Tabernaemontana elegans

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Tabernaemontana elegans
warty fruit, holding numerous seeds
Scientific classification
T. elegans
Binomial name
Tabernaemontana elegans
  • Conopharyngia elegans (Stapf) Stapf
  • Leptopharyngia elegans (Stapf) Boiteau

Tabernaemontana elegans is a shrub or small tree that is native to eastern Africa. Vernacular names for the plant include "Toad tree".


It grows up to 15 metres (49 ft) tall, with a trunk diameter of up to 30 centimetres (12 in). Its fragrant flowers feature white, creamy or pale yellow corolla lobes. Fruit consists of 2 separate ovoid or ellipsoid pods, up to 8 centimetres (3.1 in) each.


Habitat is in forests or bushland from sea-level to 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) altitude. The plant is native to Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and South Africa.[2][3][4]


Its numerous local medicinal uses include the treatment of heart disease, cancer, tuberculosis and venereal diseases. T. elegans is also used as an aphrodisiac.[2] The Zulu name for this genus, iNomfi, refers to the use of their sticky, milky latex as bird-lime.[5]


Fourteen indole alkaloids have been isolated in the callus culture of Tabernaemontana elegans (isovoacangine, 3-R/S-hydroxy-isovoacangine, 3-R/S-hydroxy-coronaridine, isositsirikine, geissoschizol, tabernaemontanine, vobasine, vobasinol, apparicine, 16-hydroxy-16,22-dihydro-apparicine, tubotaiwine, 3-R/S-hydroxy-conodurine and monogagaine) of which apparicine is the principal.[6]


  1. ^ "Tabernaemontana elegans". The Plant List. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  2. ^ a b Medicinal Plants. PROTA. 2008. pp. 592–593. ISBN 978-9-05782-204-9.
  3. ^ "Tabernaemontana elegans". Flora of Zimbabwe. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  4. ^ "Tabernaemontana elegans". Encyclopedia of Life. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  5. ^ Palmer, Eve (1977). A Field Guide to the Trees of Southern Africa. London, Johannesburg: Collins. pp. 303–304. ISBN 0-620-05468-9.
  6. ^ Indole alkaloids from a callus culture ofTabernaemontana elegans. R. van der Heijden, R.L. Brouwer, R. Verpoorte, R. Wijnsma, T.A. van Beek, A.A. Harkes and A. Baerheim Svendsen, Phytochemistry, Volume 25, Issue 4, doi:10.1016/0031-9422(86)80013-9