Monographs Details: Strychnos solimoesana Krukoff
Authority: Krukoff, Boris A. 1965. Supplementary notes on the American species of Strychnos VII. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 12: 1-94.
Description:Distribution and Ecology - Brazil: Para: basin of Rio Tocantins (Remansão de Centro, Est Fer km 97), Froes 23586.Distribution: Known to date only from the basins of the upper Rio Solimoes and Rio Tonantins in the State of Amazonas and from the basin of Rio Tocantins in the State of Para, Brazil. Specimens from the basin of the upper Rio Negro, Amazonas are placed here with reservations. Doubtless occurs also in adjacent Colombia and Peru.
Discussion:This species was described in 1942 (1: 280) on the basis of excellent sterile material, consisting of many sheets collected from various parts of a mature bush-rope from the basin of the upper Rio Solimoes. As this species is very distinct in its vegetative characters, we had no hesitation in placing with it various other sterile collections from the same region, as well as from the basin of Rio Tonantins (State of Amazonas). In 1950 we placed with this species, also without hesitation, a sterile specimen collected in the basin of Rio Tocantins (State of Para), Froes 23551. Apparently old flowers and young fruits of this collection were available to Ducke but they were not seen by us as Ducke sent us a sterile specimen of this collection. According to Ducke, the plant belongs with Longiflorae and has axillary inflorescences, sessile anthers, pilose styles and corolla-tube pilose externally (31: 27). Ducke suggested its affinity with S. amazonica. On the basis of Ducke’s very incomplete description of its flowers quoted above, it is the fifth known species of Longiflorae with axillary inflorescences and with pilose styles. If its anthers are short (not ± 1.75 mm long and acuminate at base as in S. Jobertiana) then it should be placed with S. pseudo-quina, S. xinguensis and S. amazonica, where I am placing it tentatively in this paper.
Ducke is correct in stating that the collection of fertile material from the type locality (basin of the upper Rio Solimoes) as well as from the basin of Rio Tonantins, would be of considerable interest. As far as S. lethalis Barb. Rodr. is concerned, it is satisfactory that Ducke accepted our treatment of this name, as he refers to it as “the unidentifiable lethalis of Barb. Rodr.” (31: 58).
The fruits of this species are still unknown. It would be important to collect and describe mature fruits and seeds and place this species in the proper place in the key made by Ducke, which is based on the fruit characters (31: 53-57).
Ducke (31: 15) gives an interesting account of the use of this and certain other species by the Cauichanas on the Rio Tonantins in the preparation of curare: “Os cauichanas ao meu serviço consideravam solimoesana como a espécie melhor para fazer o veneno; na falta desta, tambien serviria Mitscherlichii.” For information concerning two other species used in the curare by the Cauichanas on Rio Tonantins, see under S. Jobertiana.
This species was studied chemically and pharmacologically by Berredo de Carneiro (78-82) who isolated two alkaloids (stricnoletaline and curaletaline). The plant was referred by him as “S. lethalis Barb. Rodr.” The above referred to work was done on bark of stems (Ducke s.n., Jard. Bot. Rio 22352) collected in the basin of Rio Tonantins, Amazonas, Brazil on Nov. 27, 1927 (31: 27). Therefore the samples were about 12 years old when they were studied chemically.
This species was studied also by Marini-Bettolo, Bovet and their coworkers (99). In their summary the authors state: “Studies of the quaternary alkaloids of S. solimoesana carried out by means of chromatographic methods have enabled the presence of 40 alkaloids to be demonstrated. Amongst those identified are Calebassine ( = toxiferine II = C-strychnotoxine I), Calebassinine, Curarme, Fluorocurinine, Fluorocurarine (= C-curarine III) and the alkaloids C, D, E, F, G. Furthermore through spectral data, R0 and chromatic reactions 14 new alkaloids were characterized and named: Premavacurine, Precurarine, Solimoesine I-III, Solimocurarine, Fluorosolimoesine I-IV, Rubrocurarine I-III.” The above referred to work was done on stem bark (Krukoff 7790) collected in 1936 in the basin of Igarape Belem, upper Rio Solimoes, Amazonas, Brazil and cited by us in (1: 281). According to a private communication from Marini-Bettolo the chemical studies of this species were carried on from April 1955 to April 1956 and therefore is a good proof that samples of stem bark of at least some of the American species of Strychnos dried in the sun immediately after the collection retain the alkaloids in long storage.
Distribution:Brazil South America
| Colombia South America
| Peru South America