Cinchona pubescens, the Quinine Tree, is known for because its bark has a lot of quinine. It has similar uses to Cinchona officinalis in making quinine, used for treatment of malaria. It is native to Costa Rica, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. In Ecuador, C. pubescens is found at altitudes from 300 to 3900 m above sea level. It grows to about 10 metres in height. It has the widest distribution of all Cinchona species
Planted on other tropical islands it has become an invasive species. It grows quickly, and spreads by both seeds and root suckers. Other plants are unable to grow in the shade that it creates. In the Galapagos Islands the tree was planted by farmers as a crop for the quinine. It has become a dominant species on Santa Cruz Island, taking over from the shrub Miconia and Fern-Sedges. It is also invasive in Hawaii on Maui and the Big Island.
Attempts have been made to control the plant in the Galapagos National Park using a variety of methods. It is not affected by many poisons, it will regrow from a stump or any piece of root left in the ground. Controlling it over all of Santa Cruz island would cost several million US dollars according to research by the Charles Darwin Foundation.
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