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Strychnos floribunda Gilg

Protologue
Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 17: 566 (1893).
Family
Loganiaceae
Chromosome number
2n = 44
Origin and geographic distribution
Strychnos floribunda occurs from Sierra Leone east to the Central African Republic and south to Angola.
Uses
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.
Properties
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.
Botany
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.
Ecology
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.
Prospects
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.
Major references
• Bisset, N.G., 1970. The African species of Strychnos. Part I. The ethnobotany. Lloydia 33(2): 201–243.
• Bouquet, A. & Debray, M., 1974. Plantes médicinales de la Côte d’Ivoire. Travaux et Documents No 32. ORSTOM, Paris, France. 231 pp.
• Kerharo, J. & Bouquet, A., 1950. Plantes médicinales et toxiques de la Côte d’Ivoire - Haute-Volta. Vigot Frères, Paris, France. 291 pp.
• Leeuwenberg, A.J.M., 1969. The Loganiaceae of Africa 8. Strychnos 3. Revision of the African species with notes on the extra-African. Mededelingen Landbouwhogeschool Wageningen 69–1. Wageningen, Netherlands. 316 pp.
Other references
• Leeuwenberg, A.J.M. (Editor), 1980. Angiospermae: Ordnung Gentiales. Fam. Loganiaceae. Die natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien. Second Edition. Band 28 b-1. Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, Germany. 255 pp.
• Ohiri, F.C., Verpoorte, R. & Baerheim Svendsen, A., 1983. The African Strychnos species and their alkaloids: a review. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 9(2–3): 167–223.
• Verpoorte, R., Joosse, F.T., Groenink, H. & Baerheim Svendsen, A., 1981. Alkaloids from Strychnos floribunda. Planta Medica 42: 32–36.
• 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.
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

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.