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Boophone disticha.jpg
Inflorescence of Boophone disticha
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Amaryllidoideae
Genus: Boophone

See text

Boophone disticha flowerhead with caterpillars of the Noctuid moth Diaphone eumela

Boophone is a genus of herbaceous, perennial and bulbous plants in the Amaryllis family (Amaryllidaceae, subfamily Amaryllidoideae.[2]) It consists of two species distributed in tropical and southern Africa. It is closely related to Crossyne, a genus whose species have prostrate leaves.[3]


The list of Boophone species, with their complete scientific name, authority, and geographic distribution is given below.[4]


William Herbert wrote the name of this genus with three different orthographies: "Boophane" in 1821; "Buphane" and Buphone" in 1825, and he conserved "Boophone" in 1837. Several authors since then speculated about the etymology and associated orthography of each name, but a proposal was published in 2001[7] to conserve the first name and to take the later ones as synonyms. This proposal was accepted in 2002.[8]

Associated insects[edit]

Larvae of the moth genera Brithys and Diaphone use Boophone as a food plant.

Traditional medicine[edit]

Boophone disticha is used in South African traditional medicine by the Zulus to induce hallucinations for divinatory purposes, and also for various mental illnesses.[9] Its use, however, is limited by injuries that result from the plant's toxicity.[10]


A variety of alkaloids with affinity for the serotonin transporter have been isolated from Boophone alkaloids.[11][12]


  1. ^ Appendix: 18 (1821).[full citation needed]
  2. ^ Stevens, P.F. "Angiosperm Phylogeny Website: Asparagales: Amaryllidoideae" 
  3. ^ Vigneron, P. (2000–2006). Boophone "Boophone". Amaryllidaceae organization. Retrieved 2009-05-26. 
  4. ^ Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew. World Checklist of Monocotyledons: Boophone . Accessed May 16, 2009.
  5. ^ Herb. Bot. Mag. 52: t. 2578 (1825)[full citation needed]
  6. ^ Leighton, Frances Margaret. Journal of South African Botany 13: 59. 1947.[full citation needed]
  7. ^ R. H. Archer, R. K. Brummitt, D. A. Snijman (2001). "Proposal to conserve the name Boophone Herbert with that spelling (Amaryllidaceae)". Taxon 50 (2): 569–572. doi:10.2307/1223904. 
  8. ^ Richard K. Brummitt. 2002. Report of the Committee for Spermatophyta: 53. Taxon, Vol. 51, No. 4 (Nov., 2002), pp. 795-799.
  9. ^ Stafford GI, Pedersen ME, van Staden J, Jäger AK (2008). "Review on plants with CNS-effects used in traditional South African medicine against mental diseases". J Ethnopharmacol 119 (3): 513–37. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2008.08.010. PMID 18775771. 
  10. ^ J.F. Sobiecki (2002). "A preliminary inventory of plants used for psychoactive purposes in southern African healing traditions". Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa 57: 1–24. doi:10.1080/00359190209520523. 
  11. ^ Sandager M, Nielsen ND, Stafford GI, van Staden J, Jäger AK (2005). "Alkaloids from Boophane disticha with affinity to the serotonin transporter in rat brain". J Ethnopharmacol 98 (3): 367–70. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2005.01.037. PMID 15814274. 
  12. ^ Neergaard J, Andersen J, Pedersen ME, Stafford GI, van Staden J, Jäger AK (2009). "Alkaloids from Boophone disticha with affinity to the serotonin transporter". S Afr J Botany 72 (2): 371–4. doi:10.1016/j.sajb.2009.02.173.