Drimys winteri (Wintera Aromatica.) Winter's Bark.
Nat. Ord. — Magnoliaceae. Sex. Syst. — Polyandria Tetragynia.
Description. — This is a very large, evergreen, aromatic tree, varying in size from six to fifty feet high. The bark of the trunk is gray and wrinkled, and that of the branches smooth and green. The branches are somewhat erect, and scarred by the traces of fallen leaves. The leaves are alternate, oblong, obtuse, entire, quite smooth, shining, somewhat coriaceous, of a deep-green color above, pale-bluish beneath, with two caducous stipules at their base, and standing on short petioles. The flowers are small, sometimes solitary, frequently in clusters of three or four, and on short peduncles, which are either simple or divided a little above the base into long pedicels. The sepals are two or three, green, thick, coriaceous, and persistent. The corolla, consists of seven white, obtuse, concave, erect, very caducous petals. The filaments are numerous, shorter than the petals, and support large, oval anthers, longitudinally divided by a deep fissure. The ovary is formed of from four to eight carpels, and is surrounded by a sessile stigma. The fruit is a thick, fleshy, ovate berry, containing many seeds.
History. — This is a very large, evergreen tree, a native of Terra del Fuego, and the southern parts of South America, and takes its name from its discoverer, Captain Winter. The bark of the tree is the part employed. It is in quills or rolled pieces of some length, of different widths and thicknesses ; of a pale-yellowish, or dull reddish-gray, with darker spots externally, and of a dark-cinnamon color internally. The odor is aromatic, and the taste warm, pungent, and spicy. It contains tannic acid and oxide of iron, which serve to distinguish it from canella alba, with which it is often confounded.
Properties and Uses. — Stimulant, aromatic, and tonic, and may be employed in all cases in which the Canella and Cinnamon are indicated It was highly recommended by its discoverer as an antiscorbutic. The dose of the powder is about half a drachm. It is seldom used in this country. Another species growing in Chili, Drymis Chilensis, yields a bark possessing analogous virtues.