J Syst Evol ›› 1979, Vol. 17 ›› Issue (4): 7-20.

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A study of the alkaloids in Cephalotaxus and their bearing on the chemotaxonomic problems of the genus

Chu Tai-Ping   

  1.  (Institute of Botany, Academia Sinica)
  • Online:1979-11-18 Published:1979-11-18

Abstract: The family Cephalotaxaceae contains so far known only 1 genus with 8 species and possibly 2-3 varieties mostly native in China. In recent years, some ester alkaloids of Cephalotaxus have been shown significant activity in a variety of experimental leukemia systems. 6 species (including varieties) of the genus have been investigated for their alkaloids. The detected alkaloids in Cephalotaxaceous plants, from the chemotaxonomic point of view, may be of some significance to the plant systemstics. Our present study has indicated that: (1) The species C. sinensis and C. fortunei (C. oliveri ?) are chemically considered to be more primitive than others, while C. harringtonia, C. hainanensis and C. wilsoniana (including C. mannii?) seem to be derived. (2) Chemical evidence has suggested that the genus Cephalotaxus be accorded a family rank. (3) On the basis of morphology, anatomy, embryogeny, geographical distribution etc., the recent findings in the chemistry of Cephalotaxaceae support the inclusion of Cephalotaxaceae, Taxaceae and Podocarpaceae in Taxineae of Coniferales. (4) C. fortunei, C. hainanensis and C. oliveri (C. harringtonia) contain richer ester alkaloids than other species of the genus. C. fortunei which has a wide distribution and great amount in many provinces of China, may prove to be a good new resource for antitumor medicine.

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