Mirabilis jalapa Linn.

Botanical Name

Mirabilis jalapa Linn.[1]

Synonyms

Jalapa congesta Moench, Nyctago versicolor  Salisb, Nyctago jalapae DC

Family

Nyctaginaceae 

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Bunga Pukul Empat
Indonesia Kembang sore
Korea Punkkot
Spanish Clavellina, Maravilla, Hoja de Xalapa
German Wunderblume
English Four-o’clock, Marvel of Peru, False jalap [1]

Description

Mirabilis jalapa is a member of the Nyctaginaceae family. It is an erect herb reaching up to 1 m tall. The leaves are simple, cordate, 3 – 12 cm long, with acute. The flowers come in red, pink, yellow or white, bisexual and they bloom in late afternoon. The fruits are black and globose 5 – 8 mm in diameter.[5]

Distribution

Native of South America, now widely distributed as ornamental [5]

Plant Use

Mainly as ornamentals. It is also used in some traditional medical practices to provide cures for certain diseases. The leaves provide relieve of abscesses in the form of a decoction, and can also be poultice over boils, blisters and urticaria. The seeds can act as purgative, while the roots a laxative in the form of a decoction. [5]

Toxic Parts

Tuberous roots and seeds. [2] [3] [4] [6] [7]

Toxin

Alkaloid trigonelline, which is irritant to the skin and lining of the stomach and intestine.[2] [3] [4]

Risk Management

The poisonous effect is not widely known and most of the time rather mild. It should not pose much of a problem as an ornamental, however, house owner should be wary of the possible poisonous effects of various parts of the plant. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Clinical Findings

Severe gastro-intestinal distress in children which causes vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pains. Handling of roots may cause dermatitis in sensitive individual.

Seeds may produce hallucinations if smoked or ingested. [2][3][4][6][7][8]

Management

Initial treatment includes gastric lavage and emesis is recommended to remove as much of the offending substance as possible. Treatment of symptoms as they appear and provide supportive therapy in the form of fluid replancement.

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References

1. Hanelt P., Mensfeld’s Encyclopedia of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops Springer, Berlin 2001 pg. 232
2. Oakes J., Butcher JO., Poisonous and Injurious Plants of the U.S. Virgin Islands Agricultural Research Service U.S. Department of Agriculture Washington DC., 1962 pg. 74
3. Fuller TC., McClintock EM., California Natural History Guide: Poisonous Plants of California, University of California Press, Los Angeles 1986, pg.198
4. Tull DN., Edible & Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest: A Practical Guide., University of Texas Press Austin 2003 pg.280
5. Koh HL., Kian CT., Tan CH., A Guide to Medicinal Plants: An Illustrated, Scientific and Medicinal Appraoch, World Scientific, Singapore pg. 101 – 102
6. Poisonous Plants of Philadelphia [http://research.vet.upenn.edu/PoisonousPlantsofPA/Mirabilisjalapa/tabid/5462/Default.aspx] Accessed 11th November 2012
7. Poisonous Plants [http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/poison/Mirabja.htm] Accessed: 11th November 2012
8. Right Diagnosis [http://www.rightdiagnosis.com/f/four_oclock_poisoning/basics.htm] Accessed: 11th November 2012