Localities documented in Tropicos sources
Colombia (South America)
Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
- Idárraga-Piedrahita, A., R. D. C. Ortiz, R. Callejas Posada & M. Merello. 2011. Flora de Antioquia. Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares, vol. 2. Listado de las Plantas Vasculares del Departamento de Antioquia. Pp. 1-939. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/100008595
Evolution and Systematics
The trunk of the half-mens plant is protected from damage by thirsty animals thanks to a covering of long spines.
"The half-mens [Pachypodium namaquanum], growing in the same [Namib] desert, has reduced its leaves to one small bunch sprouting from the top of a pillar-like trunk bristling all over with ranks of long spines that must deter many a thirsty animal from gnawing it in search of liquid." (Attenborough 1995:272)
Learn more about this functional adaptation.
- Attenborough, D. 1995. The Private Life of Plants: A Natural History of Plant Behavior. London: BBC Books. 320 p.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage
|Specimen Records:||1,804||Public Records:||1,061|
|Specimens with Sequences:||2,151||Public Species:||411|
|Specimens with Barcodes:||2,002||Public BINs:||0|
|Species With Barcodes:||537|
Locations of barcode samples
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2011)|
The Apocynaceae are a family of flowering plants that includes trees, shrubs, herbs, and lianas, commonly called the dogbane family. Members of the family are native to European, Asian, African, Australian and American tropics or subtropics, with some temperate members.
Many species are tall trees found in tropical rainforests, but some grow in tropical dry (xeric) environments. There are also perennial herbs from temperate zones. Many of these plants have milky latex, and many species are poisonous if ingested. Some genera of Apocynaceae, such as Adenium, have milky latex apart from their sap, and others, such as Pachypodium, have clear sap and no latex.
There are five subfamilies:
The former two subfamilies were part of the Apocynaceae sensu stricto, whilst the latter three subfamilies used to belong to the Asclepiadaceae. The Apocynaceae is the result of a conflation of the two families.
Species in this family are distributed mainly in tropical regions:
- In the rainforests and swamps of Indomalaya: small to very tall evergreen trees up to 80 m tall, often with buttress roots, such as Alstonia and Dyera
- In northern Australia: small evergreen trees such as Alstonia, Alyxia, Cerbera and Ochrosia
- In deciduous forests of Africa and India: smaller trees such as Carissa, Wrightia and Holarrhena
- In tropical America, India, Myanmar and Malaya: evergreen trees and shrubs, such as Rauvolfia, Tabernaemontana and Acokanthera
- In Central America: Plumeria, or the frangipani, with its waxy white or pink flowers and a sweet scent
- In South America, Africa and Madagascar: many lianas, such as Landolphia
- In the Mediterranean region: Nerium, with the well-known oleander or be-still tree (Nerium oleander)
- The only genera found in temperate Europe away from the Mediterranean are Vinca (Apocynoideae) and Vincetoxicum (Asclepiadoideae).
- In North America: Apocynum, dogbane or Indian hemp, including Apocynum cannabinum, a traditional source of fiber
- In continental southern Africa (Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe) and Madagascar, except for the humid evergreen forest of the eastern side of Madagascar, and never above 2000 m for the entire island: Pachypodium
The dogbane family consists of trees, shrubs, herbs, or lianas; most of them exuding milky latex if injured. The leaves are simple, usually opposite and decussate, or whorled; lacking stipules. Flowers are usually showy, actinomorphic, aggregated in cymose or racemose inflorescences (rarely fasciculate or solitary). They are perfect (bisexual), with a synsepalous, five-lobed calyx united into a tube at the base. Inflorescences are terminal or axillary. Five petals are united into a tube with four or five epipetalous stamens. The style is expanded at the apex into a massive clavuncle just below the stigma. The ovary is usually superior, bicarpellary, and apocarpous, with a common fused style and stigma.
The following genera used to belong to the family Asclepiadaceae:
- Asclepias (subfamily Asclepiadoideae)
- Periploca (subfamily Periplocoideae)
Several plants of this family had economic uses in the past.
The juice of Acokanthera species such as A. venenata and the milky juice of the Namibian Pachypodium has been used as venom for arrow tips by the Bushmen. Some sources state that Pachypodium do not produce a milky latex.
Several genera are grown as ornamental plants, including Amsonia (bluestar), Nerium (oleander), Vinca (periwinkle), Carissa (Natal plum, an edible fruit), Allamanda (golden trumpet), Plumeria (frangipani), Thevetia (lucky nut), Mandevilla (Savannah flower), Adenium (desert-rose).
Some are sources of important drugs, such as cardiac glycosides, which affect heart function. These include the Acokanthera, Apocynum, Cerbera, Nerium, Thevetia and Strophantus. Rauvolfia serpentina, or Indian Snakeroot, yields the alkaloids reserpine and rescinnamine, which are useful tools in the treatment of high blood pressure and even some forms of psychosis. Catharanthus roseus yields alkaloids used in treating cancer.
The aromatic juice of Saba comorensis (syn. Landolphia comorensis (Bojer ex A. DC.) K. Schum.), the Bungo or Mbungo fruit is popular and highly appreciated on Pemba Island and other parts of coastal Tanzania.
- Mary E. Endress and Peter V. Bruyns (2000). "A revised classification of the Apocynaceae s.l.". Botanical Review 66 (1): 1–56. doi:10.1007/BF02857781.
- Charles Bixler Heiser (2003). Weeds in my garden: observations on some misunderstood plants. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press. p. 50. ISBN 0-88192-562-4.
- S. H. J. V. Rapanarivo & A. J. M. Leeuwenberg (1999). "Taxonomic revision of Pachypodium Series of revisions of Apocynaceac XLVIII". In S. H. J. V. Rapanarivo. Pachypodium (Apocynaceae): Taxonomy, Habitats and Cultivation. Balkema. pp. 1–82. ISBN 978-90-5410-485-8. "... Adenium species have either clear sap or white latex. Pachypodium ... always has clear sap""
- "Saba comorensis in Agroforestree Database". web page. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
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