Metopium brownei

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Metopium brownei
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus: Metopium
Species: M. brownei
Binomial name
Metopium brownei
Roxb.

Metopium brownei (also known as Chechem or Black Poisonwood) is a species of plant in the Anacardiaceae family. It is found in the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Jamaica, northern Guatemala, Belize, and from the Yucatán to Veracruz in Mexico. The wood of this tree is a valuable source of lumber in Central America and the West Indies. Like its cousin Florida Poisonwood (Metopium toxiferum), it produces urushiol in its bark, which can cause contact dermititis on one's skin when touched; therefore live trees and fresh cut logs should be handled carefully.

A known antidote in Belize and Guatemala is the gumbo-limbo tree, of which the wood sap just under the bark is used topically, and a red tea made from boiling the gumbo-limbo leaves is then used several times a day as a wash or salve to alleviate itching and speed recovery/healing.

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