Duboisia

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The orchid genus described by Karsten as Duboisia is now included in Myoxanthus. For the prehistoric antelope genus, see Duboisia (antelope).
Duboisia
Duboisia myoporoides - Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen-055.jpg
Duboisia myoporoides
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Solanales
Family: Solanaceae
Subfamily: Cestroideae
Tribe: Anthocercideae
Genus: Duboisia
Type genus
Duboisia myoporoides
R.Br. 1802
Species

Duboisia (commonly called Corkwood Tree) is a genus of small perennial shrubs to trees about 14 m tall, with extremely light wood and a thick corky bark. There are four species; all occur in Australia, and one also occurs in New Caledonia.

The alternate, glabrous leaves are narrow and elliptical. The inflorescence is an open cymose panicle of apically small white flowers, sometimes with a purple or mauve striped tube. They flower profusely in spring. The fruit is a small, globular, black, juicy berry.

The nicotine, scopolamine and hyoscyamine-containing leaves of Duboisia are the active component of the drug pituri,[1] used by indigenous peoples of central Australia for its stimulant, euphoric, antispasmodic and analgesic effects. For example, smoke from the burning leaves is inhaled at ceremonies, such as male initiation rites, including circumcision, in part because of its anaesthetic properties and ability to induce altered states of consciousness. The dried leaves of Duboisia hopwoodii is also mixed with ash from Acacia species and chewed. One paleontologist, Dr Gavin Young, named the fossil agnathan Pituriaspis doylei after pituri, as he thought he might be hallucinating upon viewing the fossil fish's bizarre form.[2] Prior to European settlement in Australia, pituri was exported along trade routes and used by indigenous peoples far from central Australia, including Torres Strait Islanders.

The leaves of Duboisia leichhardtii and Duboisia myoporoides also contain scopolamine and hyoscyamine, along with some other pharmaceutically important alkaloids. A derivative of scopolamine is the drug butylscopolamine, a potent peripherally acting antispasmodic. These trees are commercially grown for the pharmaceutical industry.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pituri, An Australian Aboriginal drug, Pamela Watson, pharmacist/anthropologist, Toowong, Queensland, Drugtext
  2. ^ Long, John A. The Rise of Fishes: 500 Million Years of Evolution. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996. ISBN 0-8018-5438-5