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Spirospermum penduliflorum DC.

Protologue
Syst. nat. 1: 515 (1817).
Family
Menispermaceae
Origin and geographic distribution
Spirospermum penduliflorum is endemic to eastern Madagascar where it occurs from Antsiranana in the north to Toliara in the south.
Uses
A leaf decoction is widely drunk to treat malaria, sometimes as an adjuvant to chloroquine. The dried and compressed leaves are smoked to stop the progress of pulmonary tuberculosis and vomiting of blood and an infusion of the leaves is taken against colic. A root decoction is taken as a cholagogue, as a cardiac tonic and against liver complaints.
Properties
From the root the clerodane type diterpenoid columbin, the protoberberine-type quaternary alkaloid palmatine and the bisbenzylisoquinoline limacine have been isolated.
Limacine was tested for its effect against Plasmodium falciparum and a multidrug resistant leukaemia cell line; it was found to be less active than the structurally related fangchinoline.
Botany
Dioecious liana or small, arching tree up to 10(–12) m tall; stem up to 15 cm in diameter, dark brown to blackish. Leaves alternate, simple and entire; stipules absent; petiole swollen at apex or at both ends, bent at apex; blade peltate, glossy green, leathery, pinnately veined. Inflorescence an axillary or seemingly terminal, much branched, pendulous panicle up to 80 cm long, female inflorescence fewer-flowered than male one. Flowers yellowish green to whitish; pedicel pinkish; male flowers with 5–6 stamens; female flowers with superior ovary, composed of 1–9 free carpels. Fruit a cluster of 1–9 large, globose, fleshy drupes, reddish pink when mature, with bony stone, each drupe 1-seeded. Seeds horseshoe-shaped.
Spirospermum comprises a single species. However, there are specimens with narrow leaves that may represent a second species.
Ecology
Spirospermum penduliflorum occurs in humid forest, up to 500(–1100) m altitude.
Genetic resources and breeding
Spirospermum penduliflorum has a wide distribution in Madagascar and although the area under rainforest is diminishing rapidly, there are no signs that it is in danger of genetic erosion.
Prospects
Unless new pharmacologically active compounds are found, Spirospermum penduliflorum will probably remain of local importance only.
Major references
• Gurib-Fakim, A. & Brendler, T., 2004. Medicinal and aromatic plants of Indian Ocean Islands: Madagascar, Comoros, Seychelles and Mascarenes. Medpharm, Stuttgart, Germany. 568 pp.
• Neuwinger, H.D., 2000. African traditional medicine: a dictionary of plant use and applications. Medpharm Scientific, Stuttgart, Germany. 589 pp.
• Rasoanaivo, P., Ratsimamanga-Urverg, S. & Rakoto-Ratsimamanga, A., 1995. Isoquinoline alkaloid constituents of Spirospermum penduliflorum and Strychnopsis thouarsii (Menispermaceae). Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 23(6): 679–680.
• Ratsimamanga-Urverg, S., Rasoanaivo, P., Ramiaramanana, L., Milijaona, R., Rafatro, H., Verdier, F., Rakoto-Ratsimamanga, A. & Le Bras, J., 1992. In vitro antimalarial activity and chloroquine potentiating action of two bisbenzylisoquinoline enantiomer alkaloids isolated from Strychnopsis thouarsii and Spirospermum penduliflorum. Planta Medica 58(6): 540–543.
• Schatz, G.E., 2001. Generic tree flora of Madagascar. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 477 pp.
Other references
• Boissier, J.R., Combes, G., Pernet, R. & Dumont, C., 1975. Menispermaceae alkaloids of Madagascar: Cissampelos pareira, Cyclea madagascariensis, Anisocycla grandidieri, and Spirospermum penduliflorum. Lloydia 28(3): 191–198.
• Boiteau, P., Boiteau, M. & Allorge-Boiteau, L., 1999. Dictionnaire des noms malgaches de végétaux. 4 Volumes + Index des noms scientifiques avec leurs équivalents malgaches. Editions Alzieu, Grenoble, France.
• Frappier, F., Jossang, A., Soudon, J., Galvo, F., Rasoanaivo, P., Ratsimamanga-Urverg, S., Saez, J., Schrevel, J. & Grellier, P., 1996. Bisbenzylisoquinolines as modulators of chloroquine resistance in Plasmodium falciparum and multidrug resistance in tumor cells. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 1996: 1476–1481.
• Missouri Botanical Garden, undated. VAST (VAScular Tropicos) nomenclatural database. [Internet] http://mobot.mobot.org/ W3T/Search/ vast.html. Accessed February 2008.
• Rasoanaivo, P., Petitjean, A., Ratsimamanga-Urverg, S. & Rakoto-Ratsimamanga, A., 1992. Medicinal plants used to treat malaria in Madagascar. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 37: 117–127.
• Schlittler, E. & Weber, N., 1972. Isolation of columbin and palmatine from Spirospermum penduliflorum. Lloydia 35(2): 181–182.
Author(s)
L.P.A. Oyen
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands


Editors
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, Réduit, 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:
Oyen, L.P.A., 2008. Spirospermum penduliflorum DC. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.