Friday, June 13, 2014

The mystery of the Mercurochrome tree

I recall a tree during my high school days at NOHS. It had wide leaves which when pressed exuded a red stain. They called it Mercurochrome tree. Several years later after I put up a facebook group on plants and flowers, I was amazed that there was no online reference at all regarding "Mercurochrome" tree. This common name is said to be in use in Ilonggo regions such as Negros and Panay and this common name was even said to be in use in Laguna and Batangas. Here is a photo of the tree taken at Bacolod City Plaza, some old folks selling refreshements even mentioned that they are native and have medical uses.

I thought it was a caramanga tree but the leaf pattern was a little different. I posted a query on another facebook group and was relieved that it was soon identified as a tectona Grandis. This teak species is not actually native to the Philippines but was introduced. The real native teak is tectona philippinensis and will be posted shortly in this blog.

For medical uses, please click on the stuartxchange reference in the entry page. Needless to say, there was an old antiseptic medicine with the same common name Mercurochrome. this was banned by the FDA of the USA after scientific studies of its safety.

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