Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1
Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 17: 566 (1893).
2n = 44
Origin and geographic distribution
Strychnos floribunda occurs from Sierra Leone east to the Central African Republic and south to Angola.
In Côte d’Ivoire a decoction of stem and root bark is taken to treat kidney diseases. It is also used as a wash to treat palpitations, while a decoction of the stem bark in palm oil is applied in small amounts to the tongue to treat palpitations, tachycardia and other symptoms of heart disease. A maceration of the root wood is taken to treat oedema.
Strychnos floribunda stem bark contains the indole alkaloids bisnordihydrotoxiferine, akagerine, decussine, rouhamine, strychnocarpine, desacetylisoretuline and isorosibiline and the common sterols β-sitosterol, stigmasterol and campesterol. Bisnordihydrotoxiferine is known to exhibit antimicrobial activity in vivo and has shown in-vivo antidiarrhoeal activity in mice. Decussine and rouhamine have a pronounced muscle-relaxant activity. Stem bark extracts of Strychnos floribunda have muscle-relaxant and convulsive effects and showed antimicrobial activity against Bacillus subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus.
Climbing shrub or liana up to 30 m long, climbing with solitary tendrils; stem up to 13 cm in diameter, branchlets green, glabrous or minutely hairy. Leaves opposite, simple and entire; stipules absent; petiole 2–9 mm long, glabrous; blade elliptical to ovate, 4–10(–12) cm × 1.5–5(–6) cm, base cuneate to rounded, apex acuminate, glabrous, 3- or 5-veined from the base. Inflorescence an axillary or occasionally terminal lax or congested thyrse up to 4.5 cm long, few-flowered. Flowers bisexual, regular, (4–)5-merous; sepals fused at base, triangular to ovate, often unequal, up to 1.5 mm long; corolla tube cylindrical, up to 1.5 mm long, lobes oblong to ovate or triangular, 1.5–3 mm long, acute, spreading or recurved, glabrous or minutely hairy outside, inside often densely hairy, white or greenish white; stamens inserted at the mouth of the corolla tube, exserted; ovary superior, globose or ovoid to nearly conical, 1–2 mm long, glabrous, 2-celled, style up to 4.5 mm long, stigma small, obscurely 2-lobed or head-shaped. Fruit an ellipsoid berry 14–17 mm in diameter, soft, orange, with smooth skin, 1-seeded. Seed slightly flattened, 8–13 mm × 7–10 mm × 5–7 mm, yellowish, densely hairy, smooth.
Strychnos comprises about 200 species: about 60 species in Asia, 65 in America and 75 in Africa. Strychnos floribunda belongs to the section Rouhamon.
Strychnos floribunda occurs in rainforest, including secondary forest, often on river banks, from sea-level up to 800 m altitude.
Genetic resources and breeding
Strychnos floribunda is widespread and does not seem to be in danger of genetic erosion.
It seems likely that Strychnos floribunda will remain of limited use only, unless the antibacterial activity of the stem bark shows potential in additional tests.
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• Verpoorte, R., Van Beek, T.A., Thomassen, P.H.A.M., Aandewiel, J. & Baerheim Svendsen, A., 1983. Screening of antimicrobial activity of some plants belonging to the Apocynaceae and Loganiaceae. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 8(3): 287–302.
Correct citation of this article:
de Ruijter, A., 2008. Strychnos floribunda Gilg. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.