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Family Apocynaceae
Kopsia fruticosa (Roxb.) A.DC.
Hong hua rui mu

Scientific names Common names
Calpicarpum roxburghii G.Don. Kopsia (Philippines)
Cerbera fruticosa Roxb. Pink gardenia (Engl.)
Kopsia fruticosa (Roxb.) A.DC. Pink kopsia (Engl.)
Kopsia ornata Mottet Shrub vinca (Engl.)
Kopsia roxburghii (G.Don) Pharm. ex Wehmer  
Kopsia vinciflora Blume  
Tabernaemontana longiflora Rusby  
Tabernaemontana rosea Ten.  
Kopsia fruticosa is an accepted species. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Hong hua rui mu.
MYANMAR: Kalabin, Mai-lang, Thinbaw-zalut, Zalut-in, Zalut-panyaung.
OTHERS: Vinca-arbustiva, Kopsia merah.

Gen info
- The genus Kopsia (Apocynaceae) comprises about 30 species of shrubs and trees, which are distributed widely in Southeast Asia, China, and Australia.
- Kops
ia (Kopsia fruticosa) is one of four Philippine flowers along with Sampaguita, Gumamela and Pasaw, issued as stamps in 2018. (2)
- Etymology: The genus name Kopsia honors the Dutch politician and botanist Jan Kops (1765-1849).
The species epithet fruticosa means "rich in buds, referring to the cespitose (growing in dense tufts or clumps) appearance.

Kopsia fruticosa is an evergreen shrub, to 4 m tall, glabrous except for inflorescences. Petiole ca. 1 cm; leaf blade narrowly elliptic or narrowly oblong, 10-23 X 2.5-9 cm, apex acute or obtusely caudate; lateral veins 10-15 pairs. Inflorescences few flowered, puberulent; peduncle to 1 cm; bracteoles to 1.5 mm, pubescent. Pedicel 5-7 mm. Sepals ovoid, 1.5-2.5 mm, pubescent, apex obtuse. Corolla pink, tube 3-5 cm, throat pubescent; lobes oblong, 1.5-2.5 cm. Disc scales sublinear, as long as or shorter than ovary. Ovary tomentose. Style 3-4 cm. Drupe ellipsoid, usually solitary, 1-seeded, to 2.5 X 2 cm, pubescent.
(Flora of China)

- Introduced.
- Native to Andaman Is., Myanmar.

- Study of 80% EtOH extract of aerial parts of K. fruticosa isolated five new indole alkaloids, Kopsifolines G-K (1-5), and one known alkaloids, kopsifoline A (6). (see study below) (3)

- Bark, leaves, and seeds yield a poisonous latex.
- Studies have suggested antibacterial, antifungal, cholinergic, antitumor, hypotensive properties.

Parts used
Roots, leaves.



- No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
- In Myanmar, pounded root used as poultice.
- Used for sores and syphilis.
- Poison: Alkaloids in latex used as arrow poison.

Antimicrobial / Antitumor / Indole Alkaloids / Aerial Parts:
Study of 80% EtOH extract of aerial parts of K. fruticosa isolated five new indole alkaloids, Kopsifolines G-K (1-5), and one known alkaloids, kopsifoline A (6).  Alkaloid 3-5 exhibited some cytotoxicity against all seven tested tumor cell lines (HS-1, HS-4, SCL-1, A431, BGC-823, MCF-7, and W480) with IC50 values of 11.8–13.8, 10.3–12.5, and 7.3–9.5 μM, respectively. Alkaloids 3-5 also exhibited significant antimicrobial activities against two G(+) and five G(-) bacterial and five antifungal pathogens. (3)
Hypotensive / Cholinergic / Leaves: Indigenous plants have been reported to yield indole alkaloids with various phamacologic actions on the cardiovascular system. Study evaluated crude extract from dried leaves and the effects of propylene glycolic (KF1) and aqueous solution (KF2). Kopsine, one of the alkaloids from the plant showed cholinergic action. On a study on mean arterial blood pressure and respiration of anesthetized cats, KF1 and KF2 showed potent depressor effect on mean arterial blood pressure - a dose dependent fall in blood pressure, with slight bradycardia and stimulatory effect on respiration. (5)


April 2023

                                                 PHOTOS / ILLUSTRATIONS
IMAGE SOURCE: Photographs: Flowers of Kopsia (Kopsia fruticosa) / Billjones94 / CC BY-SA 4.0 / click on images to go to source page / Wikipedia
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Photograph: Beautiful flower Kopsia fruticosa / Hasitha Senadheera / CC BY-SA 4.0 International / click on image to go to source page / Wikimedia Commons

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Kopsia fruticosa / KEW: Plants of the World Online

Kopsia / Philippine Flowers, Series / Republic of the Philippines - Stamps & Postal History
Indole alkaloids from the aerial parts of Kopsia fruticosa and their cytotoxic, antimicrobial and antifungal activities / Sheng-Yi Long, Chang-Ling Li, Dan Chen et al /  Fitoterapia, 2018; Vol 129: pp 145-149 /
DOI: 10.1016/j.fitote.2018.2018.06.017
Kopsia fruticosa / GBIF

Studies On The Effects Of Kopsia fruticosa On Mean Arterial Blood Pressure Of Anaesthetized Cats / Santau Munshi,  Ranhita Santra, D Bhattacharya. Tapas Kumar Sur / International Journal of Ayurveda and Pharma Research, 2017; 5(5): pp 30-33 / pISSN: 2322-0902 / oISSN: 2322-0910


DOI: 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

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