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Family Nyctaginaceae
Pisonia umbellifera (J.R.Forst. & G.Forst.) Seem.

Jiao guo mu

Scientific names Common names
Calpidia subnitens Heimeri Koles-maluko (Tag.)
Pisonia alba Spanoghe Kolis-maluko (Tag.)
Pisonia excelsa Blume Maluko (Tag.)
Pisonia umbellifera (J. R. Forst. et G. Forst) Seem. Bird catcher tree (Engl.)
  Bird lime tree (Engl.)
  Cabbage tree (Engl.)
  Lettuce tree (Engl.)
  Umbrella catchbird tree (Engl.)
  Wire lettuce (Engl.)
Pisonia alba Span. is a synonym of Pisonia umbellifera (J.R. Forst. & G. Forst.) Seem. The Plant List
Pisonia umbellifera (J.R. Forst. & G. Forst.) Seem. is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Pi sun mu, Jiao guo mu.
DUTCH: Moluksche kool.
HAWAIIAN: Papala kepau.:
INDIA: Latchakkota.
TAMIL: Lachaidottei.

- The common name "bird catcher tree" may derive from the sticky fruits that readily adhere to the feather of birds, causing entanglement and rendering flight impossible (Priddle & Carlile 1995b). (8)
- Pisonia derives from William Piso, a Dutch physician and botanist while the specific epithet umbellifera derives from Latin umbelliferum, umbel bearing or shade carrying.

Maluko is an erect, unarmed, smooth or nearly smooth tree, attaining a height of 10 meters. Leaves are thin, very pale green or greenish yellow - those at the end of branches being nearly white- oblong-ovate, 12 to 15 centimeters long, with pointed apex and rounded base. Flowers are borne in terminal, dense, corymbose cymes. Male flowers are white or greenish-white, about 6 millimeters long. Female flowers are smaller. Fruit is long-pedicelled, club-shaped, 12 to 18 millimeters long, 5-angled, each angle bearing one row of prickles.

- Ornamental cultivation for its yellow leaves.
- Grown as hedge plant.
- Seldom flowering in the Philippines.
- Native to Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand,
Vietnam, China, Australia.
- Cultivated in India and Sri Lanka.

- Methanolic extract of stem of Pisonia umbellifera yielded three new compounds, secopisonic acid, 6,8-dimethylisogenistein, and (+)- ENT-ficusol, with four first isolates from nature, pisoninol I, pisoninol II, pisoquinoline and pisodienone, together with 15 known compounds. (See study below) (6)
- Study yielded six saponins from the leaves of P. umbellifera. Their structures were determined as  3-O-{beta-D-glucopyranosyl(1-->2)[beta-D-glucopyranosyl (1-->2)-beta-D-xylopyranosyl(1-->3)]-beta-D-glucuronopyranosyl} 28-O-beta-D-glucopyranosyl olean-12-en-3 beta-ol-28-oic acid, 3-O-{2'-(2"-O-glycolyl)-glyoxylyl-beta-D-glucuronopyranos yl} 28-O-beta-D-glucopyranosyl olean-12-en-3 beta-ol-28-oic acid, and 3-O-{2'-O-glycolyl)-glyoxylyl-beta-D-glucuronopyranosyl++ +} olean-12-en-3 beta-ol-28-oic acid. (9)
- Phytochemical screening of ethanol (E) and aqueous (A) leaf extracts yielded alkaloids (E), flavonoids (EA), terpenoids (E), phenol (EA), tannins (EA), reducing sugar (EA), saponins ((EA), steroids (A), quinones (E), glycosides (EA). (see study below) (12)

- Considered carminative, anti-inflammatory.
- Studies have suggested antidiabetic, antioxidant, anti-tubercular properties..
- Studies have suggested anti-inflammatory, blood glucose lowering, antioxidant, hepatoprotective, antitubercular properties.

Parts used

- In Sri Lanka and Bombay, young tender lettuce-tasting leaves are eaten.
- In the Philippines, leaves used for cooking fish wrapped in it.
- Fresh leaves moistened with Eau-de-Cologne used to subdue elephantoid inflammation of the legs.
- Leaves cooked or eaten by people suffering from arthritis or rheumatism.
- Leaves used as carminative, to expel flatulence.
- In traditional Indian medicine, used as an anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory; used in the treatment of algesia, ulcer, dysentery and snake bites.
- Salt made from ashes of leaves and bark is added to herbal concoctions.(11)
- Agroforestry: Leaves used as green manure. (11)

Blood Glucose Lowering / Antioxidant:
Treatment of alloxan diabetic wistar rats with P. alba extracts caused a significant reduction of blood glucose levels. It also exhibited potent antioxidant effects on DPPH assay testing. There was also near-normal restoration of histological architecture of the liver, kidney and pancreases in the alloxan-induced diabetic rats. (1)
Anti-Diabetic / a-Glucosidase inhibitory Activity: Extract exhibited a-glucosidase inhibitory activity in a concentration-dependent manner. Results indicate P. alba extract is effective in hyperglycemia and also protects from metabolic aberrations caused by alloxan. (2)
Subacute Toxicity Study: Study showed the crude extract of P. alba leaves at the dose of 2 g/kg has not toxic effect on the liver and heart of rats. (3)
Silver Nanoparticles / Leaf Extract: Metal nanoparticles have unique optical, electronic, mechanical, magnetic and chemical properties. Nanotechnology impacts all spheres of human life. An effective technique for the reduction of silver into silver nanoparticles was achieved using the ethanolic extract of leaves of Pisonia grandis R. Br (synonym Pisonia alba). (5)
Chemical Constituents / Antitubercular: Methanolic extract of stem of Pisonia umbellifera yielded three new compounds, secopisonic acid (1), 6,8-dimethylisogenistein (2), and (+)- ENT-ficusol (3), with four first isolates from nature, pisoninol pisoninol II, pisoquinoline and pisodienone, together with 15 known compounds. Seven of the isolates showed antitubercular activities against Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37R(V) in vitro with MC ≤50 µg/mL. (6)
• Hepatoprotective: Study evaluated the hepatoprotective effects of P. alba and C. halicacabum against toxicity effects of herbicide atrazine on lipid peroxidation and some antioxidant enzyme system in freshwater fish Labeo rohita. Results showed PA and CH both exhibited significant hepatoprotection against herbicide atrazine induced toxicity in fresh water fish L. rohita. (10)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Leaves: Study screened for phytochemical constituents and evaluated for anti-inflammatory activity of P. umbellifera leaf extracts. Results showed potent anti-inflammatory activity using inhibition in albumin denaturation assay. (see constituents above) (12)
• Lignans and Isoflavonoids / Cytotoxicity / Anti-Inflammatory /Stems: Study of stems isolated 12 new compounds including four isoflavonolignans (1a/1b and 2a/2b), two neolignans (3a/3b) and six isoflavonoids (5-10), together with seven known compounds (4 and 11-16). Compounds 13 and 15 showed moderate in vitro anti-inflammatory activities, and compound 5 exhibited strongest activity against K562 cell line. (13)


Updated January 2020 / July 2017 / January 2016

IMAGE SOURCE: Digitally modified / PD / File:Cordia olitoria Blanco1.44-original.png / Flora de Filipinas / 1880 - 1883 / Francisco Manuel Blanco (O.S.A) / Wikimedia Commons
IMAGE SOURCE / Photo / Lettuce tree, Cabbage tree, sule sappu or lachaikottei Pisonia alba in Hyderabad , India./ J M Garg / 27.09.08 / GNU Free Documdentation License / Wikipedia / Click on image to go to source page

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Effect of Ethanolic Extract of Pisonia alba Span. Leaves on Blood Glucose levels and Histological Changes in Tissues of Alloxan-Induced Diabetic rats / Sunil C, Latha P G et al / International Journal of Applied Research in Natural Products, Vol. 2(2), pp. 4-11, June-July 2009
a-Glucosidase Inhibitory and Antidiabetic Activities of Ethanolic Extract of Pisonia alba Span. Leaves / Christudas Sunil et al / IJIB, 2009, Vol 6, No 1, 41.

Subacute toxicity study of crude extract of Pisonia alba Span. leaves on rat liver and heart / Sugaporn Prasettho, Somsamorn Chittrakarn and Uraporn Vongvatcharanon /Songklanakarin Journal of Science and Technology, 2003, Vol 25, No 4, Pp 515-524
Pisonia umbellifera (J. R. Forst. et G. Forst.) Seem. (accepted name) / Chinese names / Catalogue of Life, China
Novel synthesis of silver nanoparticles using leaf ethanol extract of Pisonia grandis (R. Br)
/ M. Jannathul Firdhouse, P. Lalitha* and Shubashini K. Sripathi / Der Pharma Chemica, 2012, 4(6):2320-2326
Chemical constituents and antitubercular activity of Formosan Pisonia umbellifera
/ Hsiou-Ting Kuo, Chien-Fang Peng, Hung-Yi Huang, Chu-Hung Lin, Ih-Sheng Chen, Ian-Lih Tsai / Planta Medica, 2011; 77(7): pp 736-41 / DOI:10.1055/s-0030-1250534
Pisonia umbellifera / Synonyms / The Plant List
Saponins from Pisonia umbellifera / Catherine Lavaud, Stanislas Beauviere, Georges Massiot, Louisette Le Men-Olivier, Genevieve Bourdy / Phytochemistry,Volume 43, Issue 1, September 1996, Pages 189-194 / https://doi.org/10.1016/0031-9422(96)00253-1
Hepatoprotective Effect of Pisonia alba and Cardiospermum halicacabum in Atrazine Toxicity on LPO and some Antioxidant Activities in the Liver Tissue of Fresh Water Fish Labeo rohita / S. Prabakaran, K. Pugazhend* A. Revathi and C. Jayanthi / International Journal of Pharmaceutical & Biological Archives, 2014; 5(2): pp 174-179
Pisonia umbellifera / Ken Fern / Useful Tropical Plants
Phytochemical Analysis And Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Pisonia umbellifera Leaf Extract / Kaviya priya. P, Sangeetha.N, Kalaiyarasi.S and Sowmiya.S / IJSART, July 2019; 5(7)
Lignans and isoflavonoids from the stems of Pisonia umbellifera / Zhiguo Liu, Xilong Zheng, Yanan Wang, Mengyue Tang, Shilin Chen, Fangbo Zhang, Li Li, Cun Zhang  and Yi Sun / RSC Adv, 2018; 8: pp 16383-16391 / DOI: 10.1039/C8RA02240B  RSC Adv.

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)

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