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Family Thymeliaceae
Wikstroemia ovata C. A. Mey


Scientific names  Common names
Wikstroemia ovata C. A. Mey. ex Meisn. Aradon (Ilk.)
  Dapnit (Bon.)
  Huka (Ifugao)
  Salago (Tag.)
  Sula (Bon.)
  Bootlace bush (Engl.)
  Round-leaf salago (Engl.)
Wikstroemia ovata C.A. Mey. ex Meisn. is an accepted name. No synonyms are recorded for the name. The Plant List

Salago is a shrub with a tough bark, growing to a height of 1 to 3 meters. Leaves are opposite, ovate, 5 to 10 centimeters long, 3 to 4 centimeters wide, pointed at the apex, rounded at the base. Flowers are yellow, tubular, about 1.5 centimeters long, borne in small clusters. Fruit is subglobose, 5 to 8 millimeters thick, shining, and yellowish-red, containing a solitary large seed enclosed by a fleshy skin.

- In thickets and primary or secondary forests, at low and medium altitudes in Bontoc, Benguet, Bulacan, Bataan, Rizal, Laguna, Batangas, and Sorsogon Provinces in Luzon, and in Negros and Mindanao.
- Also reported in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Parts utilized
Leaves, bark.

- The leaves yield a volatile oil and resin.
- Studies have yielded glucosides, saponins, and the absence of alkaloids or cynogenetic substances.

- Leaves considered emeto-cathartic and laxative.

- Chewing and swallowing one or two leaves provide a laxative and purgative effect, three to four leaves result in drastic watery stools. Pills made from leaf extracts may be used in lieu of imported cathartic pills.
- Fresh bark or branches of the plant are tied about the neck for mumps and to relieve bronchial catarrh.
(Photo Insert)
Fiber: Source of durable fiber. Stem can be made into ropes by pounding the wet bark; also used for making G-strings and tapis.
Paper: Also used as fiber constituent to strengthen paper products. Fibers extracted from the bark are used in the manufacture of high grade paper used in bank notes, cheques, and specialty papers requiring strength and durability. Four species of its genus known for its quality fibers are: small leaf salago (W. indica), lance leaf (W. lanceolata), large leaf salago (W. meyeniana) and round leaf salago (W. ovata).

Chemotaxonomy: Study divides the species into two groups based on morphological characteristics: length of petioles, leaves and shape of the fruit with no differences in sex, location and location time. (1)
Cathartic Effects: Therapeutic cathartic effects were set between one to four leaves. Effects were intensified in two to three hours, subsiding in 10 to 16 hours. Undesirable side effects of abdominal pain and tenesmus were not significantly mitigated by therapeutic doses of belladona.



Updated April 2018 / July 2015

Photos ©Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Chemotaxonomic studies of Hawaiian Wikstroemia / Samta Gupta and G. W. Gille / Economic Botany / Volume 23, Number 1 / January, 1969 / DOI 10.1007/BF02862968
Underutilized Plant Resources in Tinoc, Ifugao, Cordillera Administrative Region, Luzon Island, Philippines / Teodora D. Balangcod and Ashlyn Kim Balangcod /
Non-Wood Forest Products in 15 Countries of Tropical Asia: An Overview / EC-FAO PARTNERSHIP PROGRAMME / 2000-2002
The cathartic effects in man of the leaves of Wikstroemia ovata Meyer (salago leaves) / 1933 CITATION: Philippine J Sci, 51(), 485-494 [English] / FDA Poisonous Plant Database / US FDA
Wikstroemia ovata C.A. Mey. ex Meisn. / Synonyms / The Plant List

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page.

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