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Duroia sp00.jpg
Duroia sp. by Maria Sybilla Merian
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Rubiaceae
Subfamily: Ixoroideae
Tribe: Cordiereae
Genus: Duroia
Type species
Duroia eriopila

Duroia is a genus of flowering plants in the Rubiaceae family. The genus is found from Costa Rica to tropical South America.[1]


A number of Duroia species, and possibly all, are capable of biochemical interactions inhibiting the growth of neighbouring plants. Analysis of root extracts from Duroia hirsuta have yielded a strong plant growth inhibitor plumericin, a tetracyclic iridoid lactone.[2] This process, common amongst plants, is termed allelopathy. In the case of Duroia hirsuta, the chemical inhibitor is aided by the leafcutter ant Myrmelachista schumanni resident on and in the tree, and playing an active role in suppressing and destroying plant growth in the vicinity of their host by injecting and spraying formic acid. The area around the understory species Duroia hirsuta is often devoid of all other plant types, leading to the local name 'Devil's garden'.[3] The cost to the host plant for this protection is considerable, since the resident ants subject the tree to increased leaf cutting.[4]



  1. ^ "Duroia in the World Checklist of Rubiaceae". Retrieved June 2014.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. ^ Page JE, Madrinan S, Towers GH (1994). "Identification of a plant growth inhibiting iridoid lactone from Duroia hirsuta, the allelopathic tree of the 'Devil's Garden'". Experientia. 50 (9): 840–842. doi:10.1007/BF01956467. 
  3. ^ Campbell DG, Richardson PM, Rosas A Jr (1989). "Field screening for allelopathy in tropical forest trees, particularly Duroia hirsuta, in the Brazilian Amazon". Biochemical Systematics and Ecology. 17 (5): 403–407. doi:10.1016/0305-1978(89)90057-4. 
  4. ^ Frederickson ME, Gordon DM (2007). "The devil to pay: a cost of mutualism with Myrmelachista schumanni ants in 'devil's gardens' is increased herbivory on Duroia hirsuta trees". Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 274 (1613): 1117–1123. doi:10.1098/rspb.2006.0415. PMC 2124481Freely accessible. PMID 17301016. 

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