Adenia is a genus in the passionflower family Passifloraceae.
This unobtrusive genus should be better known for the extreme toxicity of the sap, especially in those forming a perennial swollen base (a caudex, hence the caudiciform species). In addition to cyanogenic compounds, these contain lectins which destroy ribosomes, hence prevent protein synthesis. This is the same mode of action as ricin, and the toxicities are comparable. A. volkensii was shown to be intensely toxic by Barbieri (1984). Pelosi et al (2005) compared ten species, and found 3 (A. stenodactyla, A. goezii and A. lanceolata) which were inhibitory at <0.1 ng/ml and lethal to mice at <2ug/kg, making them among the most potent plant toxins known.
Emanuele Pelosi, Chiara Lubelli, Letizia Polito, Luigi Barbieri, Andrea Bolognesi and Fiorenzo Stirpe (2005). Ribosome-inactivating proteins and other lectins from Adenia (Passifloraceae) • Toxicon, Volume 46, Issue 6, November 2005, Pages 658-663
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