Cinchona officinalis

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Quinine bark
Cinchona officinalis (Köhler).jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Rubiaceae
Genus: Cinchona
Species: C. officinalis
Binomial name
Cinchona officinalis

Cinchona officinalis is a South American tree in the Rubiaceae family. It is native to wet montane forests in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, between 1600–2700 meters above sea level.[1][2]


Cinchona officinalis is a shrub or tree with rugose bark and branchlets covered in minute hairs. Stipules lanceolate or oblong, acute or obtuse, glabrous. Leaves lanceolate to elliptic or ovate, usually about 10 cm. long and 3.5–4 cm. wide; acute, acuminate, or obtuse tip; base rounded to attenuate; coriaceous, glabrous above and often lustrous; glabrous beneath or puberulent or short-pilose, especially on the veins. Inflorescences in terminal panicles, many-flowered; hypanthium with short coarse hairs; reddish calyx, glabrous or nearly so, with triangular lobes; pink or red corolla, sericeous, the lobes ovate, acute, the corolla tube being about 1 cm. long. Fruit and oblong capsule, 1.5–2 cm. long, almost glabrous.[1][3]

Vernacular names[edit]

English: quinine, red cinchona, cinchona bark, Jesuit’s bark, loxa bark, Jesuit’s powder, countess powder, Peruvian bark.[4][5]

Spanish: quina, cascarilla, cargua cargua, corteza coja.[4][6]


Cinchona officinalis is a medicinal plant, one of several Cinchona species used for the production of quinine, which is an anti-fever agent. It is especially useful in the prevention and treatment of malaria. Other alkaloids that are extracted from this tree include cinchonine, cinchonidine and quinidine.[4]


  1. ^ a b Standley, Paul C. (1936). "Rubiaceae". In Macbride, J.F. Flora of Peru. 13. Field Museum of Natural History. pp. 30–31. 
  2. ^ "Tropicos | Name - !Cinchona officinalis L". Retrieved 2015-12-20. 
  3. ^ Standley, Paul C. (1931). "The Rubiaceae of Ecuador". Botanical Series. Field Museum of Natural History. VII (2): 197–198. 
  4. ^ a b c Duke, J.A. (2009). Duke’s handbook of medicinal plants of Latin America. CRC Press. pp. 212–214. ISBN 978-1-42-004317-4. 
  5. ^ Quattrocchi, Umberto (2012). CRC World Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants. CRC Press. pp. 951–952. ISBN 978-1-42-008044-5. 
  6. ^ Grandtner, M.M.; Chevrette, Julien (2013). Dictionary of Trees, Volume 2: South America: Nomenclature, Taxonomy and Ecology. Academic Press. p. 133. ISBN 9780123969545. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Cinchona officinalis at Wikimedia Commons