ALAINN: “BEAUTIFUL, FINE, LOVELY”. (IRISH) OLD IRISH ÁLAIND‎

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(Skimmia laureola)

Shrub
S. melanocarpa. Reh.&Wils. Limonia laureola.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Skimmia laureola
Rutaceae

An essential oil in the leaves is used in scenting soap[61, 240, 272]. The dried leaves are used as an incense[61, 145, 211]. The fresh leaves are used to make garlands for weddings[211].

Plants can be grown as a ground cover when planted about 1 metre apart each way[208].

Wod – used to make handles of small farming implements such as hoes and axes[272].

  • Medicinal Use

    The leaves are used in the treatment of smallpox[240]. The smoke produced by burning them is said to purify the air[240].

  • Edible Use

    Leaves – cooked. Used as a condiment[272]. The strongly aromatic leaves are used in curries or as a flavouring for other foods[146, 177, 183].

  • Cautionary Notes

    A poisonous alkaloid called 'skimmianin' is found in all parts of the related S. japonica, it is probably also present in this species[211].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – can be sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[K]. It also succeeds when sown in early spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a shady position in the cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. If there is sufficient seed then it can be sown can be in an outdoor seedbed in early spring[200]. Grow the plants on in the seedbed for a couple of years before planting them out in late autumn or early spring. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a cold frame[11]. Cuttings of nearly mature side shoots, 7 – 10cm with a heel, September in a cold frame. Slow to root, they should be left for 18 months before moving to their permanent positions. Good percentage[78]. Layering in autumn. Takes 18 months. Good to high percentage[78].
Succeeds in a well-drained open loam or in a peaty soil in a sunny position[1]. Probably flowers well in the shade[11]. Plants are very tolerant of atmospheric pollution, being unharmed by deposits of soot or a sulphur-laden atmosphere[245]. This species is not very frost-hardy and so is rather tender in much of Britain[1]. The flowers are sweetly scented[184]. The small yellow flowers are oppressively scented, giving a somewhat unpleasant smell near to, though agreeable at a distance[245]. The bruised leaves are strongly aromatic[245]. The plant is superficially similar to Daphne cannabina and is often mistaken for that species[211]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
E. Asia – N.W. Himalayas to N. China.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.