Rhamnus chlorophora Decne.
Rhamnus meyeri C.K.Schneid.
Rhamnus globosa is a spiny, deciduous shrub, occasionally becoming more tree-like; it can grow 2 - 4 metres tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a source of oil and a dyestuff. This species is one of the sources of 'Chinese green indigo', a dyestuff that was highly valued prior to the introduction of synthetic dyes. It was often cultivated, both in China and then in Europe, and is still grown on a small scale[
]. The plant has ornamental potential and can be grown as a thorny hedge.
Species in this genus contain hydroxyanthracene derivatives which have a stimulant laxative effect upon the body, and many species are used traditionally as laxatives. In small doses, and for short periods, these can be safe and effective, but used over long periods they can weaken the body's natural ability to defecate and can have a range of long-lasting negative effects upon the body, including anaemia, malabsorption, haematuria and weight loss. Large single doses can cause severe purging.
E. Asia - central and eastern China (Anhui, Gansu, Hebei, Henan, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Liaoning, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Zhejiang).
On slopes, in the understories of forests or in thickets; at elevations up to 1,600 metres[
|Other Uses Rating
Succeeds in any reasonably good soil[
The species in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[
A green dye obtained from the plant is used as a food colouring.
The plant can be used to make a thorny hedge
The flowers are a good source of nectar for bees[
A green dye is obtained from the leaves[
]. It is obtained from the bark[
]. The stem-bark, fruit and roots can be used for making a green dyestuff[
All the species of Rhamnus contain a mixture of compounds (mainly rhamnetin, quercitin and rhamnazin) that make a range of good quality dyes. The colour and its intensity depend upon what part of the plant is used as dyeing material (leaves, fruits and bark are most commonly used), at what period of growth it is collected and in what state it is used. With the use of the corresponding mordants (alum, copper and iron vitriols, tin dioxide, chromium, etc.) it is possible to obtain virtually the entire spectrum of colours from lemon-yellow to purple and dark cinnamon-brown, from olive-green to intensive blue and violet[
The dye extracts obtained from the bark, leaves and fruits are suitable for dyeing cottons, silks, woollens, leather, paper and wood. These dyes are often exceptional for their fastness[
A lubricating oil can be extracted from the seeds[
Seed - best sown in the autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed will require 1 - 2 months cold stratification at about 5° and should be sown as early in the year as possible in a cold frame or outdoor seedbed[
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle, and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, mid summer in a frame[
Cuttings of mature wood of the current year's growth, autumn in a frame.
Layering in early spring[