Definition of quassia in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkwäSH(ē)ə/


1A South American shrub or small tree related to ailanthus.
  • Genera Quassia and Picrasma, family Simaroubaceae: several species, in particular Q. amara.
Example sentences
  • This type of size reduction is of dubious value and is only officially used for quassia which is a hard wood.
  • The quassia tree grows from 50 to 100 feet high; it has smooth, gray bark and alternate, odd-pinnate leaves with oblong, pointed leaflets. Its small flowers are yellowish or greenish, its fruit is a small rupe about the size of a pea.
  • Native to tropical America and the Caribbean, quassia grows in forests and near water.
1.1The wood, bark, or root of the quassia, yielding a bitter medicinal tonic, insecticide, and vermifuge.
Example sentences
  • A few preparations make use of digestive enzymes, while many others contain plant substances such as chirata, gentian, calama, quassia, orange peel and many spices.
  • The burning of scents like frankincense and myrrh dates back to the ancient Egyptians, and continued through the centuries, gradually including sweet spices like cinnamon, quassia, cloves, allspice and nutmeg.
  • There is preliminary evidence that quassia may be useful in the treatment of leukemia or gastric ulcers.


Named after Graman Quassi, an 18th-century Surinamese slave who discovered its medicinal properties in 1730.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: quas·sia

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