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TheXanthiumGenus

Cocklebur Toxins Against Hostile Surroundings and Its Pharmacological Properties
  • Joseph Seckbach
Chapter
Part of the Cellular Origin, Life in Extreme Habitats and Astrobiology book series (COLE, volume 16)

Abstract

Cockleburs (Xanthiumspp.) are genera of flowering plants in the family of Asteraceae (Compositae), native to the Americas and eastern Asia. The number of species is debatable, ranging from a few to a dozen, and they are a model of plant–animal interaction. The name Xanthiumoriginated from “xanthos” meaning yellow (the fruit turns from green to yellow and finally to brown). Many plants contain defense structures located as external projections (thorns, burning hairs, repulsive odors, etc.), while other plants accumulate internal toxic compounds against their attackers and external assaults. These toxic plants belong to several botanical families. Among the poison plants is the Nettle (Urtica) which contains burning acids in its hairs. Others possess toxic compounds in their leaves, fruits, seeds, or bulbs. Among them are the poison ivy, black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), daffodils bulbs, oleander leaves, dumb cane (Dieffernbachiawhich possess them in all parts), castor bean seeds, wisteria (in their seeds, pods), oaks (within their foliage, acorns), mistletoe (in berries), nightshade (Datura), and Xanthiumspp. the cocklebur weeds, family Asteraceae (Compositae). The leaves of noxious cocklebur weed contain xanthanolies, such as xanthinin and xanthatin, which serve as plant regulators – and growth inhibitors – and contain other toxins. Recently, this plant has been turned into a useful medical herb.

Keywords

Circadian Clock Black Locust Robinia Pseudoacacia Anti Diarrheal Activity Burning Acid 
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 Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hebrew University of JerusalemEfratIsrael

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