Strychnos is a genus of flowering plants, belonging to family Loganiaceae (sometimes Strychnaceae). The genus includes about 100 accepted species of trees and lianas, and more than 200 that are as yet unresolved. The genus is widely distributed around the world's tropics. The genus is noted for the presence of poisonous indole alkaloids in the roots, stems and leaves of the plant. Among the alkaloids are strychnine and curare.
The genus is widely distributed in Asia, Africa and North and South America.
Pharmacology and Toxicology
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The genus is divided into 12 sections, though it is conceded that the sections do not reflect evolution of the genus, and all sections except Spinosae are polyphyletic:
- Strychnos (53 species)
- Rouhamon (21 species)
- Breviflorae (32 species)
- Penicillatae (17 species)
- Aculeatae (1 species)
- Spinosae (4 species)
- Brevitubae (18 species)
- Lanigerae (32 species
- Phaeotrichae (1 species)
- Densiflorae (8 species)
- Dolichantae (9 species)
- Schyphostrychnos (1 species)
- The Strychnine tree, Strychnos nux-vomica, native to tropical Asia, is the source of the poison strychnine.
- Strychnos ignatia ("St. Ignatius bean"), is a closely related Asian shrub/tree.
- Three trees from Southern Africa, commonly known as "monkey oranges", are drought-tolerant and produce popular edible fruits: the corky-barked monkey orange or suurklapper, Strychnos cocculoides, the Natal orange or green or spiny monkey orange, Strychnos spinosa, and the black or spiny-leaved monkey orange Strychnos pungens.
- The ripe seeds of Strychnos potatorum,, known as Therran or Nirmal, can be ground and used as a coagulant to purify water; or they may be rubbed against the inside walls of the earthenware water containers.
- Babu, R.; Chaudhuri, M. (Mar 2005). "Home water treatment by direct filtration with natural coagulant" (pdf). Journal of Water and Health 3 (1): 27–30. PMID 15952450.
Strychnos psilosperma foliage and fruit.