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Family Amaryllidaceae
Orange lirio
Hippeastrum puniceum (Lam.) Voss

Scientific names Common names
Amaryllis equestris Aiton Agubawa (Hanunuo Mangyan)
Amaryllis equestris var. flore-simplici Loisel. Orange lirio (Tag., Engl.) 
Amaryllis punicea Lam. Amaryllis lily (Engl.) 
Aschamia equestris (Aiton) Salisb. Barbados lily (Engl.)
Hippeastrum equestre (Aiton) Herb. Cacao lily (Engl.)
Hippeastrum puniceum (Lam.) Voss. Cocoa lily (Engl.)
Hippeastrum purpureum Kuentze Easter lily (Engl.)
Accepted infraspecifics (2) Maroon lily (Engl.)
Hippeastrum puniceum subsp. puniceum Red lily (Engl.)
H. puniceum subsp. quentinianum (Traub. & Whit.) R.Lara & R.Vasq.  
Lirio is a commo name shared by Crinum latifolium (Lirio) and orange llirio (Hippeastrum puniceum).
Hippeastrum puniceum (Lam.) Voss is an accepted species. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
FRENCH: Lys rouge.
KANNADA: Punnga hoovu, Gramaphone hoovu.

Gen info
- Hippeastrum is a genus of about 90 species, and over 600 hybrids and cultivars, of perennial, herbaceous and bulbous plants,  native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas.
- The taxonomy is complicated and the common names are confusing. It is neither a lily nor a species of Amaryllis.
- Etymology: The name Hippeastrum was first given to the genus by Herbert, derived from Greek words hippeus meaning 'knight's star' and astron meaning 'star'. (19)

Orange lirio is a bulbous perennial with runners or stolons. Leaves are fleshy green, sword like, 25 to 40 centimeters long, 3 centimeters wide, strap-shaped, narrowed at the tip, developing fully as the flowers wilt. Stem arising from the bulb is cylindrical, hollow, 30 to 40 centimeters long, the tip bearing 2 to 4 stalked, showy, more or less nodding, red or orange colored flowers. Flowers are trumpet-shaped, 8 to 10 centimeters in diameter, the tube about 2.5 centimeters long, and the 6 segments 10 to 12 centimeters long. The fruit is a roundish capsule.

There are several cultivated forms, including a hybrid with dark red flowers with a white stripe running along the center of each segment.

- Introduced, probably during Spanish colonial times.
- Cultivated, not naturalized.
- Planted in towns
and cities in the Philippines.
- Native to South America: Bolivia, Brazil Northeast, Brazil Southeast, Brazil West-Central, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela. (5)

- Study isolated an alkaloid, 3-O-acetyl-narcissidine.
- Phytochemical screening of various extracts of bulbs yielded alkaloids, carbohydrates, flavonoids, tannins, saponins, terpenoids, proteins and amino acids. The chloroform extract showed the highest amount of phenolics while the ethyl acetate extract yielded the highest amount of flavonoid. (see study below) (4)

- GC-MS analysis of methanolic extract of bulbs and fractions yielded 11 alkaloids: 9-O-demethyllycoramine (1), lycoramine (2), galantamine (3), assoanine (4), kirkine (5), pancratinine (6), 8-demethylmaritidine (7), 11-hydroxyvittatine (8), pseudolicorine (9), 2α-hydroxyhomolycorine (10) and lycorine (11). Four were isolated and identified from the class of isoquinoline alkaloids. (6)
- Ethanolic extract of bulb revealed presence of alkaloids, glycosides, phenolics, flavonoids, terpenoids, carbohydrates, mucilage, starch, tannins, steroids, saponins, proteins, and amino acids. (see study below) (14)
- Study of ethyl acetate fraction of H. puniceum isolated a glycosylated derivative narciclasine-4-O-ß-D-xylopyranoside. (see study below) (15)

- Considered antispasmodic, emetic, purgative.
- Studies have suggested antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, acetylcholinesterase inhibitory properties.

Contains alkaloids with reported toxicity, especially to cats. Cats are prone to toxicity because of some of the liver enzymes needed to break down toxins. Bulbs are considered the most poisonous part of the plant. Toxicity is attributed to phenanthridine alkaloid derivatives i.e., lycorine, crinidine, clivacetine clivorine, cliviasine and clividine. Manifestations of poisoning may include gastrointestinal (vomiting, salivation, diarrhea, abdominal pain), convulsions, cardiac arrhythmias, low blood pressure and respiratory depression. (7) (8)

Parts used
Flowers, bulbs, roots.

- In Oriental Mindoro, the Hanunuo Mangyan use infusion of plant parts for treatment of head lice: infusion applied directly to the head and covered with a towel for one minute before rinsing. (13)
- Used for stomachaches.
- In French Guiana, flower infusion is considered antispasmodic; locally used for whooping cough. In NW Guyana, root used to treat asthma, biliousness, as laxative and to induce vomiting. (2)
- In India fresh bulbs traditionally used for healing wounds, tumors, and piles.
- In Jamaica, bulb is used to make plaster with bread or Eryngium foetidum for use on swelling and sores. Also used for abscesses and ulcers. (3)

Bioactive Alkaloid / Antifeedant / Plant Protective:
Study isolated a bioactive alkaloid, 3-O-acetyl-narcissidine, which showed antifeedant activity against the polyphagous insect Spodoptera littoralis. The compound also inhibited root growth, root development, and germination of several weeds. Results suggest a plant protective role for H. puniceum alkaloids. (1)
Phytochemical Examination of Bulbs: Microscopic examination of bulbs showed starch grains, mucilage cells and xylem fibers. Phytochemical screening of various extracts yielded alkaloids, carbohydrates, flavonoids, tannins, saponins, terpenoids, proteins and amino acids. A chloroform extract showed the highest phenolic content. (4)
• Antioxidant / Anti-Inflammatory / Bulbs: Study evaluated an aqueous extract of bulbs of H. puniceum for anti-inflammatory activity using protein denaturation and proteinase inhibition methods and antioxidant activity by iron chelating and total antioxidant assay. Results showed antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential attributed to flavonoids and phenolics. (9)
• Neuroprotective / Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitory Activity: Study evaluated alkaloidal fractions of five Amaryllidaceae species for neuroprotective activity and acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity. Hippeastrum puniceum showed AChE enzyme inhibition of 53.95 ± 1.20% at 28.7 µg/mL and IC50 of 25.73 ± 1.75. Exposure to glutamate (125 µM) induced a significant decrease in cell viability of primary cerebral cortical neurons. Pretreatment with some alkaloidal fractions reversed the decrease in cell viability of primary hippocampal neurons in a concentration-dependent manner. Among others, H. puniceum exhibited significant reversing effect (2.9 µg/mL) with statistically significant difference (p<0.001) with respect to glutamate. Galanthamine control did not show any protective effect. (10)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Bulb: Study evaluated an ethanolic extract of H. puniceum bulb for invitro anti-inflammatory activity. Protein denaturation inhibition was used to determine anti-inflammatory efficacy. Diclofenac was used as standard. Results showed strong anti-inflammatory activity with dose dependent efficacy with 82.75% inhibition at 1000 mcg/ml concentration. (see constituents above) (14)
• Glycosylated Narciclasine Alkaloid: Study of ethyl acetate fraction of H. puniceum isolated a glycosylated derivative narciclasine-4-O-ß-D-xylopyranoside. It showed no significant cytotoxicity when tested against colon (HCT116) and breast (MCF-7) tumor cells. (15)
• Antispasmodic / Antidiarrheal: Study evaluated H. puniceum plant extract for spasmolytic effect using isolated rabbit jejunum, rat ileum, and rabbit trachea in organ bath. Antidiarrheal and gut inhibitory effect was evaluated using castor oil-induced diarrhea and charcoal meal transit test models. Crude extract and its dichloromethane fraction showed spasmolytic effects on isolated rabbit jejunum and trachea, which may be attributed to antagonism of muscarinic receptors and calcium channels. The extract also exhibited significant dose-dependent diarrheal protection and inhibition of gastrointestinal motility. Results indicate spasmolytic, tracheorelaxant, antidiarrheal, and gut motility inhibitory activities mediated by muscarinic receptors and calcium channel antagonism. (16)
• Anticholinesterase Activity / Alkaloids / Bulbs: GC-MS study of bulbs identified 16 alkaloids. Alkaloids 9-O-demethyllycoramine, 9-demethyl-2α-hydroxyhomolycorine, lycorine and tazettine were isolated through chromatographic techniques. Crude and ethyl acetate extracts showed remarkable acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity. The AChE activity may be explained by the presence of galanthamine derivatives. Results suggest a potential source of bioactive compounds. (17)
• Antiplasmodial / Bulb: An EtOH extract showed antiplasmodial activity against Plasmodium gallinaceum with MED (minimum effective dose) of 80 mg/kg. (18)

- Wild-crafted.
- Ornamental cultivation.

Updated December 2023 / January 2019 / December 2015

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
3-O-Acetyl-narcissidine, a bioactive alkaloid from Hippeastrum puniceum Lam. (Amaryllidaceae) / Santana O, Reinab M, Anaya AL, Hernández F, Izquierdo ME, González-Coloma A. / Z Naturforsch, Sept-Oct 2008; 63(9-10): pp 639-643 / DOI: 10.1515/znc-2008-9-1004
Hippeastrum puniceum / Medicinal Plants of the Guianas (Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana)
MEDlCINAL PLANTS OF JAMAICA. PARTS 1 & 11. / G. F. Asprey, M.Sc., Ph.D. and Phyllis Thornton, B.Sc./ West Indian Medical Journal. Vol. 2 No. 4. Vol. 3 No. 1.

Pharmacognostic and Phytochemical Evaluation of the Bulbs of Hippeastrum puniceum (Lam.) Voss. / C. P. Deepa, Beena Briget Kuriakose / International Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemical Research, 2014; 6(2); pp 399-404
Hippeastrum puniceum / Synonyms / KEW: Plants of the World Online
Isolated and / or identified alkaloids of Hippeastrum puniceum (LAM.) Kuntze (Amaryllidaceae) / Claudia Masrouah Jamal, Leticia Carlesso Soprani, Jean Paulo de Andrade, Hayme Bastida, Warle Borges / Poster / 6th BCNP: Brazilian Conference on Natural Products, Nov 5-8, 2017
Barbados Lily Poisoning in Cats / Blog
Barbados Lily Toxicity / Blog
EVALUATION OF ANTIOXIDANT AND ANTI INFLAMMATORY ACTIVITY OF HIPPEASTRUM PUNICEUM.(LAM.)VOSS. BULB EXTRACT / Deepa C. P, Beena Briget Kuriakose / International Journal of Pharma Research, July-December 2013
Neuroprotective activity  and  acetylcholinesterase inhibition of five veAmaryllidaceae species: A / comparative study / Natalie Cortes, Rafael Andrés Posada-Duque, Rafael Alvarez, Fernando Alzat, Strahil Berkove, Gloria Patricia Cardona-Gómez, Edison Osorio / Life Sciences, 2015; 122: pp 42-50 / http://dx/doi.org/10.1016/j.lfs.2014.12.011
Suggested reading: On the Observed Blattellid (Blattodea) Pollinivory on Hippeastrum puniceum (Lam.) Voss (Amaryllidaceae) in Southcentral Mindanao, Philippines / Krizler C Tanalgo / Philippine Journal of Science, 2022; 151(3): PP  1115-1117 / ISSN: 0031-7683
Effectivity of Orange Lirio (Hippeastrum puniceum) bulb Extract in Treating Fungal Infections / Ryan Mark O Diosay, Craig Jaden B Bordas, Mat Makisig J Villanueva, Ray Aldrines B Crujedo, Chaira Mae B Agbot, Nicole C Sillacay / No abstract available.
Orange lirio / Dando L R, Goco R M / 2013: Philippine Traditional Knowledge Digital Library of Health
Evaluation of In-Vitro Anti-Inflammatory Potential of Hippeastrum puniceum Bulbs /  Priya Kurian, Anjali Aravind, H Ajumal, Hoel Seemon / IJPPR: International Journal of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Research, 2023; 27(3): pp 589-594
Glycosylated narciclasine alkaloid in Hippeastrum puniceum (Lam.) Kuntze / Amanda Eiriz Feu, Jean Paulo de Andrade,Warley de Souza Borges et al / South African Journal of Botany, 2021; Volume 136: pp 30-34 / DOI: 10.1016/j.sajb.2020.09.006
Antispasmodic and Antidiarrheal Effect of Hippeastrum puniceum; Involvement of Antimuscarinic and Calcium Antagonism Pathways / Khaled Ahmed Saghir, Hafiz Muhammad Abdur Rahman, Muhammad Sajjad Haider, Imran Imran / Phytopharmacological Communications, 2022; 2(2): pp 127-143 /
DOI: 10.55627/ppc.002.002.0148
Chemical evaluation and anticholinesterase activity of Hippeastrum puniceum (Lam.) Kuntz bulbs (Amaryllidaceae) / Leticia Carlesso Soprani, Jean P de Andrade, Vanessa Dias dos Santos, Warley de Souza Borges, Claudia Masrouah Jamal et al / Brazilian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2021; 57: e19154 / DOI: 10.1590/s2175-97902020000419154
Antiplasmodial Studies Within the Plant Family Amaryllidaceae / Jerald J Nair, Johannes van Staden /  Natural Products Communications / DOI: 10.1177/1934578X19872931
Hippeastrum / Wikipedia

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
                                          New plant names needed
The compilation now numbers over 1,300 medicinal plants. While I believe there are hundreds more that can be added to the collection, they are becoming more difficult to find. If you know of a plant to suggest for inclusion, please email the info: local plant name (if known), any known folkloric medicinal use, scientific name (most helpful), and, if possible, a photo. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

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