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Strophanthus preussi0.jpg
Strophanthus preussii
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Apocynaceae
Genus: Strophanthus
DC., 1802

See text.

  • Cercocoma Wall. ex G.Don
  • Christya Ward & Harv.
  • Faskia Lour. ex B.A.Gomes
  • Roupalia T.Moore & Ayres
  • Roupellia Wall. & Hook. ex Benth.
  • Roupellina (Baill.) Pichon
  • Zygonerion Baill.

Strophanthus is a genus of 35-40 species of flowering plants in the family Apocynaceae, native mainly to tropical Africa, extending to South Africa, with a few species in Asia, from southern India to the Philippines and southern China. The name (strophos anthos, "twisted cord flower") derives from the long twisted threadlike segments of the corolla, which in one species (S. preussii) attain a length of 30–35 cm.

The genus includes vines, shrubs and small trees. The leaves are opposite or whorled, simple broad lanceolate, 2–20 cm long, with an entire margin.

Several of the African tribes used Strophanthus as the principal ingredient in arrow poison.



Plants from this genus produce toxic alkaloids and cardiac glycosides g-strophanthin (syn. ouabain), k-strophanthin and e-strophanthin. As ordinarily administered, the drug acts on the heart before influencing any other organ or tissue. Often indeed no other action can be observed. It is used to produce the drug Ouabain which was taken as a cardiac stimulant to treat heart failure, and is similar to the drug Digoxin produced from Digitalis purpurea.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "World Checklist of Selected Plant Families". Retrieved May 17, 2014. 

External links[edit]