Duboisia

Duboisia

The orchid genus described by Karsten as Duboisia is now included in Myoxanthus. For the prehistoric antelope genus, see ''Duboisia (antelope).
Duboisia (commonly called Corkwood Tree) is a genus of small perennial shrubs to trees about 14 m tall, with extremely light wood and a thick corky bark. They are native to Australia and New Caledonia. The leaves are an important component in the production of the drug 'pituri', traditionally used and traded by Australian Aborigines.

The alternate, glabrous leaves are narrow and elliptical. The inflorescence is an open cymose panicle of apically small white flowers, sometimes with a purple or mauve striped tube. They flower profusely in spring. The fruit is a small, globular, black, juicy berry.

The leaves of Duboisia leichhardtii and Duboisia myoporoides contain the pharmaceutically important ingredients scopolamine and hyoscyamine and some other accompanying minor alkaloids. A derivative of scopolamine is the main active ingredient of the drug butylscopolamine, a potent antispasmodic and analgesic. These trees are commercially grown for the pharmaceutical industry.

Indigenous Australian pituri preparation

It is used by Australian aboriginals as trade between themselves and the Torres Strait Islanders. Australian Aborigines chew the nicotine-containing dried leaves of Duboisia hopwoodii, mixed with ash from Acacia species. They call this pituri. The paleontologist, Dr Gavin Young, named the fossil agnathan Pituriaspis doylei after pituri, as he thought he may have been hallucinating upon viewing the fossil fish's bizarre form.

List of plant species used to make ashes for Indigenous Australian pituri preparation:

There is not much information regarding what if any psychoactive alkaloids might be present in the ash itself, since combustion tends to destroy or evaporate away alkaloids. The ash is said to be an important component in pituri preparation.

Duboisia arenitensis is a new Australian species, described in 1995.

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