Tabernaemontana is a genus of flowering plants in the family Apocynaceae. It has a pan-tropical distribution, found in Asia, Africa, Australia, North America, South America, and a wide assortment of oceanic islands.[1][2] These plants are evergreen shrubs and small trees growing to 1–15 m tall. The leaves are opposite, 3–25 cm long, with milky sap; hence it is one of the diverse plant genera commonly called "milkwood". The flowers are fragrant, white, 1–5 cm in diameter.

Tabernaemontana divaricata by kadavoor.jpg
Tabernaemontana divaricata 'Flore Pleno'
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Rauvolfioideae
Tribe: Tabernaemontaneae
Subtribe: Tabernaemontaninae
Genus: Tabernaemontana
Plum. ex L. 1753
  • Anacampta Miers
  • Anartia Miers
  • Bonafousia A.DC.
  • Camerunia (Pichon) Boiteau
  • Capuronetta Markgr.
  • Clerkia Neck.
  • Codonemma Miers
  • Conopharyngia G.Don
  • Domkeocarpa Markgr.
  • Ervatamia (A.DC.) Stapf
  • Gabunia K.Schum.
  • Hazunta Pichon
  • Leptopharyngia (Stapf) Boiteau
  • Merizadenia Miers
  • Muntafara Pichon
  • Ochronerium Baill.
  • Odontostigma A.Rich.
  • Oistanthera Markgr.
  • Pagiantha Markgr.
  • Pandaca Noronha ex Thouars
  • Pandacastrum Pichon
  • Peschiera A.DC
  • Phrissocarpus Miers
  • Protogabunia Boiteau
  • Pterotaberna Stapf
  • Quadricasaea Woodson
  • Reichardia Dennst. 1818, illegitimate homonym, not Roth 1787 nor Roth 1800 nor Roth 1821
  • Rejoua Gaudich.
  • Sarcopharyngia (Stapf) Boiteau
  • Stemmadenia Benth.
  • Stenosolen (Müll.Arg.) Markgr.
  • Taberna Miers
  • Testudipes Markgr.
  • Woytkowskia Woodson

The cultivar T. divaricata cv. 'Plena', with doubled-petaled flowers, is a popular houseplant.

Some members of the genus Tabernaemontana are used as additives to some versions of the psychedelic drink ayahuasca;[3] the genus is known to contain ibogaine (e.g. in bëcchëte, T. undulata), conolidine (present in minor concentration in T. divaricata)[4] and voacangine (T. alba, T. arborea, T. africana).[5] Because of presence of coronaridine and voacangine in mexican Tabernaemontana species,[5] those plant could be used in economic production of anti-addictive alkaloids especially ibogaine and ibogamine.[6] T. sananho preparations are used in native medicine to treat eye injuries and as an anxiolytic, and T. heterophylla is used to treat dementia in the elderly.[7] Conolidine may be developed as a new class of pain killer.[8]Caterpillars of the oleander hawk-moth (Daphnis nerii) have been found to feed on the pinwheelflower (T. divaricata).



The genus was described by Carl Linnaeus and published in Species Plantarum 1: 210–211 in 1753. The type species is T. citrifolia.


The genus name commemorates the "father of German botany" Jakob Theodor von Bergzabern, a.k.a. Jacobus Theodorus Tabernaemontanus, Tabernaemontanus being a compressed form of the original Medieval Latin name (Tabernae Montanus) of the botanist's home town of Bergzabern - both the Latin and the German forms of the town's name meaning "tavern(s) in the mountains".



See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "WCSP (2013). World Checklist of Selected Plant Families". Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  2. ^ Flora of China Vol. 16 Page 152 狗牙花属 gou ya hua shu Tabernaemontana Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 210. 1753.
  3. ^ Ott (1995)
  4. ^ Kam T.S., Pang H.S., Choo Y.M., Komiyama K. ,"Biologically active ibogan and vallesamine derivatives from Tabernaemontana divaricata."Chemistry & biodiversity 2004 1:4 (646-656)
  5. ^ a b Krengel F, Herrera Santoyo J, Olivera Flores TJ, Chávez Ávila VM, Pérez Flores FJ, Reyes Chilpa R (December 2016). "Quantification of Anti-Addictive Alkaloids Ibogaine and Voacangine in In Vivo- and In Vitro-Grown Plants of Two Mexican Tabernaemontana Species". Chemistry & Biodiversity. 13 (12): 1730–1737. doi:10.1002/cbdv.201600146. PMID 27448833.
  6. ^ Krengel F, Chevalier Q, Dickinson J, Herrera Santoyo J, Reyes Chilpa R (April 2019). "Metabolite Profiling of Anti-Addictive Alkaloids from Four Mexican Tabernaemontana Species and the Entheogenic African Shrub Tabernanthe iboga (Apocynaceae)". Chemistry & Biodiversity. 16 (4): e1800506. doi:10.1002/cbdv.201800506. PMID 30618175.
  7. ^ Rodrigues & Carlini (2006)
  8. ^ "Scientists create new type of painkiller". 23 May 2011.
  • Ott, Jonathan (1995): In: Ayahuasca Analogues: Pangaean Entheogens.
  • Rodrigues, Eliana & Carlini, E.A. (2006): Plants with possible psychoactive effects used by the Krahô Indians, Brazil. Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria 28(4): 277-282. PDF fulltext