Strophanthus kombe Oliv., Hooker’s Icon. Pl. 11: t. 1098 1871.;

by Shiasta Ahmad (Id by Ken Greby, Tabish & J.M.Garg) (Inserted by J.M.Garg) & Ranjini Kamath (For more images & complete details,
click on the links) 



Kenya to S. Africa (as per WCSP)

Strophanthus kombe, the kombe arrow poison,[1] is a vine that grows in the tropical regions of Eastern Africa, and is part of the genus Strophanthus, which contains approximately 38 species. S. kombe contains a cardiac glycoside which directly affects the heart. Historically, both the seeds and roots of the plant were used in the preparation of poison arrowheads used for hunting. Today, the seeds are used pharmaceutically for patients with certain heart conditions that affect blood circulation. The seeds are traded primarily with Europe, but have also been exported to the United States and Japan.

Strophanthus kombe is found growing naturally in the tropical regions of southeast Africa. As it is not a commercially cultivated species, it principally occurs as wild plant. It is not typically seen growing outside of its native region, although specimens are sometimes collected from the wild to be grown in foreign botanical gardens.
Strophanthus kombe is usually found on an isolated hill known as a monadnock near water sources such as coastal forests, gallery forests, riparian thickets and woodlands. It is typically found at altitudes ranging from sea level to 1100m. It is usually found growing as vines in the forests between the coast and center of Africa.
Strophanthus kombe is a deciduous vine, that under solitary conditions can be found as a shrub. Most frequently, it occurs as a climbing vine that grows to the highest points on tall trees. It is seen curling on the ground and draping from tree to tree. It can grow up to 3.5 meters, with a stem that grows up to 10 cm in diameter. The bark is a reddish brown, with dark brown, grey or black lenticels. The roots are thick and fleshy. The papery leaves are simple, and found in opposite arrangement. The young leaves are exceptionally hairy on both sides, but as they age, the top of the leaves become smooth. One to twelve cream colored flowers can be found on the peduncle. They are narrowly ovate or linear and slightly unequal. The dichasial cyme inflorescence is on the terminal end of the plant.
The flower of Strophanthus kombe is an inflorescent, bisexual, fragrant flower. It is cream colored, yellow at the base with red spots and streaks inside. There is a thick layer of hair on the outside towards the top, while the inside of the flower has very few hairs. The stamen of the flower is found near the base of the corolla tube. The pistil contains a style a few millimeters in length, with a ring-like head surrounding a minuscule stigma. The fruit of the flower contains two follicles that narrow towards the apex and end in a knob of various sizes. It has two thick and hard-walled compartments containing many spindle shaped seeds.
Strophanthus kombe is known for its historical use as a source of arrow poison. Today it is used medicinally to treat heart failure. The plant has been used for two extremes, ending a life and saving a life, so proper dosage is crucial when using this plant medicinally. Cardiac glycosides extracted from the seeds reduce the heart rate but increase the force and efficiency of the contractions. Some glycosides can also be found in the roots and flowers. A mixture of glycosides known as strophanthin-k is found in the seeds. The purified compound is a white crystalline powder that is water-soluble and able to form into sugars under warm acidic conditions.
Precursors for a semi-synthetic compound known as acetylstrophanthidin are found within the seeds of Strophanthus kombe. When used clinically, this compound provides a rapid onset of vascular stimulant action.
(from Wikipedia on 9.3.16)



Strophanthus species for ID : 13 posts by 7 authors. Attachments (2)

I had seen these flowers in SP College campus Pune 5 years back, I don’t remember the ID told at that time.
After observing some recent posts this looks like Strophanthus species from Apocynaceae most likely Strophanthus kombe.
This was a planted by botany dept. a garden plant; of course non native. Somehow these were fallen on the ground and I don’t have any pictures of the leaves.
Basic size of the flower 2cm or so. The thread like segments of corolla around 30 cm.
… had posted similar flower on the group

This is so beautiful. I imagine, whats the significance of having such structure on flower. Just a very very very wild guess…..A POLLINATOR WHO LIKES ROPE CLIMBING hahahahha…. I meant a ground dwelling insect who can use this to climb on the flower…..Imaginations can be wild….no one can stop.

Strophanthus preussii??

This plant was shared earlier also by some one.
It is Strophanthus sp of family Apocynaceae.

it can be Strophanthus preussii Family: Apocynaceae
Poison arrow vine
Origin: Tropical West Africa

S gratus.

Thanks, … But the images at Strophanthus gratus look different.

Oh. I am sorry for being casual. It is S kombe. Thanks for reverting.

Here is the image for Strophanthus kombe with leaves. Attachments (1)




It was my pleasure to see this vine flowering at the garden yesterday (24.4.18).
I was searching for it for the past few years but had no idea of the location.
Thanks to … for confirming the id.

Ever seen this before? : 7 posts by 4 authors. Attachments (3)
We came across this weird looking flowering tree at Lal Bagh botanical garden in Bangalore. Can someone help in identification?

Flowers look like a Strophanthus species, but I really don’t know.

hmm…i saw some species of Srophanthus online. I has to be some
species of this one.

This should be Strophanthus kombe

ya.. even I was doubting it to be that. But the only thing bothering me is that this plant’s leaves were very hairy. And I came across the following pic on the web, which doesn’t show hairy leaves.
I didnt search enough, may be I’ll find some more information on this one.

Illustration of Strophanthus Kombé syn. Strophanthus hispidus at under link, certainly gives impression of leaves being hairy.

Shrub For Id-180609-RK-3 : 4 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (1)
Request Id of this shrub. Pic taken-Lalbagh, Bangalore-140609.

Possible ID provided for this plant by a friend- Strophanthus kombe. Fam: Apocynaceae. The 2nd part of this link is not appearing properly but i will give it anyway:  
Could also be S.grandiflorus?-Bose Chowdhury & Sharma.
Looking for validation.


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