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Duranta erecta L.

Botanical Name

Duranta erecta L. [8]


Duranta angustifolia Salisb., Duranta dentata Pers., Duranta ellisiae Jacq., Duranta inermis L., Duranta integrifolia Tod., Duranta latifolia Salisb., Duranta macrodonta Moldenke, Duranta microphylla Willd., Duranta microphylla Desf., Duranta plumieri Jacq., Duranta racemosa Mill., Duranta repens L., Duranta spinosa Mill., Duranta turbinata Tod., Duranta xalapensis Kunth [8]


Verbenaceae [5] [6] [8]

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Duranta [9]
English Golden dewdrops, yellow hat tree, pigeonberry, angel's whisper, duranta, sky flower, geisha girl, sheena's gold [1]
Indonesia Duranta [9]
Thailand  Tien thong [9]
Brazil Grao de galo [7]
Colombia Adonis blanco, adonis morado, garbancillo, espino negro [7]
Cuba Celosa cimarrona, celosa, garbancillo, no me olvides, violetina [7]
Dominican Republic Fruta de paloma [7]
El Salvador Heliotropio, chulada [7]
Haiti Bois jambette, mais bouilli [7]
Jamaica Angels-whisper, poison macca [7]
Mexico Espina blanca, capocoche [7]
Nicaragua Pensamiento, heliotropo morado [7]
Panama Espina de paloma, lora, barita de San José [7]
Puerto Rico Lluvia, azota, caballo, lila, cuenta de oro [7].


Duranta erecta is a member of the Verbenaceae family. It is an extremely variable plant developing into a vine, shrub or small tree of 5 m tall. Branching are profuse making it ideal for border plant and live fencing. The leaves are opposite with blades 4 cm x 2 cm and dull light green on both surfaces. The flowers are showy, tubular, 9 mm. They may be blue to lavender arranged along a curved stalk. The fruits are 9 mm glossy, oval with an attractive bright yellow colour. The flesh is bitter and there are usually 8 seeds in one fruit [5].


D. erecta is a native of South America and the Caribbean Islands. It has been introduced to the world as ornamental and as live fences [6].

Plant Use

D. erecta has been used as ornamental plant. In Cuba the Afro-Cuban community make use of the plant (part not specified) to treat throat infection [7].

Toxic Parts

Fruits [1] [3].


The toxicant is unknown, but it contains an array of saponins, flavonoids and other compounds including lamiide, naringenin, and the monoterpenoid durantoside I, II, III, as well as the iridoid glucoside duranterectosides A, B, C, and D. These compounds may be of some toxicologic importance. Some of the flavonoids have thrombin and alpha-glucosidase inhibitory activity [1]. Reports of poisoning with them have occurred only in Australia where it was said to have causes illness and death of children in Queensland [3] [4].

Risk Management

It is better that other plants be used as live fences instead of D. erecta because its attractive looking fruit sometimes attracts the attention of children especially curious toddlers. It is best to avoid children coming in contact with the plant [1] [3].

Clinical Findings

Effects of ingestion of the fruit of D. erecta are manifested in the gastrointestinal and neurological systems. An initial symptom of toxicity is seen affecting the gastrointestinal tract in the form of irritations such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea and sometimes stringy salivation. Subsequent to this victim may develop drowsiness and collapse followed by hyperaesthesia and tetanic-like seizures. Death has been reported from ingestion of the fruit. There were reports of victim developing sleepiness, fever, tachycardia swelling of lips and eyelids apart from the gastrointestinal irritations and convulsions [1] [2] [3] [4].


In cases of intoxication by D. erecta, the treatment is directed toward the relief of the specific signs including by gastric lavage, activated charcoal, maintenance of fluids and electrolytes balance, and using diazepam, pentobarbital, or general anaesthesia to control seizures [1] [3].


  1. Burrows GE, Tyrl RJ. Toxic plants of North America. Ames, Iowa: John Wiley & Sons; 2013. p. 1200-1201.
  2. Foster S, Caras RA, Peterson. Field guide to venomousanimals and poisonous plants. New York: Houghton Mifflin Co.; 1994. p. 170.
  3. Turkington C, Mitchell DR. Encyclopedia of poisons and antidotes. New York: Infobase Publishing; 2010. p. 114.
  4. Fuller TC. Poisonous plants of California. Los Angeles: University of California Press; 1986. p. 257.
  5. Nellis DW. Poisonous plants and animals of Florida and Caribbean. Sarasota, Florida: Pineapple Press; 1997. p. 77-78.
  6. Hanelt P. Mandfeld’s encyclopedia of agriculutral andhorticultural crops. Berlin: Springer Verlag; 2001. p. 1933.
  7. Quiros-Moran D. Guide to Afro-Cuban herbalism. Bloomington, Indiana: Author House; 2009. p. 207.
  8. The Plant List. Duranta erecta L. Ver1.1. c2013 [cited 2014 August 22]. Available from:
  9. Warren W, Invernizzi L. Tropical flowers. Singapore:  Periplus Editions (HK) Ltd; 1998. p. 57.

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