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Brunfelsia pauciflora

Botanical Name

Brunfelsia pauciflora

Synonyms

Brunfelsia calcyina

Family

Solanaceae

Vernacular Names

Indonesia Melati costa
English Yesterday, today and tomorrow, Morning-noon-and-night, Brazilian raintree [1] [4]

Description

Brunsfelsia pauciflora is a member of the Solanaceae (Nightshade) family. It is a native of Brazil. It is an evergreen shrub which can grow up to 2 m high with branching from the base. The leaves are alternate 2.5 – 10 cm long, oval and entire. The flowers are very showy changing from purple to lavender and finally white and are fragrant. The calyx is tubular, enclosing the tube of the corolla. There are five spreading corolla lobes saucer shaped and 5 cm across. Fruits are leathery, with large seeds.[2] [3]

Distribution

Throughout the world now since its introduction and promotion as a fragrant ornamental plant.

Plant Use

No medicinal use. The plant is a popular ornamental especially for its fragrance.

Toxic Parts

All parts of the plant especially the fruit and including the roots are poisonous. [5] [6]

Toxin

The most toxic compounds in the plant include brunfelsamidine, hopeanine and scopoletin. Brunfeldamidine cause excitement, seizures and death while hopeanine cause depression and paralysis. Scopoletin (gelseminic acid) is a smooth muscle relaxant which can lead to hypotension, through neuromuscular block and decreased heart rate. This effect cannot be reverse by atropine. The toxic principles of this plant are water soluble and very stable.

Risk Management

While there are no reported cases of poisoning in humans so far, it is worthwhile for us to be wary of the potential poisoning upon ingestion of any part of the plant. Medical attention need to be sought immediately if berries or seed were ingested. [6]

Clinical Findings

Animals consuming the plant or fruit exhibit initial excitement, anxiousness, coughing and vomiting, wretching within a few minutes to several hours. Muscular tremors, extensor rigidity seizures very similar to those of strychnine poisoning follows. There has not been any report of poisoning in humans so far. [5]

Management

Treatment is directed towards the control of seizure with diazepam or pentonbarbital, along with parental support therapy during period of seizure. Activated charcoal has been recommended via stomach tube, however, emetics should not be used as they can instigate seizure. [5]

References

1.     Harrison M., Flowering Shrubs and Small Trees for the South, Pineapple Press, Sarasota 2009  pg. 113

2.     Fuller TC., McClintock E., Poisonous Plants of California, University of Calfornia Press, Berkeley 1986, pg. 235

3.     Gargiullo M., Magnuson B., Kimball L., A Field Guide to Plants of Costa Rica, Oxford University Press New York 2008, pg. 105

4.     Kencana IP., Galeri Tanaman Hias Landskap, Niaga Swadaya, Jakarta 2008, pg. 146

5.     Knight AP., A Guide to Poisonous House and Garden Plants Colorado State University, Fort Colins 2009, pg. 114

6.     Queensland Poison Information Center (http://www.health.qld.gov.au/poisonsinformationcentre/plants_fungi/brunfelsia.asp)  Accessed date: 01st October 2012)

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