Family Elaeocarpaceae A P de Candolle 1824 nom conserv the Elaeocarpus Family

Physical description: The family Elaeocarpaceae is the most primitive family of the Malvales. It consists of 10 genera and 400 species of tropical trees, often containing indolizidine alkaloids derived from ornithine and oxygenated steroids known as cucurbitacins. In this family, the leaves are simple, often dark green and glossy on the surface alternate, simple, occasion-allysiphonostelic, minutelytoothed, and stipulate. The petiole is long and often bends near the base of the blade. The inflorescences are racemes, panicles or dichasial cymes. The flowers are regular, perfect and hypogynous. The calyx comprises of 3-11, free or connate sepals connate at the base, and

Indolizidine alkaloid of Elaeocarpaceae

valvate. The corolla comprises of 3-5 petals which are valvate and often fringed at the tip. Stamens are numerous and initiated in centrifugal sequence, and often organized into 5 antesepalous groups. The gynecium consists of a single or more carpels united into a compound ovary, each locule containing a pair or several ovules attached to axillary placentas. The fruits are capsules or glossy drupes.

Pharmaceutical interest: Elaeocarpaceae are interesting because they elaborate both indolizidine alkaloids and cucurbitacins. Indolizidine alkaloids have attracted a great deal of interest because of their ability to inhibit the enzymatic activity of glucosidases on account of a structural similitude with glucose. Hence, there is some potential in exploring them further in the treatment of HIV, diabetes and cancer. Cucurbitacins are oxygenated steroids with chemother-apeutic potential which have been so far found in the family Cucurbitaceae and Begoniaceae. Aceratium insu/are A.C., E/aeocarpus grandiflorus Smith., E/aeocarpus madopeta/us Pierre, E/aeocarpus petio/atus Wall., E/aeocarpus floribundus Bl., E/aeocarpus sphaericus (Gaertn.) K. Sch. and Mutingia ca/aruba are used medicinally in the Asia-Pacific.

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