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Upas Tree

bark, wood and sap

UPAS TREE, a Javanese tree (Antiaris tosicaria), celebrated for its poisonous quali ties, which, however, have been very much exaggerated. It was long believed in Europe that this tree was a solitary one Situated in a valley in Java, that the pestilential qualities of, it were so great that neither herb nor animal could live within many miles of it, and that criminals alone were sent to gather poison from it, few of whom ever returned. Javanese themselves dread this tree, and will not rest beneath it, or even pass to leeward of it. The upas tree belongs to the and the stem rises for, about 60 feet before the first branch puts out. The wood itself is harm less, being used for. furniture, but the bark, which is whitish, and nearly an inch thick, when wounded, exudes a viscid, milky yellowish sap, which becomes brown upon exposure and hardening into gum. From this sap, when mixed with the seeds of capsicum and other substances,, a deadly arrow-poison . is made,

Which is at first purgative and emetic in its efforts, and then narcotic, finally killing the victim by tetanic convulsions. It is called upas antiar. When the tree is felled, or the bark is much injured, 'the tree out noxious ex halations which will cause cutaneous eruptions, and if the tree be burned the smoke from it will produce the same remit. A variety is the sack tree. It has a bark, pieces of which, when soaked and beaten, can be turned inside out without tearing, and, a section of the wood having been left for a bottom, can be used as a sack. It is said that a kind of coarse cloth is made from the fibrous inner bark of the upas tree, and is worn by poor people, but that if wetted it excites an intolerable itching of the wearer's skin, ,