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Schizozygia coffaeoides Baill.

Bull. Mens. Soc. Linn. Paris 1: 752 (1888).
Chromosome number
2n = 22
Vernacular names
Mpelepele, mwango, mtonga mwitu (Sw).
Origin and geographic distribution
Schizozygia coffaeoides occurs from DR Congo east to Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania, and south to Malawi, Angola and Mozambique and also in Comoros.
In Kenya the pounded or grated root of Schizozygia coffaeoides mixed with coconut oil is applied to sores. A root infusion is taken against dizziness. Inflamed eyes are treated by exposing them to steam from boiled leaves, while ringworm-infected skin is washed with an aqueous leaf extract.
Five schizozyganes have been isolated from the root bark and leaves of Schizozygia coffaeoides; these are hexacyclic N-acyl indole alkaloids, with schizozygine and isoschizogaline as main compounds. Schizozyganes have so far not been found elsewhere in the Apocynaceae, but they are related to certain alkaloids which occur in Hunteria and Aspidosperma. Leaf extracts show significant fungistatic activity against the dermatophytic fungi Trichophyton mentagrophytes and Microsporum gypseum, and also against Candida albicans and a phytopathogenic fungus, Cladosporium cucumerinum, indicating a broad spectrum of antifungal activity. In further tests with fungi and bacteria, it was shown that 7,8-dehydro-19β -hydroxyschizozygine was the most active antifungal compound, and isoschizogaline the only active antibacterial compound.
The fruits of Schizozygia coffaeoides are reported to be poisonous.
Shrub or small tree up to 4(–8) m tall, with white latex, repeatedly dichotomously branched; bark rough, brown, lenticels pale. Leaves opposite, simple and entire; stipules absent; petiole 0.5–10 mm long; blade obovate, up to 25 cm Χ 11 cm, base cuneate, apex acuminate, glabrous, pinnately veined with lateral veins conspicuous. Inflorescence a congested cyme, 2 together in forks of branches, 7–15 mm long; peduncle up to 3 mm long; bracts narrowly oblong, 3–5 mm long. Flowers bisexual, 5-merous, regular, fragrant; pedicel 2–3 mm long; sepals free, elliptical, imbricate, 3–6 mm long, apex acute or acuminate; corolla creamy-yellow, tube cylindrical or urn-shaped, 4–5 mm long, shortly hairy around the stamens, lobes obliquely obovate to nearly hook-shaped, curved to the right, 2–4 mm long, in bud overlapping to right; stamens inserted in the upper part of the corolla tube, anthers sessile, triangular, introrse; ovary superior, composed of 2 free rounded carpels, style slender, pistil head with basal cylindrical part and a 2-lobed stigma. Fruit composed of 2 ellipsoid almost free follicles, 7–15 mm Χ 3–5 mm, laterally compressed, irregularly striate, glabrous, yellow to orange, dehiscent, each follicle 1-seeded. Seeds obliquely ellipsoid, 5–6 mm long, with a deep groove in the middle and shallowly grooved at the other side, with minute warts, surrounded by a thin pulpy red to orange aril. Seedling with epigeal germination; cotyledons ovate, rounded at base and apex.
Schizozygia comprises a single species and belongs to the tribe Tabernaemontanae. Schizozygia coffaeoides can be found flowering and fruiting throughout the year.
Schizozygia coffaeoides occurs in moist forest and riverine forest. It grows on sandy or loamy soils, up to 1500 m altitude.
Genetic resources and breeding
Schizozygia coffaeoides is fairly widespread and it does not appear to be threatened.
Work is progressing on the purification of active antifungal and antibacterial compounds in Schizozygia coffaeoides.
Major references
• Barink, M.M., 1983. A revision of Pleioceras Baill., Stephanostema K. Schum. and Schizozygia Baill. (Apocynaceae). In: Leeuwenberg, A.J.M. (Editor). Series of revisions of Apocynaceae 11–13. Mededelingen Landbouwhogeschool Wageningen 83–7. Wageningen, Netherlands. pp. 21–55.
• Kariba, R.M., Houghton, P.J. & Yenesew, A., 2002. Antimicrobial activities of a new schizozygane indoline alkaloid from Schizozygia coffaeoides and the revised structure of isoschizogaline. Journal of Natural Products 65(4): 566–569.
• Kariba, R.M., Siboe, G.M. & Dossaji, S.F., 2001. In vitro antifungal activity of Schizozygia coffaeoides Baill. (Apocynaceae) extracts. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 74: 41–44.
• Omino, E.A., 2002. Apocynaceae (part 1). In: Beentje, H.J. & Ghazanfar, S.A. (Editors). Flora of Tropical East Africa. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, Netherlands. 116 pp.
• Omino, E.A. & Kokwaro, J.O., 1993. Ethnobotany of Apocynaceae species in Kenya. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 40: 167–180.
Other references
• Beentje, H.J., 1994. Kenya trees, shrubs and lianas. National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya. 722 pp.
• Hajicek, J., Taimr, J. & Budesinsky, M., 1998. Revised structure of isoschizogamine. Tetrahedron Letters 39: 505–508.
• Kokwaro, J.O., 1993. Medicinal plants of East Africa. 2nd Edition. Kenya Literature Bureau, Nairobi, Kenya. 401 pp.
• Timberlake, J., Golding, J. & Clarke, P., 2004. Niassa botanical expedition June 2003. Occasional Publications in Biodiversity No 12. Biodiversity Foundation for Africa, Famona, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. 43 pp.
• M.J. Boone
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

• G.H. Schmelzer
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
• A. Gurib-Fakim
Faculty of Science, University of Mauritius, Rιduit, Mauritius
Associate editors
• C.H. Bosch
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
• M.S.J. Simmonds
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AB, United Kingdom
• R. Arroo
Leicester School of Pharmacy, Natural Products Research, De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester LE1 9BH, United Kingdom
• A. de Ruijter
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
General editors
• R.H.M.J. Lemmens
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
• L.P.A. Oyen
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article:
Boone, M.J., 2006. Schizozygia coffaeoides Baill. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes mιdicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.