Family Ancistrocladaceae Walpers 1851 nom conserv the Ancistrocladus Family

Physical description: The family Ancistrocladaceae is a little group of obscure woody climbers confined to the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia, India and Africa. The leaves are simple, lanceolate, leathery and stipulate. The flowers are small, bisexual, and paniculate with recurved branches. The calyx is tubular, 5-lobed and accrescent in fruits. The corolla comprises of 5 contorted petals. The andrecium comprises of 5-10 stamens. The gynecium comprises of 3 carpels forming an inferior and single-celled ovary which encloses a sub-basal ovule. The ovary shows 3 styles at the apex. The stigma is enlarged and lobed. The fruits are winged nuts containing a few seeds.

Pharmaceutical interest: Ancistrocladaceae are interesting because they produce naphthylisoquinoline alkaloids. These very unusual alkaloids have attracted a great deal of interest on account of their activity against Plasmodium falciparum, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and several sorts of cancer cell-lines. Ancistrocladus heyneanus, Ancistrocladus barteri and Ancistrocladus tectorius (Lour.) Merr., are used to treat malaria in several tropical countries.

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