Kopsia fruticosa Ker DC

[After J Kops, 1765-1849, the first editor of the Dutch Flora Batavia; and fruticosum = bush]

Common name: Kopsia.

Fig. 265. Kopsia fruticosa (Ker.) DC.

Physical description: It is shrub which grows to a height of 3 m tall. The plant is native to Burma, being an ornamental plant in the Asia-Pacific. The stems are ash-colored to white and laticiferous. Leaves: simple, few, without stipules, decussate, 8cm-20cm x 3cm-7cm, and yellowish green. The blade is elliptic, papery, and shows a distinct blunt apical tail marked at the apex by a gland. The blade shows 8-13 pairs of secondary nerves and a midrib sunken above and raised below. The flowers are showy, pink with a crimson throat, fading white and arranged in dense and terminal clusters. The corolla is tubular, with the tube being long and thin and developing 5 contorted lobes. The fruits consist of pairs of follicles which are triangular, 1 cm x 6 mm, finely hairy and dehiscent (Fig. 265).

Fig. 265. Kopsia fruticosa (Ker.) DC.

Harmane

Pleiocarpine

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Harmane

Pleiocarpine

Uses: In Malaysia, the pounded roots of Kopsia fruticosa (Ker.) DC. are used to heal syphilitic ulceration of the nose.

Pharmaceutical interest: Kopsia species have attracted a great deal of interest on account of their ability to elaborate series of monoterpenoid indole alkaloids (Kam T et al., 1999;

2004). Rhazinilam characterized from Kopsia singapurensis Ridley, stimulates in vitro the spiralization of tubulin in a way similar to vincristine but shows no activity in vivo. The cytotoxicity of vincristine is enhanced in a concentration-dependent manner in drug resistant KB cells by kopsiflorine (10 ^g/mL) characterized from Kopsia sp. (Rho MC et al., 1999). Injection of kopsingine (0.2 mg/Kg-10 mg/Kg) characterized from Kopsia teoi lowers the arterial blood pressure and heart rate in anesthetized spontaneously hypertensive rats in a manner similar to normotensive controls (Mok S et a/., 1998). Harmane, pleiocarpine and buchtienine from Kopsia griffithi are leishmaniacidal (Kam T eta/., 1999).

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