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Photo: T. Low T. Low

Line drawing by M. Perkins (L.Haegi, unpubl. thesis).

Line drawing by G. Dashorst, Fl. S. Aus. 3,  f. 563 partly (1986).

Line drawing of hybrid between Duboisia hopwoodii and G. dixonii. By G. Dashorst, Fl. S. Aus. 3,  f. 563 partly (1986).

Synonymy

Duboisia hopwoodii (F.Muell.) F.Muell., Fragm. Phytogr. Austral. 10: 20 (1876)

Anthocercis hopwoodii F. Muell., Fragm. Phytogr. Austral. 2: 138 (1861).

T: near Darling River, H. Beckler s.n.; syn: K, MEL 70979.

Description

Rounded shrub to 4 m tall and 3 m wide.

Leaves narrowly elliptic or ovate-elliptic to linear, sessile (or rarely with petiole to 3 mm long), 2–12 cm long, 1–13 mm wide, concolorous.

Inflorescence narrow; bracts 0.5–4 mm long; pedicels 1.5–5 mm long. Calyx 1.5–4.5 mm long, the lobes usually about one-third as long as tube. Corolla 7–15 mm long; tube 4.5–8 mm diam. at apex; lobes 2.5–5.5 mm long. Stamens 4, 3–8 mm long. Style 3.5–6.5 mm long, equal to or shorter than upper stamens.

Berry usually globose or subglobose, rarely ellipsoid, 2–5 mm diam., purple-black; fruiting pedicels 3–5 mm long. Seeds 2–2.5 mm long.

Distribution and ecology

Widespread in arid regions of W.A., southern N.T., and S.A., extending to central-western Qld and western N.S.W.

Usually grows in red or yellow sand or sandy loam, on sandy plains, low dunes or sandy rises, often with Triodia.

Notes

Contains the alkaloids nicotine and nor-nicotine; used by Aborigines as an animal poison and as a narcotic (the name pituri also widely applied to narcotic species of Nicotiana). Toxic to horses, goats, sheep and camels; toxicity varies with locality, age and part of plant.

There are numerous references to aboriginal use of Duboisia (or Nicotiana) as pituri and a number of studies

  • J.H. Maiden's extended account of Duboisia hopwoodii in The Forest Flora of New South Wales vol. 7 from p. 303 (1913)
  • P.Watson (undated). Pituri, an Australian aboriginal drug. See www.drugtext.org/library/articles/912411.htm
  • M.D. de Rios & R.Stachalek (1999). The Duboisia Genus, Australian Aborigines and Suggestiblity. J. Psychoactive Drugs 31: 155-61. (Abstract)

May hybridise with Grammosolen dixonii (F. Muell. & R. Tate) Haegi and with Anthotroche pannosa Endl.

Selected specimens

W.A.: c. 20 km E of Wiluna, N.H. Speck 1331 (AD, CANB, PERTH). N.T.: c. 100 km N of Alice Springs, D.J. Nelson 1769 (AD, DNA, MEL). S.A.: c. 30 km N of Minnipa, A.E. Orchard 1778 (AD). Qld: Sandringham, 1886, G. Field (MEL). N.S.W.: c. 8.5 km N of Windara Homestead D.F. Blaxell 670 (NSW).

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Derivation of epithet

Named in honour of Henry Hopwood, founder of the Victorian town of Echuca and a major sponsor of the Burke & Will’s Victorian Exploring Expedition, on which the species was first collected by European man.

Images and information on web

An image of D. hopwoodii can be seen on the Western Australian Herbarium Florabase site at http://florabase.calm.wa.gov.au/browse/photo?f=315&level=s&id=6966

A fact sheet for this species can be downloaded from the SA eFlora site.

Further information and images of this species in NSW can be seen on the PlantNET site.

Many references to the pharmacology of D. hopwoodii can be found on the Australian New Crops web site

An unpublished manuscript by Paul Foley, Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute,Randwick, documenting the early history of Duboisia use in medicine, particularly D. myoporoides, can be found at www.powmri.edu.au/pdf/BSSM2220/Duboisia%20manuscript.doc

Further references to the possible toxic properties of Duboisia species can be found with a search in the FDA Poisonous Plant Database

 

A discussion of the tropane alkaloids which occur in Duboisia and other Anthocercideae can be found in Griffith & Lin (2000).

 

Ref: W.J. Griffin & G.D. Lin (2000). Chemotaxonomy and geographical distribution of tropane

alkaloids. Phytochemistry 53: 627–628.

Plant status (if any)

Without any declared rating in W.A. – see http://florabase.calm.wa.gov.au/conservationtaxa