Hamish Sloan
Fri, 14 Feb 2003 04:18:11 PST
Kelly wrote
"I've not heard of quassia wood before so wouldn't even begin to know where 
to search for it. Does it have another name?"

Also known as Bitterwood. May be the wood of Picroena excelsa (Jamaican 
quassia tree) or of Quassia amara (Surinam quassia tree).
Both are from West Indies and northern parts of South America.

The Jamaica tree is also known as Bitter Ash as its leaves resemble the 
common Ash. Yellow, lightweight, tough, dense wood. Odourless with an 
intensely bitter taste.
Imported mostly as chips for the production of its extract which is used in 
medicine as a bitter tonic. Once widely used in flypapers and in stockfeed 
tonics for cattle. In the tropics, the wood is used for furniture as it has 
a natural resistance to insects. The Surinam quassia is a darker, more 
dense, harder wood with otherwise similar properties.

I haven't seen quassia wood chips for sale over here for some time. It used 
to be a fairly common constituent of children's chemistry sets. It may be 
available as the extract through a pharmacist. Might be worth asking any of 
your friends in the medical or veterinary professions if it is still used 
by them.

Regards Hamish

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