Phytochemical Studies on Merendera Schimperi ( Merendera Abyssinica

No Thumbnail Available



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Addis Ababa Universty


In the course of this work phytochemical investigation of Merendera schimperi (Colchicaceae) was conducted. The genus Mefendera is distributed in South Europe, in Asia minor, . West Asia, North West Africa and North and North-East Africa. This genus is represented by 15 species. M. schimperi (syn. M. abyssinica, M. /ongifo/ia, M. /ongispatha) is the only Merendera species found in Ethiopia. The corm and corm cover of this plant afforded many compounds, out of which structures were proposed for seven compounds based on their 90 MHz 'H-NMR, IR, and LRMS spectra. These include, ~-sitosterol (31), erythrinasinate (32), stigmast-1 A-diene-3-one (33), stigmast-4-ene-3-one (34), colchicine (1), sucrose (35), ethylmethylamine oxide (36). Colchicine (1) was the most abundant tropolone alkaloid (ca. 1.7% of the dry weight of the corm cover) obtained from both the corm and corm cover of the plant. The chloroform extract, in both cases, was rich in colchicine (1) as compared to the methanol extract. 2-Demethylcolchicine (2) was synthesized from colchicine(1) by selectively de methylating the methoxyl group at position 2. This compound was then used as a reference sample to monitor its presence in the various extracts of M. schimperi. It was not detected in any of the extracts. The non-polar fractions of the extracts of M. schimperi afforded erythrinasinate (32). This compound has been isolated from a Merendera species for the first time. It was, _however, obtained from different Erythrina species. The sterols, ~-sitosterol (31), stigmast-1 ,4-diene-3-one (33) and stigmast-4-ene-3- one (34) were found in considerable quantities in both the chloroform al'ld methanol extracts. The presence of these compounds in the extracts of Merendera species has not been reported before. Ethylmethylamine oxide (36) was obtained in small quantities from the methanol extract of the corm. The presence of this compound in Merendera is reported here for the first time. In view of the important place of colchicine in modern medicine, it may be possible to propagate a controlled use of M. schimperi among the rural community as a substitute for modern and expensive drugs.



phytochemical investigation