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300 species in 18 genera are found in tropical regions especially in Asia. Members of the family characteristically exude a red sap when injured.
[Summary yet to be added]
- Cephalosphaera usambarensis Warb.
- [syn. Brochoneura usambarensis Warb.]
This tree, whose natural range is restricted to eastern Kenya and eastern Tanzania, provides a hardwood timber known as mtambara, ekoune, or mtambao. The genus is monotypic.
A fat obtained from the dried fruit causes dermatitis in "susceptible" persons (Watt & Breyer-Brandwijk 1962).
- Myristica fragrans Houtt.
- [syns Myristica aromatica Lam., Myristica moschata Thunb., Myristica officinalis L.f.]
- Nutmeg Tree, Muskatnußbaum, Muscadier Commun
The seed provides the spice named nutmeg; the aril around the seed provides the spice named mace. Expressed and Volatile Oils of Nutmeg are obtained from the seed (Budavari 1996).
Ingestion of nutmegs can cause poisoning. The syndrome includes redness of the skin, dryness of the mouth and hallucinations (Hardin and Arena 1974). The narcotic properties of nutmegs may result from the transformation of myristicin into an amphetamine derivative (Schlemmer et al. 1973).
- Pycnanthus angolensis Warb.
- [syns Myristica angolensis Welw., Myristica microcephala Benth. & Hook.f., Pycnanthus kombo Warb., Pycnanthus schweinfurthii Warb.]
- African Nutmeg, Arbre à Suif, Faux Muscadier
This West African tree provides a useful timber known in the trade by various names including ilomba, gboyei, and lunaba. It has been reported to be injurious to woodworkers, producing nausea and vomiting (Hausen 1970).
[Further information available but not yet included in database]
- Staudtia kamerunensis Warb. var. gabonensis Fouilloy
- [syns Staudtia congensis Vermoesen, Staudtia gabonensis Warb., Staudtia stipitata Warb.]
This Central African tree provides a useful timber known in the trade by various names including niove and bocapi. Niove is listed as a skin irritant (Allemany-Vall 1958).
- Allemany-Vall, R. (1958) Rhinitis and dermatitis caused by exotic woods. In: Occupational Allergy. Leiden: Stenfert-Kroese, pp. 273-277.
- Budavari S (Ed.) (1996) The Merck Index. An Encyclopedia of Chemicals, Drugs, and Biologicals. 12th edn. Whitehouse Station, NJ: Merck & Co., Inc.
- Hardin JW, Arena JM (1974) Human Poisoning from Native and Cultivated Plants, 2nd edn. Durham, NC: Duke University Press [WorldCat] [url]
- Hausen BM (1970) Untersuchungen über Gesundheitsschädigende Hölzer [Studies on Harmful Woods]. Doctoral Dissertation. Universität Hamburg, Germany [url] [url-2]
- Schlemmer RF, Farnsworth NR, Cordell GA, Bederka JP (1973) Nutmeg pharmacognosy. New England Journal of Medicine 289(17): 922 [doi] [url] [url-2] [pmid]
- Watt JM, Breyer-Brandwijk MG (1962) The Medicinal and Poisonous Plants of Southern and Eastern Africa. Being an account of their medicinal and other uses, chemical composition, pharmacological effects and toxicology in man and animal, 2nd edn. Edinburgh: E & S Livingstone [doi] [WorldCat] [url] [url-2]