Acokanthera schimperi

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Acokanthera schimperi
Acokanthera schimperi - Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen-150.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Apocynaceae
Genus: Acokanthera
Species: A. schimperi
Binomial name
Acokanthera schimperi
(A.DC.) Schweinf.
  • Acokanthera abyssinica K.Schum. nom. illeg.
  • Acokanthera deflersii Schweinf. ex Lewin
  • Acokanthera friesiorum Markgr.
  • Acokanthera ouabaio Cathelineau ex Lewin
  • Acokanthera schimperi (A. DC.) Benth. & Hook. f.
  • Arduina schimperi (A.DC.) Baill.
  • Carissa deflersii (Schweinf. ex Lewin) Pichon
  • Carissa friesiorum (Markgr.) Cufod.
  • Carissa inepta Perrot & Vogt
  • Carissa schimperi A.DC.

Acokanthera schimperi, belonging to the family Apocynaceae, is a small tree native to East Africa and Yemen.


The bark, wood and roots of Acokanthera schimperi are used as an important ingredient of arrow poison in Africa. All plant parts contain acovenoside A and ouabaïne, which are cardiotonic glycosides. Its fruit is edible, and is eaten as a famine food. When ripe they are sweet but also slightly bitter. Unripe fruits have caused accidental poisoning as they are highly toxic.[2]

The maned rat spreads the plant's poison on its fur and becomes poisonous.[3]

It is also used in traditional African medicine.[4]

Geographic distribution[edit]

Acokanthera schimperi occurs in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and DR Congo. It is the only species that also occurs outside Africa, in southern Yemen.[5]


  1. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". 
  2. ^ Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors), 2008. Plant Resources of Tropical Africa 11(1). Medicinal plants 1. PROTA Foundation, Wageningen, Netherlands / Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands / CTA, Wageningen, Netherlands. 791 pp.
  3. ^ African crested rat uses poison trick to foil predators
  4. ^
  5. ^ African Plant Database

External links[edit]