Through Professor H. H. Rusby3) of the Mew York College of Pharmacy, Fritzsche Brothers of New York City were supplied with some wood, the botanical origin of which had not been determined, but which probably belonged to a species of Nec-tandra or Ocotea (family Lauraceee). The wood of the heavy logs, which had been collected during a botanical expedition on the lower Orinoco, was rather soft and split readily. The cleavage surface has a satiny appearance and is frequently traversed by dark longitudinal and radial lines. The wood has a faint odor reminding one somewhat of borneol.
Upon distillation of the comminuted wood, 1,15 p. c. of a light yellow oil were obtained. It had the remarkably high specific gravity of 1,155 and an angle of rotation aD+ 2°40'4), its faint odor recalling that of Asarum canadense. At ordinary temperature it congealed to a crystalline mass. Drained and recrystallized, beautiful colorless prisms melting at 28,5° were obtained. In concentrated sulphuric acid this substance dissolved with a blood-red color. Boiled with alcoholic potash it was changed to a substance which crystallized from alcohol in beautiful plates melting at from 55 to 56°. Judging from this behavior it becomes apparent that this substance, which constitutes 90 p.c. of the oil, consists of apiol. A more careful comparison of its properties with those of the ordinary parsley apiol revealed the identity of the two substances in every particular.
1) Philos. Magaz. and Journ. of Science 20 (1842), 273 and 25 (1844), 200. -Liebig's Annalen 44 (1842), 309 and 50 (1844), 155. Compare also Hancock, Bull, des sciences math. phys. et chim., Febr. 1825, p. 125; Trommsdorff's Neues Journ. der Pharm. 11, I. (1825), 171.
2) In Gmelin, Organ. Chem. ed. IV, vol. 7, p. 282 the melting point of the substance as found by Stenhouse is recorded as 125°.
3) Comp. Rusby, Botany of Venezuela, Pharmaceutical Journ. 57 (1896), 292.
4) Report of Schimmel &Co. April 1897, 45.