Storax, Styrax officinalis

tree of the family Styraceae (Storax, Halesia)

Etymology: "officinalis" alludes to the curative properties of the exudate of the bark.
Origin: a hundred of species are native to America, North and South, from Asia and one of Europe.
Habitat: Storax fits well on humid soils, sheltered from the wind.
Lifespan: 120 years.
Height: 7 m (other species attain 15 m).
Shape: globose crown.
Bark: grey, smooth.
Deciduous foliage. Oval leaf, base sometimes cordate, pubescent on both faces. 5-9 cm long.
Flowers in May-June, white, pendulous abundant, small.
Fruits: protruding drupes of 2 cm, calyx persistent and becoming woody.
Use: Pline points out that the Arabs used Storax to dispel the snakes of the odoriferous maquis before the harvest of their incenses. The exudate of the bark or "Storax" was used by the monks in the Carthusian monastery of Montrieux (Var) and also in the vicinity of Rome in the XVIth century, principally for its curative virtues.


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