Guaiacum officinale is an evergreen Tree growing to 10 m (32ft) by 10 m (32ft) at a slow rate. It is hardy to zone (UK) Suitable for: light (sandy), medium. Guaiac is a natural resin extracted from the wood of the Guaiacum officinale plant . The basis of the test depends on the presence of the heme moiety from the. Synonyms, Guajacum officinale L. Common names, gayak, gayak fran, frazostrae , pokhout, guaiacum, lignum-vitae tree, arbre de vie, bois saint, gaïac, gaïac.

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Guaiacum officinale is one of two species yielding the odficinale lignum vitaethe other being Guaiacum sanctum. This is a QR code short for Ifficinale Response which gives fast-track access to our website pages.

Plants are very tolerant of salt-laden winds[ ]. Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. A plant of the moist, lowland tropics, where it is found at elevations up to metres. America – Colombia, Venezuela, the Guyanas to the Caribbean. It can be killed by temperatures of 1? Tolerant of moderate levels of salt in the soil[ ]. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.

Both resin and the wood possess stimulant, diaphoretic, and alterative properties, though the resin has a much stronger action[ ]. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Listed as Endangered EN C2a v2.

As the older blooms fade from deep blue to paler shades, some becoming almost white, a striking variegation of colour is produced.


Guaiacum officinale is the national flower of Jamaica. The blue flowers have five petals that yield a bright-yellow-orange fruit with red flesh and black seeds.

The resin is also used medicinally for chronic forms of rheumatism, skin diseases, scrofula, dysmenorrhea, toothache, etc. The dense crown of close-growing foliage gives the tree a rounded, compact, net appearance. The wood is used for pulleys, blocks, pestles, rulers, skittle ball etc[ ].

Roughbark lignum-vitae was listed as an endangered species by the IUCN in It is hardy to zone UK The resin sometimes flows spontaneously from the stem of the tree; at other times, it is obtained artificially by jagging or notching the stem and allowing the exuding juice to harden, or by boring holes in logs of the wood and then placing them on a fire so that the resin is melted and runs through the hole, or by boiling chips in salt and water, when the resin floats on the surface of the water[ ].

An extremely valuable timber is obtained from the tree.

Prefers a pH in the range 5 – 7. Joel Abroad Tree growing in native habitat Photograph by: Publisher Government of Jamaica, Kingston. Resin obtained from the wood and bark is used in powder, pill and tincture. International Union for Conservation of Nature. The tree is essentially evergreen throughout most of its native range.

Walker’s Pediatric Gastrointestinal Disease 5th ed. The flowers are blue in color with five petals. The name lignum-vitae wood of life originated from the supposition that the material was possessed of extraordinary remedial powers. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

In other projects Wikimedia Commons Wikispecies. The tree is native to the West Indies, southern Florida, the western coast of Central America, and the northern coast of South America.


Karen General Information Lignum vitae is a small, slow-growing, densely-crowned, evergreen tree growing to a height of 3 – 12 metres.

It is also added to edible oils to prevent acidification[ ].

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It is a useful remedy in the treatment of chronic forms of rheumatism ; also in syphilitic and gouty affections, scrofula, skin diseases, dysmenorrhoea, and other uterine affections[ ]. Leaves, flowers and immature fruits Photograph by: It frequently grows in coastal areas.

Year ISBN Description The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc. By using this site, you offficinale to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

The resin is applied to the tooth for treating a toothache, and also applied externally to bring relief in cases of rheumatism[ ].

Guaiacum officinale

The resin obtained from the tree is used for flavouring cakes and chewing gum[ ]. Established plants are very drought tolerant. Views Read Edit View history. The timber and medicinal resin have been traded for several centuries as officnale, and overexploitation has taken place throughout the species’ range.

The resin from the tree is used for flavoring cakes and chewing gum. Succeeds in a range of fertile, moisture-retentive soils[ ]. You can translate the content of this page by selecting a language in the select box. Publisher Kampong Publications, California. Beautiful blue flowers grow in great profusion and almost cover the tree and remain for a long time.

David Stang Leaves Photograph by: