Castanopsis cuspidata Thunb Schottky

[From Latin, castanopsis = chestnutlike and from cuspis = point]

Physical description: It is a timber which grows wild in China and Japan. The wood is of commercial value. The stems are blackish, lenticelled, smooth and glabrous. The bark yields tannins. Leaves: simple, spiral and stipulate. The stipules are dioecious. The petiole is 1.5 cm-1 cm long, obscurely channeled above, and swollen at the base. The blade is lanceolate, glossy, leathery, and 8.9cmx2.8cm-9cmx2.5cm.The margin is laxly toothed and recurved. The base of the blade is acute, asymmetrical, and the apex is acuminate in a 1 cm-2cm long tail. The blade shows 8-9 pairs of secondary nerves which are indistinct. The inflorescences are terminal spikes. The fruits are woody, globose. 1.4 cm long, velvety and scaly acorns (Fig. 53).

Common names: Japanese tanbark oak; ita-shii (Japanese)

Uses: In China, the bark of Castanopsis cuspidata (Thunb.) Schottky is used to treat ascite.

Fig. 53. Castanopsis cuspidata (Thunb.) Schottky. From: KLU Herbarium 21898. Ex. Herbario Kyotoensis. Flora of Japan. Botanical identification and field collectors: G. Murata & H. Tabata, 9 Aug 1974. Geographical localization: Ryuku (Pref. Okinawa). Isl. Iriomote: Shirahama. In evergreen forest near sea level.

Fig. 53. Castanopsis cuspidata (Thunb.) Schottky. From: KLU Herbarium 21898. Ex. Herbario Kyotoensis. Flora of Japan. Botanical identification and field collectors: G. Murata & H. Tabata, 9 Aug 1974. Geographical localization: Ryuku (Pref. Okinawa). Isl. Iriomote: Shirahama. In evergreen forest near sea level.

Pharmaceutical interest: The pharmacological potential of Castanopsis cuspidata (Thunb.) Schottky would certainly be worth exploring as an expanding body of evidence, suggesting the genus castanopsis to abound with antimicrobial and cytotoxic principles.

Antimicrobial properties: Galloylshikimates and galloylquinates isolated from Castanopsis hystrix inhibit the enzymatic activity of Human Immunodeficiency Virus type-1 reverse-transcriptase (Chang CW etal., 1995).The seeds of Castanopsis chinensis elaborate a 30KDa protein (20mg/10Kg of seeds) which alleviates Botrytis cinerea, Fusarium oxysporum, Mycosphaerella arachidi-cola, and Physalospora piricola, with an IC50 value of 0.5 mM against Fusarium oxysporum. This protein exhibits also a potent inhibitory activity on Human Immunodeficiency Virus type-1 reverse-transcriptase with IC50 valueof 1.6^M

(Chu KT etal., 2003). A root extract of Castanopsis cf evansii immobilizes brine shrimps at 100mg/mL (Horgen FD etal., 2001). A methanol extract of the stem and the root bark of Castanopsis acuminatissima shows a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity (Khan MR etal., 2001).

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