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a genus of dioecious and monoecious plants of the family Euphorbiaeeae. The plants are shrubs or small trees with biserial or alternate entire leaves. The unisexual, axillary flowers are solitary or in clusters. The perianth is simple and consists of five or six sepals. The fruit is a dehiscent capsule. There are about 25 species, distributed in the Mediterranean region and in the temperate and subtropical regions of Asia, Africa, and South America. The USSR has one species, S. suffruticosa, which grows in Eastern Siberia (Trans-Baikal region) and the southern Far East.
The leaves and young shoots of S. suffruticosa contain the alkaloid securinine, which excites the central nervous system in a fashion similar to strychnine. It is used to treat various types of motor disturbances, especially the sequelae of poliomyelitis, paralyses associated with decreased irritability of the neuroreflex spinal apparatus, vascular insufficiency, and certain other pathological states.
S. suffruticosa is cultivated as a medicinal plant in the Ukrainian SSR, Moldavia, and the Northern Caucasus. The soil is plowed to depths of 27–30 cm; in chernozems the plowing depth is usually increased to 40 cm. On podzols organic fertilizers, ammonium nitrate, and superphosphate are usually applied during plowing. It is recommended that only inorganic fertilizers be used on chernozems. In the spring seeds are sown or seedlings are set out. The crop is planted in rows or in square hills, with preliminary marking of the area in two directions. One- or two-year-old plants are used for setting out.
REFERENCESLekarstvennye rasteniia SSSR (kul’tiviruemye i dikorastushehie). Edited by A. A. Khotin et al. Moscow, 1967.
Turova, A. D. Lekarstvennye rasteniia SSSR i ikh primenenie. Moscow, 1967.