Information

What is this plant with white-spotted thorny leaves from Morocco?


What is this plant with white-spotted thorny leaves from Morocco? Photographed in spring.


The distinctive leaves identify the plant as Silybum marianum. It is a member of the plant family Asteraceae. It is commonly called "milk thistle". Originating in the Mediterranean region, it has now spread to many places around the world. The plant in your photo is immature at ground level. These links will give a better idea of the mature plant.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silybum_marianum

https://www.google.com/search?q=silybum+marianum&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiG46Kj6L7aAhWvpFkKHfYjA0AQ_AUICigB&biw=1097&bih=642


Xerophyte

A xerophyte (from Greek ξηρός xeros dry, φυτόν phuton plant) is a species of plant that has adaptations to survive in an environment with little liquid water, such as a desert or an ice- or snow-covered region in the Alps or the Arctic. Popular examples of xerophytes are cacti, pineapple and some Gymnosperm plants.

The structural features (morphology) and fundamental chemical processes (physiology) of xerophytes are variously adapted to conserve water, also common to store large quantities of water, during dry periods. Other species are able to survive long periods of extreme dryness or desiccation of their tissues, during which their metabolic activity may effectively shut down. Plants with such morphological and physiological adaptations are xeromorphic. [1] Xerophytes such as cacti are capable of withstanding extended periods of dry conditions as they have deep-spreading roots and capacity to store water. Their waxy, thorny leaves prevent loss of moisture. Even their fleshy stems can store water.


Evaluating ancient Egyptian prescriptions today: Anti-inflammatory activity of Ziziphus spina-christi

Background: Ziziphus spina-christi (L.) Desf. (Christ's Thorn Jujube) is a wild tree today found in Jordan, Israel, Egypt, and some parts of Africa, which was already in use as a medicinal plant in Ancient Egypt. In ancient Egyptian prescriptions, it was used in remedies against swellings, pain, and heat, and thus should have anti-inflammatory effects. Nowadays, Z. spina-christi, is used in Egypt (by Bedouins, and Nubians), the Arabian Peninsula, Jordan, Iraq, and Morocco against a wide range of illnesses, most of them associated with inflammation. Pharmacological research undertaken to date suggests that it possesses anti-inflammatory, hypoglycemic, hypotensive and anti-microbial effects. The transcription factor NF-κB (nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells) is critical in inflammation, proliferation and involved in various types of cancer. Identification of new anti-inflammatory compounds might be an effective strategy to target inflammatory disorders and cancer. Therefore, extracts from Z. spina-christi are investigated in terms of their anti-inflammatory effects. Our intention is to evaluate the effects of Z. spina-christi described in ancient Egyptian papyri, and to show whether the effects can be proven with modern pharmacological methods. Furthermore, we determine the active ingredients in crude extracts for their inhibitory activity toward NF-κB pathway.

Materials and methods: To determine the active ingredients of Z. spina-christi, we fractionated the extracts for bioassays and identified the active compounds. Epigallocatechin, gallocatechin, spinosin, 6''' feruloylspinosin and 6''' sinapoylspinosin and crude extracts of seed, leaf, root or stem were analyzed for their effect on NF-κB DNA binding by electromobility shift assay (EMSA) and nuclear translocation of NF-κB-p65 by Western blot analysis. The binding mode of the compounds to NF-κB pathway proteins was compared with the known inhibitor, MG-132, by in silico molecular docking calculations. Log10IC50 values of gallocatechin and epigallocatechin as two main compounds of the plant were correlated to the microarray-based mRNA expression of 79 inflammation-related genes in cell lines of the National Cancer Institute (NCI, USA) as determined. The expression of 17 genes significantly correlated to the log10IC50 values for gallocatechin or epigallocatechin.

Results: Nuclear p65 protein level decreased upon treatment with each extract and compound. Root and seed extracts inhibited NF-κB-DNA binding as shown by EMSA. The compounds showed comparable binding energies and similar docking poses as MG-132 on the target proteins.

Conclusion: Z. spina-christi might possess anti-inflammatory activity as assumed by ancient Egyptian prescriptions. Five compounds contributed to this bioactivity, i.e. epigallocatechin, gallocatechin, spinosin, 6''' feruloylspinosin and 6''' sinapoylspinosin as shown in vitro and in silico.

Keywords: Ancient Egyptian medicinal papyri Ethnopharmacology Inflammation Microarray Molecular docking Rhamnaceae.


Contents

The definition of symbiosis was a matter of debate for 130 years. [6] In 1877, Albert Bernhard Frank used the term symbiosis to describe the mutualistic relationship in lichens. [7] [8] In 1878, the German mycologist Heinrich Anton de Bary defined it as "the living together of unlike organisms". [9] [10] [11] The definition has varied among scientists, with some advocating that it should only refer to persistent mutualisms, while others thought it should apply to all persistent biological interactions (in other words, to mutualism, commensalism, and parasitism, but excluding brief interactions such as predation). In the 21st century, the latter has become the definition widely accepted by biologists. [12]

In 1949, Edward Haskell proposed an integrative approach with a classification of "co-actions", [13] later adopted by biologists as "interactions". [14] [15] [16] [17]

Obligate versus facultative Edit

Relationships can be obligate, meaning that one or both of the symbionts entirely depend on each other for survival. For example, in lichens, which consist of fungal and photosynthetic symbionts, the fungal partners cannot live on their own. [10] [18] [19] [20] The algal or cyanobacterial symbionts in lichens, such as Trentepohlia, can generally live independently, and their part of the relationship is therefore described as facultative (optional). [21]

Endosymbiosis is any symbiotic relationship in which one symbiont lives within the tissues of the other, either within the cells or extracellularly. [5] [22] Examples include diverse microbiomes: rhizobia, nitrogen-fixing bacteria that live in root nodules on legume roots actinomycetes, nitrogen-fixing bacteria such as Frankia, which live in alder root nodules single-celled algae inside reef-building corals and bacterial endosymbionts that provide essential nutrients to about 10%–15% of insects. [ citation needed ]

Ectosymbiosis is any symbiotic relationship in which the symbiont lives on the body surface of the host, including the inner surface of the digestive tract or the ducts of exocrine glands. [5] [23] Examples of this include ectoparasites such as lice commensal ectosymbionts such as the barnacles, which attach themselves to the jaw of baleen whales and mutualist ectosymbionts such as cleaner fish.

Competition Edit

Competition can be defined as an interaction between organisms or species, in which the fitness of one is lowered by the presence of another. Limited supply of at least one resource (such as food, water, and territory) used by both usually facilitates this type of interaction, although the competition may also exist over other 'amenities', such as females for reproduction (in the case of male organisms of the same species). [24]

Mutualism or interspecies reciprocal altruism is a long-term relationship between individuals of different species where both individuals benefit. [25] Mutualistic relationships may be either obligate for both species, obligate for one but facultative for the other, or facultative for both.

A large percentage of herbivores have mutualistic gut flora to help them digest plant matter, which is more difficult to digest than animal prey. [4] This gut flora is made up of cellulose-digesting protozoans or bacteria living in the herbivores' intestines. [26] Coral reefs are the result of mutualism between coral organisms and various types of algae which live inside them. [27] Most land plants and land ecosystems rely on mutualism between the plants, which fix carbon from the air, and mycorrhyzal fungi, which help in extracting water and minerals from the ground. [28]

An example of mutualism is the relationship between the ocellaris clownfish that dwell among the tentacles of Ritteri sea anemones. The territorial fish protects the anemone from anemone-eating fish, and in turn the stinging tentacles of the anemone protect the clownfish from its predators. A special mucus on the clownfish protects it from the stinging tentacles. [29]

A further example is the goby, a fish which sometimes lives together with a shrimp. The shrimp digs and cleans up a burrow in the sand in which both the shrimp and the goby fish live. The shrimp is almost blind, leaving it vulnerable to predators when outside its burrow. In case of danger, the goby touches the shrimp with its tail to warn it. When that happens both the shrimp and goby quickly retreat into the burrow. [30] Different species of gobies (Elacatinus spp.) also clean up ectoparasites in other fish, possibly another kind of mutualism. [31]

A non-obligate symbiosis is seen in encrusting bryozoans and hermit crabs. The bryozoan colony (Acanthodesia commensale) develops a cirumrotatory growth and offers the crab (Pseudopagurus granulimanus) a helicospiral-tubular extension of its living chamber that initially was situated within a gastropod shell. [32]

Many types of tropical and sub-tropical ants have evolved very complex relationships with certain tree species. [33]

Endosymbiosis Edit

In endosymbiosis, the host cell lacks some of the nutrients which the endosymbiont provides. As a result, the host favors endosymbiont's growth processes within itself by producing some specialized cells. These cells affect the genetic composition of the host in order to regulate the increasing population of the endosymbionts and ensure that these genetic changes are passed onto the offspring via vertical transmission (heredity). [34]

A spectacular example of obligate mutualism is the relationship between the siboglinid tube worms and symbiotic bacteria that live at hydrothermal vents and cold seeps. The worm has no digestive tract and is wholly reliant on its internal symbionts for nutrition. The bacteria oxidize either hydrogen sulfide or methane, which the host supplies to them. These worms were discovered in the late 1980s at the hydrothermal vents near the Galapagos Islands and have since been found at deep-sea hydrothermal vents and cold seeps in all of the world's oceans. [35]

As the endosymbiont adapts to the host's lifestyle, the endosymbiont changes dramatically. There is a drastic reduction in its genome size, as many genes are lost during the process of metabolism, and DNA repair and recombination, while important genes participating in the DNA-to-RNA transcription, protein translation and DNA/RNA replication are retained. The decrease in genome size is due to loss of protein coding genes and not due to lessening of inter-genic regions or open reading frame (ORF) size. Species that are naturally evolving and contain reduced sizes of genes can be accounted for an increased number of noticeable differences between them, thereby leading to changes in their evolutionary rates. When endosymbiotic bacteria related with insects are passed on to the offspring strictly via vertical genetic transmission, intracellular bacteria go across many hurdles during the process, resulting in the decrease in effective population sizes, as compared to the free-living bacteria. The incapability of the endosymbiotic bacteria to reinstate their wild type phenotype via a recombination process is called Muller's ratchet phenomenon. Muller's ratchet phenomenon, together with less effective population sizes, leads to an accretion of deleterious mutations in the non-essential genes of the intracellular bacteria. [36] This can be due to lack of selection mechanisms prevailing in the relatively "rich" host environment. [37] [38]

Commensalism describes a relationship between two living organisms where one benefits and the other is not significantly harmed or helped. It is derived from the English word commensal, used of human social interaction. It derives from a medieval Latin word meaning sharing food, formed from com- (with) and mensa (table). [25] [39]

Commensal relationships may involve one organism using another for transportation (phoresy) or for housing (inquilinism), or it may also involve one organism using something another created, after its death (metabiosis). Examples of metabiosis are hermit crabs using gastropod shells to protect their bodies, and spiders building their webs on plants.

In a parasitic relationship, the parasite benefits while the host is harmed. [40] Parasitism takes many forms, from endoparasites that live within the host's body to ectoparasites and parasitic castrators that live on its surface and micropredators like mosquitoes that visit intermittently. Parasitism is an extremely successful mode of life about 40% of all animal species are parasites, and the average mammal species is host to 4 nematodes, 2 cestodes, and 2 trematodes. [41]

Mimicry is a form of symbiosis in which a species adopts distinct characteristics of another species to alter its relationship dynamic with the species being mimicked, to its own advantage. Among the many types of mimicry are Batesian and Müllerian, the first involving one-sided exploitation, the second providing mutual benefit. Batesian mimicry is an exploitative three-party interaction where one species, the mimic, has evolved to mimic another, the model, to deceive a third, the dupe. In terms of signalling theory, the mimic and model have evolved to send a signal the dupe has evolved to receive it from the model. This is to the advantage of the mimic but to the detriment of both the model, whose protective signals are effectively weakened, and of the dupe, which is deprived of an edible prey. For example, a wasp is a strongly-defended model, which signals with its conspicuous black and yellow coloration that it is an unprofitable prey to predators such as birds which hunt by sight many hoverflies are Batesian mimics of wasps, and any bird that avoids these hoverflies is a dupe. [42] [43] In contrast, Müllerian mimicry is mutually beneficial as all participants are both models and mimics. [44] [45] For example, different species of bumblebee mimic each other, with similar warning coloration in combinations of black, white, red, and yellow, and all of them benefit from the relationship. [46]

Amensalism is an asymmetric interaction where one species is harmed or killed by the other, and one is unaffected by the other. [47] [48] There are two types of amensalism, competition and antagonism (or antibiosis). Competition is where a larger or stronger organism deprives a smaller or weaker one of a resource. Antagonism occurs when one organism is damaged or killed by another through a chemical secretion. An example of competition is a sapling growing under the shadow of a mature tree. The mature tree can rob the sapling of necessary sunlight and, if the mature tree is very large, it can take up rainwater and deplete soil nutrients. Throughout the process, the mature tree is unaffected by the sapling. Indeed, if the sapling dies, the mature tree gains nutrients from the decaying sapling. An example of antagonism is Juglans nigra (black walnut), secreting juglone, a substance which destroys many herbaceous plants within its root zone. [49]

Amensalism is often used to describe strongly asymmetrical competitive interactions, such as between the Spanish ibex and weevils of the genus Timarcha which feed upon the same type of shrub. Whilst the presence of the weevil has almost no influence on food availability, the presence of ibex has an enormous detrimental effect on weevil numbers, as they consume significant quantities of plant matter and incidentally ingest the weevils upon it. [50]

Cleaning symbiosis is an association between individuals of two species, where one (the cleaner) removes and eats parasites and other materials from the surface of the other (the client). [51] It is putatively mutually beneficial, but biologists have long debated whether it is mutual selfishness, or simply exploitative. Cleaning symbiosis is well known among marine fish, where some small species of cleaner fish, notably wrasses but also species in other genera, are specialised to feed almost exclusively by cleaning larger fish and other marine animals. [52]


Zanthoxylum humile

The hairy knobwood is dressed in a layer of short, grey hairs along its branches and armed with dark, sharp thorns, as if it is fully aware of its medicinal properties and is preventing everyone from overexploiting it. This plant has phytochemical properties capable of treating common wounds, snakebites, sore throats and even the worst pain, the toothache! A small but confident shrub, portraying a ‘bring-it-on’ attitude they are not afraid of being browsed by game, for they can browse at their own risk. The plant thrives in open woodland of the KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga Provinces and extends as far as Zimbabwe and Mozambique. With such a distribution range to cover, the plant decided to split into two, with male plants only yielding flowers and distinguished from the females which bear both flowers and fruits. It is not concerned much about its looks, with the branches appearing a bit scattered and making it not the most ideal potted plant.

Description

Description

A deciduous, suckering subshrub, reaching a maximum height of 3 m, with scattered branches. The branches are armed with thorns and both the branches and leaf stalks are covered with grey hairs, becoming smooth. The plant has compound, opposite-alternate leaves measuring up to 160 mm long, with 4–14 pairs of leaflets and one unpaired leaflet at the tip. The leaves are strong smelling.

Zanthoxylum humile is a dioecious plant, meaning that it bears male and female flowers on separate trees. Flowering takes place in spring to summer. Flowers are scented, greenish yellow, in a raceme inflorescence, in which the flowers are borne vertically on the same stalk. The plant produces a smooth, gland-dotted fruit, red-orange when ripe, which splits in half to release a shiny black seed.

Conservation Status

Status

According to the Red List of South African plants, Zanthoxylum humile is assessed as Least Concern (LC).

Distribution and habitat

Distribution description

Zanthoxylum humile is found in open montane woodland of KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Mpumalanga Provinces (Germishuizen & Meyer 2003). It extends towards the southeastern parts of Zimbabwe (Schmidt et al. 2002). It is also recorded in Mozambique (Ribiero et al. 2010). The plant is capable of surviving on poorly drained, loamy soil, in open full sun.

Derivation of name and historical aspects

History

Zanthoxylum is derived from the Greek words, xanthos, which means ‘yellow’ and xylon, ‘wood’, given to the genus because several species have a yellow wood, and humile, means ‘lower’ or ‘humbly’, in reference to the height of the plant.

The genus Zanthoxylum has a wide distribution around the world, in warm, temperate and subtropical regions, making it one of the largest genera in the Rutaceae family, with 212 species (Nhiem et al. 2019). There are several other noteworthy species possessing medicinal properties, such as Zanthoxylum amartum, Z. americana, Z. capense, Z. ekmanii, Z. monogynum, Z. nitidium, Z. ovalifolium, Z. panamense, Z. rhoifolium, Z. setulosum, Z. sprucei and Z. zynthoxyloides. This genus has been extensively studied and has a wide range of chemical compounds, with much interest placed on its alkaloid compounds. Alkaloids possess the following biological activities: antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antimalarial, antiviral, and cytotoxic activities (Nhiem et al. 2019). In Kenya, the leaves and roots of Zanthoxylum gilletii are used to treat both breast and skin cancers (Ochwang et al. 2014). Zanthoxylum fruits are used in Cameroon to treat anemia disease and sickle erythrocytes. The use of Zanthoxylum fruits is also noted in India and southern Japan for chemopreventive effects (Lee & Lim 2011). In southern Africa, Zanthoxylum capense (small knobwood) is used to treat chronic cough (Semenya & Maroyi 2012), stomachache, toothache, infertility, snake bites and also as a paste to treat sores by Zulu people (Hutchings 1996 Kondlo 2012). The phytochemical screening of Z. humile has tested positive for the presence of alkaloids, coumarins, flavonoids, glycosides, saponins and terpenoids validating its medicinal use (Papo 2017). The presence of these compounds in several members of the genus were also highlighted by Nhiem et al. (2019).

Ecology

Ecology

The leaves of Zanthoxylum humile are browsed by game, such as kudu, klipspringer and grey duiker. The fruits are eaten by various bird species, resulting in the dispersal of the seeds.

In Limpopo Province, the Ga-Mashashane people use the root bark of Zanthoxylum humile to treat colds, flu and sore throat (Papo 2017). The plant is used to treat impotence by the Bapedi traditional healers (Semenya & Maroyi 2013). In Zimbabwe, a root decoction is used to treat erectile dysfunction, diarrhea, hypertension and diabetes (Dzomba & Gwizangwe 2013). In Mozambique, the root bark is used to treat toothache and applied topically for wounds and burns (Ribiero et al. 2010).

Growing Zanthoxylum humile

It is not often seen in cultivation and little is known on the propagation and cultivation of Zanthoxylum humile. The seeds are recalcitrant, and difficult to germinate. Harvest the seeds in autumn, when the fruits split open, and sow them as soon after harvesting as possible. Soak the seeds in a bit of hydrochloric acid, about 15% volume with distilled water, for about 15 to 20 minutes (G. Nichols pers. comm. 2021). Scratch the outer coat of the seed with sandpaper, without harming the embryo inside, this mimics the digestive system of a bird and weakens the seed coat (G. Nichols pers. comm. 2021). Soak the seeds in lukewarm water for 24 hours (Onszaden n.d). Sow in a well-drained, fertile soil medium, a mix of 1:1 sand and leaf-litter is recommended by Geoff Nichols. Place the seed tray at 20–25ºC. Keep the soil moist. Expect 50 to 70% germination, some should come up in just over a week, and the rest a week or so later (G. Nichols pers. comm. 2021). Transplant the seedlings when they reach the 2-leaf stage.

Instead of treating with acid, one could try cold treatment, as is used for Z. piperitum (Japanese pepper), where, after scratching and soaking the seeds, the sown tray is placed in a fridge for 3 months (Onszaden n.d).

Plant into the garden in spring or summer, in well-drained, fertile soil, in full sun. The plant is probably hardy, drought resistant, pest free and easy to grow with little pruning required (Burncoose Nurseries n.d.).

Take note that it is a devilish plant, with spines strong enough to pierce clothing and soft shoes. But, it is a good wildlife-friendly plant, feeding game and birds, and gives good muthi (G. Nichols pers. comm. 2021).

References

  • Burncoose Nurseries. Zanthoxylum piperitum purple-leaved. https://www.burncoose.co.uk. Accessed on 2021/04/15.
  • Dzomba, P. & Gwizangwe, I. 2013. TLC separation, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activity of extracts derived from Zanthoxylum humile roots. International Journal of Research in Ayurveda and Pharmacy 4(4): 482–486.
  • Foden, W. & Potter, L. 2005. Zanthoxylum humile (E.A.Bruce) P.G.Waterman. National Assessment: Red List of South African plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2021/04/12.
  • Germishuizen, G. & Meyer, N.L. (eds) 2003. Plants of southern Africa: an annotated checklist. Strelitzia 14. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
  • Hutchings, A., Scott, A.H., Lewis, G. & Cunningham, A.B. 1996. Zulu medicinal plants: an inventory. University of Natal Press, Pietermaritzburg.
  • Kondlo, M. 2012. Zanthoxylum capense (Thunb.) Harv. (Rutaceae). PlantzAfrica. Online. http:// http://pza.sanbi.org/zanthoxylum-capense
  • Lee, J. & Lim, K.T. 2011. Inhibitory effect of phytoglycoprotein (24 kDa) on hepatocarcinogenesis in Nnitrosodiethylamine-treated ICR mice. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology 63: 840–848.
  • Nhiem, N.X. et al. 2020. Alkaloids and their pharmacology effects from Zanthoxylum genus. In K. Sharma, et al. (Eds.), Bioactive compounds in nutraceutical and functional food for good human health. IntechOpen. DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.91685.
  • Ochwang’I, D.O., et al. 2014. Medicinal plants used in treatment and management of cancer in Kakamega County, Kenya. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 151: 1040–1055.
  • Onszaden. Winter Hardy Japanese Pepper (Zanthoxylum piperitum). https://onszaden.com/zanthoxylum_piperitum. Accessed on 2021/04/15.
  • Papo, L.A. 2017. The ethnobotanical, antimicrobial and phytochemical screening of selected medicinal plants from Ga-Mashashane, Limpopo, South Africa. M.Sc. Dissertation, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg.
  • Rajamani, P. et al. 2011. Chemoprotective influence of Zanthoxylum on hepatic carcinogen metabolizing and antioxidant enzymes and skin papillomagenesis in murine model. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology 49: 857–863.
  • Ribeiro, A. et al. 2010. Ethnobotanical survey in Canhane Village, district of Massingir, Mozambique: medicinal plants and traditional knowledge. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 6: 33.
  • Schmidt, E., Lötter, M. & McCleland, W. 2002. Trees & shrubs of Mpumalanga and Kruger National Park. Jacana, Johannesburg.
  • Semenya, S. et al. 2013. Herbal medicines used by Bapedi traditional healers to treat reproductive ailments in the Limpopo Province, South Africa. African Journal of Traditional, Complementary Alternative Medicines 10(2): 331–339

Credits

Lesiba Papo
National Herbarium, Pretoria
May 2021

Acknowledgements: The author thanks Geoff Nichols for sharing his knowledge on the cultivation of this plant species.

Images by: Fraser Gear, Geoff Nichols, Penny English and Troos van der Merwe, as credited.


Noaea mucronata (thorny saltwort)

N. mucronata is an invasive species of arid and semi-arid rangelands within its native range, notably in parts of North Africa (Egypt and Morocco,) and the Middle East (Iraq, Iran and Syria). New records at the limit of its range may indi.

There are no pictures available for this datasheet

If you can supply pictures for this datasheet please contact:

Compendia
CAB International
Wallingford
Oxfordshire
OX10 8DE
UK
[email protected]

Don't need the entire report?

Generate a print friendly version containing only the sections you need.

Identity

Preferred Scientific Name

Preferred Common Name

Other Scientific Names

International Common Names

Local Common Names

Summary of Invasiveness

N. mucronata is an invasive species of arid and semi-arid rangelands within its native range, notably in parts of North Africa (Egypt and Morocco,) and the Middle East (Iraq, Iran and Syria). New records at the limit of its range may indicate further spread (e.g. in southern Russia). It is spiny and generally unpalatable. It increases in frequency and spreads following overgrazing, and its relative dominance is used as an indicator of poor rangeland management and land degradation. It is a little studied species not yet introduced to other areas, but of high potential risk if accidentally introduced, as has been seen with similar invasive rangeland plants.

Taxonomic Tree

  • Domain: Eukaryota
  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Phylum: Spermatophyta
  • Subphylum: Angiospermae
  • Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Order: Caryophyllales
  • Family: Chenopodiaceae
  • Genus: Noaea
  • Species: Noaea mucronata

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Noaea mucronata (Forssk.) Aschers. & Schweinf. is a well-defined species, and the only synonym appears to be Noaea spinosissima L. recorded by Flora Europaea (Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2009). Subspecies are very rarely mentioned in the literature, with the type Noaea mucronata subsp. mucronata, and a single record of subsp. tournefortii (Kaya et al., 2009). Its common name in English is the thorny saltwort, though it is also referred to as the bedouin sirr.

Description

N. mucronata is a low, much-branched shrub, 20-50 (-75) cm high, with stems hardened at their base. Branches rigid, spine tipped though with no stipules. Leaves 0.5-1.0 (-1.5) cm long, glabrous, alternate and very narrow, cylindrical or terete, filiform and mucronate. Flowers are green, hermaphrodite, solitary and axillary, situated at the axils of the leaves. Perianth segments 5 (3 outer and 2 inner), around 4 mm long, all developing a transverse wing on the back in the white-reddish fruit with wings 3-6 mm, obovate or obovate- to circular with irregularly toothed margin. Stamens 5, stigmas 2. Seeds vertical.

Plant Type

Distribution

The native range appears to include much of the Mediterranean basin, including the whole coastal region of North Africa, southeastern Europe, Turkey and West Asia, and is also present in Crete and the East Aegean islands (University of Reading, 2006). It is widespread in Iran, noted in Isfahan (Mirghaffari, 2005) and Yazd Province ( Maybodi and Arzani, 2005 Maybodi et al., 2007), and as far east as Turkmenistan (Missouri Botanical Garden, 2009). At the southern extremes of its range, it is present in eastern Saudi Arabia and the mountains of Oman (Ghazanfar and Fisher, 1998), and thus may also be expected to be present in the United Arab Emirates. In addition, noting its presence across North Africa, it is also likely to be present in Tunisia though no records could be found.

It was first recorded in southern Russia in 2000 (Mavrodiev and Sukhorukov, 2000), the most northerly record. A record from Equatorial Guinea from 1912 (Missouri Botanical Garden, 2009) is considered here as an error, noting its preferences for dry Mediterranean climates. That Gintzburger et al. (2003) did not include it in a thorough analysis of rangelands plants from Uzbekistan, indicates that it is not present in that country.

Distribution Table

The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Africa

Europe

History of Introduction and Spread

Dominance of N. mucronata in areas within its native range has been reported as a relatively new phenomenon, e.g. in Syria (Sankary, 1982), Iraq (Zakirov, 1989) and Israel (Noy-Mier, 1990). It is uncertain whether recent records in southern Russia refer to first records of it as a native species, or from its spread or introduction to the region. However, acknowledging the expertise of Russian taxonomists and specialists in range management who would have recorded it if they found it, it appears that it is a recent arrival.

Risk of Introduction

There is a strong risk of N. mucronata becoming an invasive species in rangelands in non-tropical dry areas where it is not yet present, and dry Mediterranean-type climates in general. At risk may be areas in Central Asia, Australia, North and South America, southern Africa and South and East Asia. From the same family, the related Salsola vermiculata is already an invasive plant in drylands of California, USA, introduced as a palatable range species. In addition, Alhagi maurorum is also native to sympatric areas and has also proved to be highly invasive where introduced. Other similar perennial shrubs/sub-shrubs that are also considered as ‘invasive’ by some range managers within its native range (M Louhachi, ICARDA, Syria, personal communication, 2010), and thus also pose a risk if introduced, include: Anabasis syriaca, Capparis spinosa, Haloxylon articulataum, Pergamum harmala, Poterium spinosum and Prosopis farcta. Herb and grass species also noted as having ‘invasive’ tendencies in its native range include: Aegilops triuncialis, Asphodelus microcarpus, Carex stenophylla, Centaurea coronopifolia, Gundelia tournefortii, Euphorbia macroclada, Halogeton glomeratus, Hypericum triquetrifolium and Zygophyllum fabago.

Habitat

N. mucronata is a typical s hrub in many arid and semi-arid steppes in the south and east of the Mediterranean basin. It is commonly found in the Mesopotamian and Maghribian sub-provinces of the Irano-Turanian chorotype (Gintzburger et al., 2003). In Israel, it is found in Mediterranean woodlands and shrublands, semi-steppe shrublands, shrub-steppes, deserts and extreme deserts, and even in the montane vegetation of Mount Hermon (Flora of Israel, 2009), which may be typical of habitats elsewhere in its range.

Habitat List

CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial ManagedManaged grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedManaged grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Principal habitat Natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalScrub / shrublands Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalDeserts Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalArid regions Present, no further details Natural
Littoral Coastal areas Present, no further details Natural
Littoral Coastal dunes Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural

Biology and Ecology

It can tolerate poor desert soils or a variety of types from sands to clays, and stony and/or thin soils. It is tolerant of alkaline soils, and of ten species tested by Morsy et al. (2008), it was the best performer at pH 8.5. It is also resistant to salinity and can dominate in saline soils.

Climate

ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
BS - Steppe climate Preferred > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
BW - Desert climate Preferred < 430mm annual precipitation
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Tolerated Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

Air Temperature

Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) -15
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 5 20
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 10 30
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 10 20

Rainfall

ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration612number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall100400mm lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

Soil Tolerances

Soil drainage

Soil reaction

Soil texture

Special soil tolerances

Means of Movement and Dispersal

No literature has been found that has specifically studied means of movement and dispersal, and there are no records of intentional introduction.

Impact Summary

Environmental Impact

Studies have shown that chronic and intensive grazing of semi-arid rangelands can have significant negative impacts on plant community structure and decrease total plant cover. This degradation often leads to an increase in the frequency of undesirable (toxic or unpalatable) species, weed invasion, sharp declines in plant biomass production and a loss of species diversity (Louhaichi et al., 2009). Thus, invasion of weeds such as N. mucronata is a symptom of overgrazing, but such plants could also play a role in the dynamic ecology that may have direct or indirect impacts on other species.

In Morocco, the important protein-rich range species S. vermiculata, whose presence indicates good grazing land, became reduced in extent during the 1970s and 1980s due to over-exploitation and conversion of rangelands to agriculture, and N. mucronata is most abundant thorny shrub, with its extent increasing in over-grazed areas (Fagouri et al., 1996).

Risk and Impact Factors

  • Invasive in its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Damaged ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Loss of medicinal resources
  • Modification of fire regime
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Monoculture formation
  • Negatively impacts cultural/traditional practices
  • Negatively impacts animal health
  • Negatively impacts livelihoods
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Interaction with other invasive species
  • Produces spines, thorns or burrs

The plant is widely used as a fuel for cooking and heating (Al-Oudat et al., 2005). Its value for such purposes is largely due to there being very little other woody biomass available in such rangeland areas, all the other trees and shrubs having already been removed. Also, in such over-exploited regions, N. mucronata increases in frequency, is desirable, and is thus a ‘free’ resource.

Pharmacological effects of N. mucronata have also been studied in Egypt (El-Eraky, 2001), and N. mucronata is included in a list of medicinal plants of Saudi Arabia (Moussa, 1987).

Uses List

Animal feed, fodder, forage

Fuels

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

Prevention and Control

Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

The effects of two-decade exclusion on vegetation steppic rangelands in Iran, found that the cover and density of N. mucronata was significantly greater in grazed areas ( Maybodi et al., 2007), supporting the hypothesis that it is a good indicator of overgrazing. Sankary (1982) and Deiri (1990) assumed that this shift in floral composition towards dominance by N. mucronata in Syrian rangelands was the result of overgrazing and poor management, and that a reduction in grazing pressure would lead to the return of a climax community dominated by the palatable shrub Salsola vermiculata.

However, this simple cause and effect hypothesis, of overgrazing leading to increases in N. mucronata density, was questioned by Rae et al. (2001) in Syria, who proposed that rather than being due to overgrazing, the increase in N. mucronata is a result of changes in the composition of livestock types grazing the steppe (camels, goats, sheep), coupled with the adoption and widespread use of hand feeding during winter . However, the evidence they cited that questioned the validity of the widely accepted range succession models in arid environments, comprised of two small trials reported in unpublished FAO reports from 1966 and 1967, and the results of a single study in Israel (Noy-Mier, 1990). Nonetheless, the authors of Rae et al. (2001) also draw from much personal experience in range management, and the discussions provide interesting counter-arguments to commonly held views.


Orange Blossom in Morocco and Tunisia

A flower whose scent and flavor are an indelible part of our collective memory, the orange blossom occupies a central role in the history of Western perfumery.
Originating from the southern slopes of the Himalayas, the bigarade or bitter orange tree was probably first cultivated more than 2,000 years ago in China, where it was valued as an ornamental tree for the delicate fragrance of its flowers.
From Asia, this precious plant was brought to the shores of the Mediterranean, whose soils and climate suited it to perfection. In the footsteps of the Arab conquest it was spread throughout the entire region, especially in Spain, where it still adorns the lanes and gardens of Seville.
As early as the 14th century, the very first perfume recipes called for orange blossom, and by the 17th century its sweet, mellow fragrance was highly prized in the French court. Louis XIV had the architect Mansart build an orangery in Versailles in order to enjoy the subtle odor of its flowers in the spring. Anne Marie de La Trémoille, wife of the Prince of Nerola, loved its fragrance so much that the essence of orange blossom, neroli, was named after her.

..the flower of the mediterranean

The first known instances of orange blossom distillation in Europe date from the 16th century. A milestone came in the late 18th century, when neroli, combined with petitgrain and bergamot, inspired the first cologne, the famous Eau de Cologne 4711.
Soon after, the first orange groves for perfumery were planted in southeastern France around the city of Grasse, and thrived until the mid-20th century. Today the bigarade orange tree is grown mainly in northern Africa, in Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt.
Every part of this marvelous tree is a source of aromatic pleasure: its flowers, leaves, fruit and zest are used in floral waters, infusions and essential oils for myriad purposes ranging from personal care to fragrance, from cuisine to aromatherapy. In these pages we invite you on an adventure, to discover a flower with an eternally enchanting fragrance.

The promise of springtime

A spring flower, the orange blossom makes its appearance only after the cold of winter, which plays an indispensable role in its life cycle. In April the first buds emerge, turning the tree branches white.

A fresh, delicate flower

As the flowers bloom, their vibrant fragrance marks the first sunny days of the year. The air fills with a zesty floral odor, subtle but penetrating.

A generous tree

A hardy, robust plant, the bitter orange tree, Citrus aurantium var. amara, offers an extraordinary abundance of riches. The bitter pulp of its fruit is used to make the marmalades beloved by the British. Its zest, pressed to yield bigarade oil, flavors liqueurs like Grand Marnier. Its leaves contain an essential oil called petitgrain, and its blossoms are gently distilled to produce neroli and orange floral water.

A well-traveled tree

Originally native to the foothills of the Himalayas, the bitter orange tree was brought west by Arab travelers and the Muslim conquest, first to Syria and Egypt, and then the entire Mediterranean Basin. Eventually it arrived in southeastern France, although its exact route is not known.

From Grasse to North Africa

For nearly a century, until the 1950s, Grasse was a center of neroli oil production. With the first days of spring, the sweet odour of orange blossom wafted across the rolling countryside.
In 1956 a severe frost killed most of the Provençal orange groves, hastening the decline of French production, and the market was gradually taken over by North African growers.

North Africa, the bitter orange tree’s adopted homeland

Already in the early 20th century, French perfumers seeking warmer climates with less frequent frosts began planting bitter orange trees in North Africa, mainly in Morocco and Tunisia. Oranges were also grown in Egypt, but not on such a large scale — the trees there were mostly cultivated by the English for the production of marmalade.

A domesticated plant

Despite its hardiness, as evidenced by the sharp thorns that naturally cover its branches, the bitter orange tree is grafted with varieties bearing evocative names like Bouquetier de Nice (“Niçois bouquet maker”) and Bigarade à Fleur Empereur (“emperor blossom bitter orange”).

A flower worth waiting for

After the tree is planted, it takes at least five years before the first flowers can be harvested, and five more years to reach full productivity. With regular tending, the trees can continue bearing blossoms and fruit for more than 40 years.

An intensive harvest

Grouped in clusters, the buds open one by one during the monthlong blossoming period. The flower pickers go over each tree four or five times, picking the blossoms as they open and leaving the buds for later.

In Tunisia, orange groves by the sea

The Nabeul region, 60 kilometers (40 miles) from Tunis and not far from the sea, offers a warm, humid climate that is ideal for the bitter orange tree.

Small plots of land

In local tradition, each family has its own small orange grove, lovingly tended for the blossoms. As a result, the Tunisian crop comes from a multitude of very small growing operations, with an average of 40 trees. Cultivated without grafting, the trees grow tall, obliging the harvesters to use ladders to pick the blossoms.

The flower market

In the morning, the freshly picked flowers fill the market squares, where traders, after fierce haggling, gather up large bundles for delivery to the distillation sites. Many Tunisians also buy orange blossoms at the market to make floral water for their own household use.

In Morocco, orange trees between the Atlantic and the Atlas Mountains

Morocco’s green belt, between Fez and Marrakech, is home to the largest bitter orange plantations. Every year the warm breezes from the Atlantic Ocean clash with the cold air from the Atlas highlands, making it impossible to predict when the first blossoms will appear.

Integrated growing operations

Most of the handful of factories that produce neroli have their own orange groves. Biolandes tends 50 hectares (125 acres) of bitter orange trees in Khemisset.

A smooth organization, run by women

Well before sunrise, the women are ready for a day of picking. The buses that take them to the orange groves begin swarming the roads at dawn. At the height of the harvest, up to 1,200 women work at the Biolandes site in Khemisset.

A fast-paced day in the orange groves

The harvesters work in teams of three or four. The youngest one climbs the tree while the others pluck the blossoms from the low branches. Tarpaulins are spread out around the trunk to catch the picked flowers. Any leaves that fall among them must be carefully sorted out — at the factory, no trace of petitgrain oil from the leaves can be allowed to alter the neroli oil from the blossoms.

Hard work and tea breaks

The women pause for a cup of mint tea at the edge of one grove before continuing onto the next. For them, the orange blossom harvest is also an opportunity to chat for a while and socialize.

From the fields to the factory

Twice a day, at noon and in the early evening, bags of blossoms are trucked from the fields directly to the factory. Or, if the factory is nearby, the tarps themselves are delivered as soon as they are full.

Weighing, and compensation for the pickers’ time and effort

The burlap bags filled with flowers are ready to be weighed — an important moment of the day, when work is translated into earnings.

Letting the flowers breathe one last time

At the factory, the bags are emptied and the blossoms spread out on the ground to await processing.

Repeated distillation

Steam rises from the stills as the men take turns loading them at a steady, rapid pace.

A precious golden liquid: neroli

At the end of distillation, the precious neroli is retrieved from the separator. One ton of flowers, representing a full day’s work for a hundred pickers, yields a single kilogram of oil. Every drop counts.

Orange blossom fragrances

Neroli oil has a zesty floral odor whose fresh yet mellow character is inevitably associated with eaux de cologne. The absolute is much more sensual, with a subtly animalic, sometimes almond-like tinge. Its opulent note is often used to enrich floral oriental compositions for women. In addition to these qualities, there are also distinct differences between the two origins: more honey-like for Moroccan orange blossom, more floral for the Tunisian variety.

Expertise in fine natural products starts with the soil

The Biolandes orange groves in Morocco are all organic certified, guaranteeing a neroli of the finest quality.

Looking to the future…

While perfumery remains an important market for orange blossom extracts, neroli and orange floral water are finding more and more uses in natural cosmetics, aromatherapy and flavors. The high demand is encouraging the development of growing operations, not only in North Africa but also in countries where bitter orange is a new crop. The adventure of the orange blossom is far from over…

ORANGE BLOSSOM IN PERFUMERY

LOCATION
North Africa: Morocco 1,200 tons of blossoms, Tunisia 1,500-2,000 tons, Egypt 500-800 tons.

YIELDS AND PRODUCTS
A low yield: 1 ton of flowers for 1 kg of oil and 2.5 kg of concrete.
An annual production of 2 to 2.5 tons of oil and about 1 ton of absolute.
A large global market for orange floral water, totaling several hundred tons.

USES
FRAGRANCES - AROMATHERAPY - FLAVORS - COSMETICS
In addition to perfumery, orange floral water has many applications in cleansing, cooking, cosmetics, etc. The essential oil is also prized as an ingredient in cosmetics, and for its beneficial effects in aromatherapy. As a food flavoring, its floral note enhances many fruit flavors.

BIOLANDES
An operation at the source with a processing site in Morocco: An organic plantation in Khemisset spanning 160 hectares (395 acres), 50 ha. of which are devoted to orange blossom.


Conclusion

Rehamnia michardis Oukassou and Naugolnykh, gen. et sp. nov. is described from the Late Famennian of the Foum El Mejez area (Northern Rehamna, Moroccan Meseta). This is the first record of Late Devonian plant from the Rehamna Hercynian massif. The new enigmatic plant fossils are preserved as compression and impression in quartzitic sandstone of the top of Dalaa Formation. The material represented by six practically complete specimens including holotype, general morphology of the stems, leaf


Abstract

Premise of the study:

Microsatellite primers were developed to characterize and evaluate patterns of genetic diversity and structure in the endangered Mediterranean shrub Ziziphus lotus (Rhamnaceae).

Methods and Results:

Twenty microsatellite primers were developed for Z. lotus, of which 14 were polymorphic. We evaluated microsatellite polymorphism in 97 specimens from 18 Spanish and seven Moroccan populations. Between two and eight alleles were found per locus, and the average number of alleles was 5.54. Observed heterozygosity and expected heterozygosity ranged from 0.08 to 0.90 and from 0.08 to 0.82, respectively. Nine of these primers also amplified microsatellite loci in Z. jujuba.

Conclusions:

The microsatellite markers described here will be useful in studies on genetic variation, population genetic structure, and gene flow in the fragmented habitat of this species. These markers are a valuable resource for designing appropriate conservation measures for the species in the Mediterranean range.

Ziziphus Mill. (Rhamnaceae) is a pantropical and paraphyletic genus comprising approximately 170 species, 150 of them native to tropical and subtropical regions of Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India, and Asia ( Islam and Simmons, 2006 ). The genus includes two economically important tree species, Z. jujuba Mill. (Chinese jujube) and Z. mauritiana Lam. (Indian jujube), that are cultivated for their fruit ( Huang et al., 2015 ). Ziziphus lotus (L.) Lam. is a diploid (2n = 20 Pérez-Latorre and Cabezudo, 2009 ), hermaphrodite, sclerophyllous thorny shrub species occurring across the Mediterranean Basin, North Africa and the Sahara, and the Arabian Peninsula. In Europe, Z. lotus is restricted to some semiarid localities in the southeast of the Iberian Peninsula ( Pérez-Latorre and Cabezudo, 2009 ) and the island of Sicily. Ziziphus lotus blooms from May to July, and flowers are pollinated primarily by bees. The fruit ripening period occurs in September, and fruits (drupes) are dispersed by foxes and other mammals. It is a keystone species in those semiarid ecosystems ( Tirado, 2009 ). Since 1992, Z. lotus habitats have been included in the Habitats Directive of the European Commission (Council Directive 92/43/EEC 1992, namely Arborescent “matorral” with Ziziphus: habitat 5220 Council of the European Union, 2007 ), which lists Europe's most endangered and vulnerable habitats. Population size ranges from 10 to thousands (typically less than 100) of individuals depending on the alteration status. In fact, European Z. lotus populations are seriously threatened by severe habitat destruction and fragmentation due to agriculture intensification and land-use change ( Mota et al., 1996 Tirado, 2009 Mendoza-Fernández et al., 2015 ).

Microsatellite (simple sequence repeat [SSR]) markers have been recently developed for Z. jujuba ( Huang et al., 2015 ) however, transferability of jujube SSR primers to Z. lotus has not been shown. Here, we characterized 20 microsatellite markers (14 polymorphic) developed specifically for Z. lotus, which will be subsequently used to evaluate the impact of land-use change and fragmentation on the genetic diversity of the species. We also amplified polymorphic markers in 10 North African individuals of Z. lotus (from Morocco) to assess genetic variation, diversity levels, and population genetic structure across the region for conservation purposes. Finally, cross-amplification was tested in Z. jujuba samples, the other Ziziphus species with a presence in the Iberian Peninsula.


Evaluating ancient Egyptian prescriptions today: Anti-inflammatory activity of Ziziphus spina-christi

Background: Ziziphus spina-christi (L.) Desf. (Christ's Thorn Jujube) is a wild tree today found in Jordan, Israel, Egypt, and some parts of Africa, which was already in use as a medicinal plant in Ancient Egypt. In ancient Egyptian prescriptions, it was used in remedies against swellings, pain, and heat, and thus should have anti-inflammatory effects. Nowadays, Z. spina-christi, is used in Egypt (by Bedouins, and Nubians), the Arabian Peninsula, Jordan, Iraq, and Morocco against a wide range of illnesses, most of them associated with inflammation. Pharmacological research undertaken to date suggests that it possesses anti-inflammatory, hypoglycemic, hypotensive and anti-microbial effects. The transcription factor NF-κB (nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells) is critical in inflammation, proliferation and involved in various types of cancer. Identification of new anti-inflammatory compounds might be an effective strategy to target inflammatory disorders and cancer. Therefore, extracts from Z. spina-christi are investigated in terms of their anti-inflammatory effects. Our intention is to evaluate the effects of Z. spina-christi described in ancient Egyptian papyri, and to show whether the effects can be proven with modern pharmacological methods. Furthermore, we determine the active ingredients in crude extracts for their inhibitory activity toward NF-κB pathway.

Materials and methods: To determine the active ingredients of Z. spina-christi, we fractionated the extracts for bioassays and identified the active compounds. Epigallocatechin, gallocatechin, spinosin, 6''' feruloylspinosin and 6''' sinapoylspinosin and crude extracts of seed, leaf, root or stem were analyzed for their effect on NF-κB DNA binding by electromobility shift assay (EMSA) and nuclear translocation of NF-κB-p65 by Western blot analysis. The binding mode of the compounds to NF-κB pathway proteins was compared with the known inhibitor, MG-132, by in silico molecular docking calculations. Log10IC50 values of gallocatechin and epigallocatechin as two main compounds of the plant were correlated to the microarray-based mRNA expression of 79 inflammation-related genes in cell lines of the National Cancer Institute (NCI, USA) as determined. The expression of 17 genes significantly correlated to the log10IC50 values for gallocatechin or epigallocatechin.

Results: Nuclear p65 protein level decreased upon treatment with each extract and compound. Root and seed extracts inhibited NF-κB-DNA binding as shown by EMSA. The compounds showed comparable binding energies and similar docking poses as MG-132 on the target proteins.

Conclusion: Z. spina-christi might possess anti-inflammatory activity as assumed by ancient Egyptian prescriptions. Five compounds contributed to this bioactivity, i.e. epigallocatechin, gallocatechin, spinosin, 6''' feruloylspinosin and 6''' sinapoylspinosin as shown in vitro and in silico.

Keywords: Ancient Egyptian medicinal papyri Ethnopharmacology Inflammation Microarray Molecular docking Rhamnaceae.


Volume 1

5.1 Introduction

The commodity, traded as sweet bay leaf, and true, Roman, or Turkish laurel, is derived from the leaves of Laurus nobilis L. (Family – Lauraceae). Because of the similarity in the leaves, several other trees are also variously known as: West Indian bay tree (Pimenta racemosa), Cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus), Portugal laurel (Prunus lusitanica), laurel of the southern states (Prunus caroliniana), the laurel or mountain laurel of California (Umbellularia californica). However, the leaves of true L. nobilis must not be confused with other laurels. L. nobilis is a native of the Mediterranean and grows spontaneously in scrubland and woods in Europe and in California. It is widely cultivated in Europe, America and in Arabian countries from Libya to Morocco ( Anon., 1962 Bailey, 1963 Sangun et al., 2007 Lira et al., 2009 ).

The flavouring properties of L. nobilis have been known since antiquity. In biblical times, the bay was symbolic of wealth and wickedness, and in the classical world, heroes and victors were decorated with a laurel wreath. In addition to being a very well known culinary herb, the leaves and fruits of L. nobilis are used medicinally throughout the world. Infusions or decoctions made from these materials have diaphoretic and carminative effects and also serve as a general gastric secretion stimulant. Laurel oil or butter obtained from the fruits (berries) of L. nobilis is a vital ingredient of laurin ointment, a popular medicine for rheumatism and gout and for the treatment of spleen and liver diseases. It also finds application in veterinary medicine ( Anon., 1962 Francesco and Francesco, 1971 Wren, 1975 Duke, 1989 ). Demirbas (2010) examined the potential of bay leaves as a source of biodiesel via compressed methanol transesterification. Use of bay leaf oil in some perfume compositions has also been reported ( Asplund, 2008 ).

L. nobilis is an evergreen shrub, or more rarely a tree attaining a height of 15–20 m. The smooth bark may be olive green or of reddish hue. The luxurious, evergreen leaves are alternate with short stalks, lanceolate or lanceolate oblong, acuminate, 5–8 cm in length or longer and 3–4 cm wide, coriaceous, pellucid-punctate, and with revolute, entire wavy margins the upper surface is glabrous and shiny, olive green to brown and the lower surface is dull olive to brown with a prominant rib and veins. The flowers are small, yellow in colour, unisexual and appear in clusters. The fruits (berries) are cherry-like, succulent, purple to black in colour, ovoid, coarsely wrinkled and contain a single seed with loose kernel. The dried fruits are drupaceous, ovoid, about 15 mm long and 10 mm wide. The outer surface is glabrous, shining, nearly black and is coarsely wrinkled owing to the shrinkage of the narrow succulent region beneath the epidermis. The remains of the style appear as a small point at the apex, and a small scar at the base marks the point of attachment of the fruit to the thalamus. The endocarp is thin and woody and the testa is adherent to its inner surface. The entire pericarp is about 0.5 mm thick. The kernel of the seed consists of two large plano-convex cotyledons and small superior radicle it is brownish-yellow, starchy and oleaginous, with an aromatic odour and aromatic and bitter taste ( Wallis, 1960 Bailey, 1963 Francesco and Francesco, 1971 ).

The cross-section of the leaf shows epidermal cells with thick cuticle the epidermal cells in surface view are sinous, pitted and thick walled. The lower epidermal walls are more curvilinear and distinctly beaded. The stomata are present only on the lower surface, singly or in pairs. The mesophyll of the leaf is distinctly represented by two layers of parenchymatous palisade cells and a region of spongy parenchyma containing scattered spheroidal oil reservoirs, fibrovascular and col-lenchymatous tissues. The leaf has characteristic fragrance when crushed and its taste is bitter and aromatic ( Wallis, 1960 Bagchi and Srivastava, 1993 ).


Watch the video: Moroccos plants nurseries incur losses amid virus (November 2021).