An exchange saY8 the story that the Upas tree sf Java exhales a poisonous aroma, the breathing of which causes death, is now known to be false. The tree itself secretes a juice which is deadly poison, but its aroma or odor is harmless. Strychnine is made from the seeds of a specie of Upas tree. Such is the name of a district the atmosphere of which produces death. This effect is not occasioned by the Upas tree, but by an extinct volcano near Batar, called Guava Upas. From the old crater and the adjoining valley is exhaled carbonic gas, such as often extinguishes life in this country in old wells and foul places. This deadly atmosphere kills everything that comes within its rangebirdS, beasts and even menand the valley is covered with skeletons. By a confusion of names, the poisonous effects of this deadly valley have been ascribed to the Upas tree, the juice of which is poisonous, and hence the fable in regard to the deadly Bohun Upas tree.
This article was originally published with the title "The Upas Tree" in Scientific American 13, 47, 374 (July 1858)