quassia

quassia

[kwosh-uh, -ee-uh]
noun
1.
a shrub or small tree, Quassia amara, of tropical America, having pinnate leaves, showy red flowers, and wood with a bitter taste. Compare quassia family.
2.
any of several other trees having bitter-tasting wood.
3.
Also called bitterwood. Chemistry, Pharmacology. a prepared form of the heartwood of any of these trees, used as an insecticide and in medicine as a tonic to dispel intestinal worms.

Origin:
1755–65; < Neo-Latin, named after Quassi, 18th-century slave in Dutch Guiana who discovered its medicinal properties; see -ia

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World English Dictionary
quassia (ˈkwɒʃə)
 
n
1.  any tree of the tropical American simaroubaceous genus Quassia, having bitter bark and wood
2.  the bark and wood of Quassia amara and of a related tree, Picrasma excelsa, used in furniture making
3.  a bitter compound extracted from this bark and wood, formerly used as a tonic and anthelmintic, now used in insecticides
 
[C18: from New Latin, named after Graman Quassi, a slave who discovered (1730) the medicinal value of the root]

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