Sunday 16 July 2017


These unassuming leaves belong to a Corkwood Duboisia myoporoides tree that I photographed in Ravensborne National Park, close to where I grew up in Australia. The tree was used in traditional Aboriginal medicine, but the knowledge of what it treated was almost lost. Luckily, modern science picked up on the qualities of the plant and now it is grown for the commercial extraction of hyosine, a muscle relaxant used to treat stomach problems, the side effects of cancer treatments and eye trauma. It is also effective against travel sickness. Beware though, hyosine is produced by the plant to protect itself, and in the quantities present in the leaves and berries make them toxic if ingested.

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