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Stem, bark: tonic, aphrodisiac.
This fascinating rare plant with white, strongly perfumed flowers is valued as a fast growing, impressive ornamental shade tree.
Popularly known as Devil Tree, as plant is believed to the devil's abode - probably due to the intoxicating fragrance emitted by flowering trees, especially at night.
The tree is of great cultural significance in the intellectual circle, as traditionally its leaves were awarded to scholars and teachers during convocation ceremonies by the Visva Bharati University (can't think of a better name than Alstonia scholaris!). This tradition was started by Rabindranath Tagore.
Medium shrub, clusters of white flowers.
The indole alkaloid venenatine exhibited antifungal activity against some plant pathogenic and saprophytic fungi. The Tantra-cult in India utilises the seeds of Alstonia venenata as an aphrodisiac and stimulant in their tantric sex rituals.
Many hybrids and about 190 cultivars have been developed, with different markings and colors, ranging from white, golden yellow, orange, to apricot, pink, red, purple and lavender. Alstroemeria leaves are 'resupinate' which means they grow upside down, with the leaf twisting as it grows out from the stem so that the bottom faces upwards.
Excellent in garden containers and in flowerbeds and borders. They also make good cut flowers with an exceptionally long vase life.
Provide a sunny location in areas with cool summers, but in Florida and other hot summer regions, plant in shade.