Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A genus of gamopetalous plants of the order Rubiaceæ and tribe Gardenieæ. It is characterized by hermaphrodite and axillary flowers, united style-branches bearing a club-shaped or fusiform stigma, a two-celled ovary with many ovules, seeds with membranaceous coats, and short intrapetiolar stipules which are almost connate. There are about 100 species, natives of tropical regions, especially in Asia and Africa. They are trees and shrubs, erect or climbing, with or without thorns, and bearing opposite leaves which are obovate or narrower, and either small or large flowers, which are solitary or in clusters, and white or yellow, rarely red. The fruit is a many-seeded, two-celled roundish berry, yielding a blue dye in the West Indian species, as R. aculeata, known as indigo-berry and inkberry. These species also furnish a valuable wood, used for cask-staves, ladders, etc. R. dumetorum, a small thorny tree, widely distributed from Africa to Java, is used as a hedge-plant in India, while its fruit, called
emetic nut, is there a current drug, said also, like Cocculus Indicus, to have the property of stupefying fish.
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