HOME      •      SEARCH      •      EMAIL    •     ABOUT

Family Solanaceae
American brunfelsia
Brunfelsia americana

Scientific names Common names
Brunfelsia abbottii Leonard Aamerican brunfelsia (Engl.)
Brunfelsia americana Linn. Franciscan raintree (Engl.)
Brunfelsia fallax Duchass. ex Griseb. Lady of the night (Engl.)
Brunfelsia inodora Mart. Rain tree (Engl.)
Brunfelsia latifolia Steud. [Invalid]  
Brunfelsia terminalis Salisb.  
Brunfelsia violacea Lodd.  
Brunfeliopsis americana (L.) Urb.  
Brunsfelsia americana L. is as accepted name. The Plant List

General info
- Brunfelsia is a genus of flowering plants in the family Solanaceae, comprising about 50 species.
- Linnaeus named the genus for early German herbalist Otto Brunfels (1488-1534).

Brunfelsia is an erect, smooth shrub growing to a height of 3 to 4 meters. Leaves are simple, green to yellowish-green, elliptic to obovate, with entire margins, 5 to 10 centimeters long, pointed at both ends, crowded on the ultimate twigs. Flowers are fragrant, terminal or axillary, solitary or in pairs, shortly stalked, with five broad petals. Calyx is green, ovoid, 6 millimeters long and 5-toothed. Corolla tube is about 4.5 centimeters long, slender and straw-colored; the limb is white to yellow, oblique and unequally 5-lobed, about 5 centimeters in diameter. The fruit is rounded, about 1.5 centimeters in diameter, with a yellow and somewhat fleshy pericarp and containing numerous seeds.

- Recently introduced to the Philippines.
- Cultivated in Manila and other large towns for ornamental purposes.

- Introduced from tropical America.

- Phytochemical investigations have yielded steroids, flavonoids, tannins, and saponins.
- Yields normal fatty acids, and uncommon fatty acids such as ricinolic acid together with cyclopropenoids and normal fatty acids. (7) (5)
- Traces of cyanide have been found the leaves, flowers, bark of stem and root. Alkaloids and chlorogenic acid have been reported from leaves and stems. (8)
- Phytochemical analysis of methanolic extract of leaves yielded steroids, flavonoids, tannins and saponins, with absence of alkaloids, terpenoids, anthraquinones and cardiac glycosides. Total phenolic content was 0.814±0.002. (see study below) (4)

- Flowers emit a sweet scent with inebriating effects reminiscent of Brugmansia suaveolens. The fragrance emerges with the night and disappears with the dawn.
- Considered tonic, antioxidant, anti-diarrheal.

Parts used
- Fruit
- Propagated by stem cuttings.

- No recorded medicinal use in the Philippines.
- In Martinique, fruit is astringent, used as a tonic; the syrup used for chronic diarrhea.
- In French Guiana, sugary fruit made into an astringent syrup for diarrhea.

- Used for snake bites, arthritis, syphilis.

In a Bangladesh study evaluating the cytotoxicity activity 35 plant species by the brine shrimp lethality bioassay, the methanolic extract of Brunfelsia americana showed moderate cytotoxicity with LC50 less than 10.00 ug/ml. (2)
Antioxidant: The presence of antioxidant activity was detected using TLC-DPPH screening. DPPH radical scavenging activity of the extract and standard ascorbic acid IC50 vales were 310 µg/ml and 200 µg/ml, respectively. Reducing power assay confirmed radical scavenging activity. Study showed high level of antioxidant activity in the plant. (see constituents above) (4)
Unusual Fatty Acid in Seed Oil: Study of B. americana yielded ricinoleic acid together with cyclopropenoid and normal fatty acids. (5)

- Ornamental cultivation.

Updated July 2020 / October 2018 / March 2014

                                                  PHOTOS / ILLUSTRATIONS
IMAGE SOURCES: Flower of Brunfelsia americana / File:Brunfelsia americana flos.jpg / Andel Fruh / 18 Nov 2006 / Creative Commons Attribution / Modified by G Stuart / Wikimedia Commons
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE Line drawing: pre-Linnean illustration of Brunfelsia (species today known as Brunfelsia americana) / File:Brunfelsia plumier 1703.png / Charles Plumier / 1703 / Wikimedia Commons

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas (Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana)
Preliminary Cytotoxicity Screening of Some Medicinal Plants of Bangladesh / Mohammad Rahman et al / Dhaka Univ. J. Pharm. Sci. 7(1): 47-52, 2008 (June)

Pharmacognostic and physicochemical analysis on the leaves of Brunfelsia americana L.
/ R.S. Nisha Raj, P.M. Radhamany / Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, 2012; Supplement 2(1): pp S305-S307 / https://doi.org/10.1016/S2221-1691(12)60178-6
Preliminary phytochemical and in vitro antioxidant properties of Brunfelsia americana L / Raj, R. S. Nisha; Radhamany, P. M. / Journal of Pharmacy Research;Nov2010, Vol. 3 Issue 11: pp 2712
Unusual fatty acids in Brunfelsia americana seed oil: A rich source of oil / C D Daulatabad, K M Hosamani / Journal of the American Oil Chemists Society, Volume 68, Issue 8 , pp 608-609 / DOI 10.1007/BF02660163
Brunfelsia americana / Synonyms / The Plant List
Pharmacognostic and physicochemical analysis on the leaves of Brunfelsia americana L.
/ R.S. Nisha Raj, P.M. Radhamany / Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, 2012, S305-S307
Brunfelsia americana / Useful Tropical Plants
Brunfelsia / Wikipedia

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

                                                            List of Understudied Philippine Medicinal Plants

HOME      •      SEARCH      •      EMAIL