Botanical name: Cocculus laurifolius Family: Menispermaceae (Moonseed family)
Synonyms: Cinnamomum esquirolii
Laurel-Leaved Snail Tree is a shrub or small tree with channelled, slightly angular, hairless branches. Leaf-stalks usually less than 1 cm, hairless. Leaves are elliptic, ovate, or long elliptic to lanceshaped-elliptic, rarely oblanceolate, 4-15 x 1.5-5 cm, thinly leathery, both surfaces smooth and glossy, base wedge-shaped or narrow, tip pointed and attenuate, palmately 3-veined. Flowers are borne in cymose or thyrsoid inflorescence, 1-5 cm long, in leaf axils. Color of leaves are medium green with a fall color of poor yellow green. Flowers are showy white with yellow spots in the spring. Fruit is an elongated capsule that starts out green and turns brown in the fall. It can be 8 to 20 inches in length. It is native to Japan and China.
Medicinal uses: An alkaloid in the bark has a muscle-relaxing effect, similar to that of curare. The plant has also been used as a diuretic and as a vermifuge. Cocculus laurifolius is grown as a slow-growing ornamental tree in the United States.
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