Eucommia (Eucommia ulmoides) is a small tree native to China. It is near threatened in the wild, but is widely cultivated in China for its bark, highly valued in herbology such as Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).
Eucommia is the sole member of the family Eucommiaceae, and was formerly considered to be a separate order, the Eucommiales. It is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in Chinese herbology, where it is called dùzhòng (Chinese: 杜仲).
Eucommia grows to about 15 m tall. The leaves are deciduous, arranged alternately, simple ovate with an acuminate tip, 8–16 cm long, and with a serrated margin. If a leaf is torn across, strands of latex exuded from the leaf veins solidify into rubber and hold the two parts of the leaf together. It flowers from March to May. The flowers are inconspicuous, small and greenish; the fruit, June to November, is a winged samara with one seed, very similar to an elm samara in appearance, 2–3 cm long and 1–2 cm broad.
The bark is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat lower back pain, aching knees, and to prevent miscarriage. Also used to "tonify" the Yang.
See Also: flora, online flowers, flower arrangement