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Strophanthus boivinii Baill.

Protologue
Bull. Mens. Soc. Linn. Paris 1: 757 (1888).
Family
Apocynaceae
Synonyms
Roupellina boivinii (Baill.) Pichon (1949).
Vernacular names
Wood shaving flower (En). Roupellina (Fr).
Origin and geographic distribution
Strophanthus boivinii is endemic to Madagascar. It is naturalized in Réunion and Mauritius.
Uses
A decoction of the aerial parts is drunk to treat gonorrhoea and fever. It is also used to poison dogs and pest animals. A bark decoction is taken to treat colic and is rubbed in to treat wounds and itch. Strophanthus boivinii is sometimes sold as a rare ornamental because of its striking orange-brown flowers.
Properties
All parts of Strophanthus boivinii are considered toxic when ingested. Several cardiac glycosides (cardenolides) have been isolated from the seeds and leaves. The seeds contain mainly glycosides based on the aglycone corotoxigenin: milloside, paulioside, stroboside, boistroside and christyoside. In addition, the gitogenin glycoside strospeside is found. The leaves also contain glycosides, with paulioside, boistroside, strospeside, madagascoside, zettoside and sadleroside as main components. Only strospeside is also present in other Strophanthus species.
Botany
Deciduous shrub or small tree up to 5(–12) m tall, sometimes up to 30 m, dichotomously branched with white latex; bole up to 40 cm in diameter; bark pale grey, flaking. Leaves decussately opposite, clustered at the apex of branchlets, simple and entire; stipules absent; petiole 4–15(–20) mm long; blade elliptical or narrowly elliptical to obovate, 2–21 cm × 1–6(–8) cm, base cuneate to decurrent, apex acute to acuminate, papery, glabrous to shortly hairy. Inflorescence a dichasial congested cyme in the forks of lateral branches, shortly hairy, few- to many-flowered; peduncle 2–7 mm long, erect or drooping; bracts ovate, up to 4 mm long, scale-like, whitish. Flowers bisexual, regular, 5–merous; pedicel 1.5–3.5 cm long; sepals free, narrowly ovate, 1.5–8 mm long, acute, shortly hairy; corolla tube 8–22 mm long, widening at 25–45% of its length into a cylindrical or cup-shaped part, at the mouth 3–10 mm wide, short-hairy, yellow or orange fading to reddish brown, corona lobes scale-like or tongue-shaped, 1–3 mm long, obtuse, fleshy, yellow, corolla lobes oblong, 7–32 mm long, apex rounded, margin undulate or crisped, short-hairy, orange turning reddish, with yellow margins; stamens inserted at 3–6 mm from the base of the corolla tube, included; ovary half-inferior, 2-celled, style 3.5–5 mm long, ending in a ringlike pistil head surrounding the stigma. Fruit consisting of 2 ellipsoid follicles 11–24 cm × 1.5–3 cm, tapering into a narrow apex, curved inwards at the tip, 2-valved, divergent at an angle of 160–220°, wall thick and hard, with lenticels, many-seeded. Seeds spindle-shaped, slightly flattened, 11–16 mm long, densely hairy, at apex with a long beak up to 2.5 cm long, with long hairs in upper 1–2 cm 3–4.5 cm long.
Strophanthus comprises 38 species, of which 30 occur in continental Africa, 1 in Madagascar and 7 in Asia, from India to South-East Asia. Strophanthus boivinii flowers towards the end of the dry and the beginning of the rainy season; flowers appear before or with the leaves. Mature fruits are present in the dry season. The plant is deciduous in dry regions. It is drought tolerant and can be grown both in full sun and in shade. It is a compact shrub when container-grown, and can be trained into a small tree.
Ecology
Strophanthus boivinii occurs in dry deciduous forest and thickets, sometimes on limestone, from sea-level up to 800 m altitude.
Genetic resources and breeding
Strophanthus boivinii is rather widespread especially in the western part of Madagascar and is not in danger of genetic erosion. It is cultivated in botanic gardens in several countries and as ornamental.
Prospects
Strophanthus boivinii will remain of local use only, unless further research of the many cardio-active glycosides reveals properties with medicinal potential.
Major references
• Beentje, H.J., 1982. A monograph on Strophanthus DC. (Apocynaceae). Mededelingen Landbouwhogeschool Wageningen 82–4. Wageningen, Netherlands. 191 pp.
• Boiteau, P. & Allorge-Boiteau, L., 1993. Plantes médicinales de Madagascar. Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique, Paris, France. 135 pp.
• Debray, M., Jacquemin, H. & Razafindrambao, R., 1971. Contribution à l’inventaire des plantes médicinales de Madagascar. Travaux et Documents No 8. ORSTOM, Paris, France. 150 pp.
• Neuwinger, H.D., 2000. African traditional medicine: a dictionary of plant use and applications. Medpharm Scientific, Stuttgart, Germany. 589 pp.
• Rasoanaivo, P., Petitjean, A. & Conan, J.Y., 1993. Toxic and poisonous plants of Madagascar: an ethnopharmacological survey. Fitoterapia 64: 117–129.
Other references
• Hegnauer, R., 1964. Chemotaxonomie der Pflanzen. Band 3. Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel, Switzerland. 743 pp.
• Markgraf, F., 1976. Apocynaceae. Flore de Madagascar et des Comores, famille 169. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. 318 pp.
• Pernet, R. & Meyer, G., 1957. Pharmacopeé de Madagascar. Publications de l’Institut de Recherche Scientifique Tananarive-Tsimbazaza. Pierre André Impr., Paris, France. 86 pp.
• Russel, J. H., Schindler, O. & Reichstein, T., 1961. Die Cardenolide der Blätter von Roupellina boivinii (Baill.) Pichon 1. Mitteilung. Glykoside und Aglykone, 224. Helvetica Chimica Acta 44(5): 1293–1315.
• Russel, J. H., Schindler, O. & Reichstein, T., 1961. Die Cardenolide der Blätter von Roupellina boivinii (Baill.) Pichon 2. Mitteilung. Glykoside und Aglykone, 225. Helvetica Chimica Acta 44(5): 1315–1330.
• Schindler, O. & Reichstein, T., 1952. Die Glykoside der Samen von Strophanthus boivini Baill. Glykoside und Aglykone. Helvetica Chimica Acta 35(3): 673–686.
• Schindler, O. & Reichstein, T., 1952. Identifizierung von Substanz Nr. 763 aus Strophanthus speciosus und S. boivinii als Strospesid (Desgluco-digitalinum-verum). Glykoside und Aglykone, 93. Mitteilung. Helvetica Chimica Acta 35(2): 442–446.
• Schindler, O. & Reichstein, T., 1952. Millosid, Paulinosid, Strobosid und Boistrosid, die Glykoside von Strophanthus boivini Baill. Helvetica Chimica Acta 35(3): 730–745.
Author(s)
A. de Ruijter
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
Photo editor
A. de Ruijter
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article:
de Ruijter, A., 2006. Strophanthus boivinii Baill. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.
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