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(Mustard Tree family)


12 species in three genera are found in dry hot regions, particularly on the coasts of Africa and Asia.

[Summary yet to be added]

Azima tetracantha Lam.
[syns Azima spinosissima Engl., Monetia barlerioides L'Hér.]
Beehanger, Bee Sting Bush, Fire Thorn, Needle Bush

[Information available but not yet included in database]

Salvadora oleoides Decne.
[syn. Salvadora stocksii Wight]

The bruised root-bark has a vesicant effect and the sweet fruit, which is eaten in Northern India, irritates the mouth producing tingling and ulceration (Behl et al. 1966). The seeds contain a thioglucoside, glucotropaeolin, related to mustard oils of Cruciferae (Kjær 1960).

Salvadora persica L.
Miswak, Mustard Tree, Toothbrush Tree, Saltbush

On a hot, sunny day the plant gives off an acrid odour. The leaves taste like mustard (Menninger 1967). This species has been thought by some, probably erroneously, to be the mustard of the Bible. A paste of the powdered root is used like a "mustard plaster" for an irritant effect and can produce vesication (Watt & Breyer-Brandwijk 1962, Behl et al. 1966).


  • Behl PN, Captain RM, Bedi BMS, Gupta S (1966) Skin-Irritant and Sensitizing Plants Found in India. New Delhi: PN Behl [WorldCat]
  • Kjær A (1960) Naturally derived isothiocyanates (mustard oils) and their parent glucosides. In: Zechmeister L (Ed.) Fortschritte der Chemie Organischer Naturstoffe / Progress in the Chemistry of Organic Natural Products / Progrés dans la Chimie des Substances Organiques Naturelles, Vol. 18, pp. 122-176. Vienna: Springer-Verlag [doi] [WorldCat] [url]
  • Menninger EA (1967) Fantastic Trees. New York: Viking Press [WorldCat] [url]
  • Watt JM, Breyer-Brandwijk MG (1962) The Medicinal and Poisonous Plants of Southern and Eastern Africa. Being an account of their medicinal and other uses, chemical composition, pharmacological effects and toxicology in man and animal, 2nd edn. Edinburgh: E & S Livingstone [doi] [WorldCat] [url] [url-2]

Richard J. Schmidt

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