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Leaves from the Antiaria toxicaria )Upas)

Upas, from the Javanese word for "poison", refers to an evergreen tree known as Antiaris toxicaria. A native of southeastern Asia with highly poisonous sap. it is the source of the following literary allusions.


  • Concealing the mad-woman's neighbourhood from you, however, was something like covering a child with a cloak and laying it down near an upas-tree: that demon's vicinage is poisoned, and always was.
  • Look up! the proof is round you written large;
    Your Faith is in the balance wanting found;
    Your shipless seas confess it; bridgeless streams;
    Your wasted wealth of ore, and moor, and bay.
    Beneath the Upas shade of Faith depraved
    All things lie dead -- wealth, comfort, freedom, power.
  • ‘When you first came upon me, sir, in the Lodge, this day, more as if an Upas tree had been made a capture of than a private defendant, such mingled streams of feelings broke loose again within me, that everything was for the first few minutes swept away before them, and I was going round and round in a vortex...'
  • sun had set upon him; that the billows had rolled over him; that the car of Juggernaut had crushed him, and also that the deadly Upas tree of Java had blighted him.
  • In the valley of Nis the accursed waning moon shines thinly, tearing a path for its light with feeble horns through the lethal foliage of a great upas-tree.
  • Farther on, there frowned a grove of blended banian boughs, thick-ranked manchineels, and many a upas; their summits gilded by the sun; but below, deep shadows, darkening night-shade ferns, and mandrakes.
  • "Jerry," said Roger, "You are a upas tree. Your shadow is poisonous!"
  • the juices of these plants have been mixed with the poisonous pitch of the upas tree.
  • If you... go on killing everyone you meet till people begin to think you're first cousin to an upas tree, naturally you're found out in the end.
  • There Good, a faithless gardener of God,
    Watered with virtue the world's upas-tree
    And, careful of the outward word and act,
    Engrafted his hypocrite blooms on native ill.
  • "What's the tree I read about somewhere that does you in if you sit under it?", to which Jeeves replies, "The upas tree, sir." Bertie rejoins, "She's a female upas tree. It's not safe to come near her."
  • No bird flies near, no tiger creeps;
    alone the whirlwind, wild and black,
    assails the tree of death and sweeps
    away with death upon its back.
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