Bowiea volubilis Harv. ex Hook.f. (Sea Onion): In Vitro Culture and the Production of Cardiac Glycosides

Part of the Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry book series (AGRICULTURE, volume 28)


When Bowiea volubilis Harv. ex Hook.f., a member of the family Hyacinthaceae, (also known as the sea/climbing onion) was first described, it was stated in Curtis’s Botanical Magazine that “though possessing little beauty, this is certainly one of the most curious plants ever introduced into Europe” (Dyer 1941). More recently, B. volubilis has attracted attention as a source of cardiac glycosides. The plant has long been known among tribes of southern Africa as a strong medicinal herb. The strong toxic properties of this plant have been the cause of many deaths due to overdoses administered by herbalists. Jaretsky (Watt and Breyer-Brandwijk 1962) suggested that the toxic properties of the bulb were due to cardiac glycosides similar to digoxin and digitoxin. Katz (1950, 1953a, b, 1954, 1957a, b) identified the cardiac glycosides and named them bovoside A, B, C, D, and E.


Cardiac Glycoside Naphthalene Acetic Acid Adaxial Surface Vitro Culture Coconut Milk 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NU Research Unit for Plant Growth and Development, Department of BotanyUniversity of NatalPietermaritzburgRepublic of South Africa

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