Family • Apocynaceae - Strophanthus letei Merr.

Scientific names

Strophanthus letei Merr.

Common names

Sarasara (Ilk.)

Sarasara is an erect, somewhat climbing shrub about 3 meters high. Leaves are oblong-elliptic, 8 to 13 centimeters long, 3 to 5 centimeters broad, and pointed at both ends. Flowers are white. Sepals are lanceolate, about 4 millimeters long. Corolla tube is 10 to 12 millimeters long; the corolla lobes are continued into a slender, tail-like projection, about 10 millimeters long. Fruit consists of a double follicle, each about 15 to 17 centimeters long and 4 centimeters wide, with a pointed tip. Follicle is somewhat woody and contains numerous seeds, each of which terminate in a long, slender projection with numerous, long hairs.

Species is closely allied to Strophanthus cumingii differing only in its smaller flowers and smooth filaments.

– Endemic.
– Found only in La Union Province, growing in thickets at low altitude.

Constituents and properties
– Bark of roots and stems yield saponin, 2.1% in roots, 0.9% in bark. It is somewhat similar to pseudostrophanthin . In animal studies, the saponin, in the form of an amorphous powder, increases the tone and augment heart contraction and increases blood pressure. By mouth, the drug produces emesis.
– In biological assay, the powder was found to possess one-twentieth the strength of ouabain.

Parts used

In the Philippines, bark is employed as an effective arrow-poison.