Monographs Details: Strychnos tabascana Sprague & Sandwith
Authority: Krukoff, Boris A. 1965. Supplementary notes on the American species of Strychnos VII. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 12: 1-94.
Family:Loganiaceae
Description:Distribution and Ecology - Honduras: Sta Barbara: Molina 3756 (F) ; Cortes 3652 (F), 3657 (F, GH); Atlantida: Standley 7723 (F). Costa Rica: Guanacaste (Naranjos Agrios, 600700 m), Standley & Valerio 46424 (US); Alajuela: San Carlos, Humberto Barquero M. 104, 105.This is the first record of the species from Sta Barbara and Cortes (Honduras) and Guanacaste (Costa Rica).Distribution: Mexico (Veracruz, Tabasco); British Honduras; Guatemala (Peten, Alta Verapaz, Izabal); Honduras (Sta Barbara, Cortes, Atlantida); Costa Rica (Guanacaste, San Jose, Alajuela). Doubtless found also in Nicaragua.

Discussion:Extensive collections of flowering and fruiting material throughout the range of S. panamensis and S. tabascana are needed for evaluation of these two entities. Mature fruits were described by us (1: 273) on the basis of Steyermark 39380 (F), whereas the seeds on the basis of Gentle 592 (F, Mich) and presently they are not available to me. On the basis of our description, I am placing this species in Ducke’s key which is based on the fruit characters (31: 53-57) together with eight other species of Longiflorae. For details see under S. Blackii. In Nueva Farmacopea Mexicana de la Soc. Farm. Mex. (6th ed., pp. 1-1184. 1952) under “Cabalonga de Tabasco” is given the following interesting information on this plant: “Mata-perros; Veneno del diablo. . . . Bosques inmediatos a San Juan Bautista (Tabasco). . . . Los principios importantes que contienen estas semillas, son la estricnina y la brucina, que existen, según el Professor Graham, en la proporción de 1.83%. . . . (“Breve estudio sobre la Cabalonga de Tabasco,’ por J. Graham y Ponz. Tesis para, el examen profesional de Farmacia, Mexico. 1892) Through the courtesy of Dr. Efren C. del Pozo (Mexico) I received a copy of a summary of a thesis of Sr. Jose Graham y Ponz published in La Farmacia (periodico de la Sociedad Farmacéutica Mexicana), Tomo III, No. 12, pp. 277282, Junio 15 de 1894 entitled “La Cabalonga de Tabasco.” The plant description leaves no doubt that the plant is S. tabascana. Below I will cite some of the information which is of interest: “Del estudio hecho por este Sr. y presentado como tésis para su examen profesional, tomamos los más interesante de èl, por tratarse de una planta indigena que contiene estricnina y brucina. . . . “La Cabalonga de Tabasco es conocida también con los nombres de Mataperros y Veneno del Diablo. Es una planta trepadora que crece con abundancia en casi todo el Estado de Tabasco y principalmente en los bosques de los cercanias de San Juan Bautista. . . . “Esta planta que se viene usando en Tabasco hace algún tiempo para matar perros (de aqui que le dén el nombre de Mata-perros), se usa también para destruir otra clase de animales que perjudican los intereses de los hacendados. Para verificar la intoxicación, machacan las semillas y mezclan después el polvo grueso obtenido con un pedazo de carne, que se hace en seguido comer á los animales que se trata de envenenar: al cabo de media hora, cuando mucho, comienza á obrar el principio activo de la Cabalonga de Tabasco, y pocos momentos después mueren los susodichos animales en medio de terribles convulsiones tetánicas. . ” The author claims that from the extract of seeds, he obtained “una masa cristalina un poco colorida en la que reconocila estricnina y la brucina por sus reacciones características. . . .” (1.83% of alkaloids in the seeds). Recently this species was located by us in Costa Rica (Finca Los Ensayos, San Carlos, Alajuela, at an elevation of about 3,000 ft., in a patch of virgin forest). Extensive material (root bark, as well as stem bark from the upper, medium and lower parts of the bush-rope) was collected and sent for chemical studies to Prof. G. B. Marini-Bettolo (Rome). This material is backed by herbarium specimens (Humberto Barquero M. No. 104,105). Up to date I was unable to obtain good supplies of seeds of S. tabascana and/ or S. chlorantha sufficient for the chemical and pharmacological testing. The first species is rather rare in the locality where it was located by us, whereas the second species appears to be a shy fruit bearer. We have succeeded however in collecting a very substantial quantity of seeds of S. panamensis (presently in the hands of Prof. Marini-Bettolo). The chemical work on these seeds will be of considerable interest. If strychnine and/or brucine will be found in these seeds, then Sr Jose Graham y Ponz will have to be given credit for the isolation of these alkaloids for the first time from an American species of Strychnos and in fact for the first isolation of alkaloids from the seeds of any American species of Strychnos.
Distribution:Mexico North America| Honduras Central America| Guatemala Central America| Honduras Central America| Costa Rica South America| Nicaragua Central America|