|Viburnum tinus by L. By Jacob van Huysum|
Viburnum tinus (Laurustinus, laurustinus viburnum, or laurestine) is a species of flowering plant in the family Adoxaceae, native to the Mediterranean area of Europe and North Africa. Laurus signifies the leaves' similarities to bay laurel.
It is a shrub (rarely a small tree) reaching 2–7 m (7–23 ft) tall and 3 m (10 ft) broad, with a dense, rounded crown. The leaves are evergreen, persisting 2–3 years, ovate to elliptic, borne in opposite pairs, 4–10 cm long and 2–4 cm broad, with an entire margin. The flowers are small, white or light pink, produced from reddish-pink buds in dense cymes 5–10 cm diameter in the winter. The fragrant flowers are bisexual and pentamerous. The flowering period is from October to June. Pollination is by insects. The fruit is a dark blue-black drupe 5–7 mm long.
There are three subspecies:
- Viburnum tinus subsp. tinus. Mediterranean region.
- Viburnum tinus subsp. rigidum (syn. V. rigidum). Canary Islands.
- Viburnum tinus subsp. subcordatum. Azores.
It grows mainly in the Mediterranean maquis and in oak forests. It prefers shady, moist areas, at an altitude of 0–800 metres (0–2,625 ft) above sea level.
Viburnum tinus is a popular evergreen shrub widely cultivated for its winter flowering habit in regions with mild winters. Several cultivars have been introduced by the horticultural trade; mostly these are similar to the species, but with subtle variations in habit, leaf size or flower colour. As it tolerates pruning well it is often sold as topiary specimens, although even moderate clipping significantly reduces flowering ability.
V. tinus has medicinal properties. The active ingredients are viburnin (a substance or more probably a mixture of compounds) and tannins. Tannins can cause stomach upset. The leaves when infused have antipyretic properties. The fruits have been used as purgatives against constipation. The tincture has been used lately in herbal medicine as a remedy for depression. The plant also contains iridoid glucosides.
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- RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964.
- Plants, mites and mutualism: leaf domatia and the abundance and reproduction of mites on Viburnum tinus (Caprifoliaceae). Raul Grostal and Dennis J. O'Dowd, Oecologia, April 1994, Volume 97, Issue 3, pages 308-315, doi:10.1007/BF00317319
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- Flora Europaea: Viburnum tinus
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- Pignatti S. - Flora d'Italia – Edagricole – 1982, Vol. II, pag. 639
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