil of Lithraea molleoides (Vell.): chemical composition and antimicrobial activity Brazilian Journal of Microbiology vol.37 no.4 Sao Paulo Oct./Dec. 2006. Planting this tree where it can be accessible to the general public is therefore strongly discouraged.
In Uruguay, folk tradition states that people are supposed to salute the tree by changing the time of the day. If somebody encounters the tree during the day, she is supposed to say "Good night, Mrs. Aruera". Similarly, if it is during the night, she should say "Good day, Mrs. Aruera".
List of plants of Cerrado vegetation of Brazil
List of honey plants
Sistema de Informacion de Biodiversidad: Lithraea molleoides
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