Jamaican Dogwood

Scientific name: Piscidia piscipula

Common names: Piscidia, Fish Poison Tree, Fishfuddle, Florida Fish Poison Tree 

Ayurvedic names:

Chinese names:

Bangladesh names:

Arabic names:

Rain Forest names:

Family: Leguminosae

Approximate number of species known:

Common parts used: Bark and root


Annual/Perennial: Perennial

Height: upto 15 m

Actions: Sedative, anodyne

Known Constituents: Glycosides including picidin, jamaicin, itchyone; flavoinds including sumatrol, lisetin, piscerythrone, piscidine, rotenone, resin alkaloid

Isoflavones; lisetin, jamaicin, ichthyone, and the rotenoids rotenone, milletone, isomilletone

Organic acids, including piscidic acid, its mono- and diethyl esters, fukiic acid and its 3-0-methyl ester

Miscellaneous; b-sitosterol, tannins

Constituents Explained:


Native to Central Ameerica, Florida and the West Indies.  A small tree with pinnate (picture???) alternate leaves that are compound.  The bark is yellow or gray bark which inner bark is lighter or white. The seed pods have four wings Piscidia erthyrina.  The bark has an unpleasant odour, is bitter and leaves a burning sensation in the mouth. The flowers grow in lateral clusters.  The calyx??? has 5 teeth and is broad and bell shaped.

The inside of the bark is bluish-green or brown-green.  It has an opium like odour.

Traditional Use:

Originally used in the Carribean.  It has been used by putting the branches in a box, shaking it in the water near where the fish swim causing a stunning action to the fish, slowing them down and making them easier to catch.  A powerful nervine, sometimes used for migraine, insomnia and to relieve period pain. Locally it can relieve toothache. It can promote sweating.

It contains rotenone which has been used as an insecticide, particulary against lice, fleas and larvae.  In lower animals it seems to act as a poisonous narcotic. It caused heart failure, or respiratory failure.  It’s use is not recommended.

Clinical Studies: