APOCYNACEAE – Kopsia – Kopsia fruticosa – Kopsia pruniformis


Oleander family

Apocynaceae includes approxi-mately 355 genera of herbs, shrubs, trees, and climbers distributed wordwide, with greatest diversity  in the tropics. Characteristics in-clude a milky latex sap and complex flowers. Recent cevisions include the genera traditionally segregated in to Asclepiadaceae in this family. For the convenience of readers more familiar with this arrange – ment, these species are kept to -gether here as a subgroup of A poc – ynaceae. The family is very important pharmaceutically. Many, though not all, species are. Poison – ous. An exception is Carissa. Most are suitable for coastal. Planting and are at least modestly salt toler-ant. Leaves are simple entire opposite or whorled. Traditional members of Apocynaceae can be recognized by the radially symmet – tical, trumpet-shaped corollar. Commonly with lobes twisted like a propeller. The fruit is a capsule, shizocarp, nutlet, berry or drupe, commonly in pairs.


Kopsia includes approximately 25 species of trees and shrubs from Indomalaysia. They produce alkaloids that are important pharmaceutically. Fruits are fleshy drupes with hard pits, somewhat resembling plums.

Kopsia fruticosa

Shrub vinca

Synonyms: Cerbera fruticosa, K. vinciflora. India, Malay Peninsula. Evergreen shrub or small tree, 8-10 ft, zones 10-11. Blooms spring, summer. Moderate moisture in summer, less in winter. Average, well – drained soil. Full to part sun. Flowers: salverform, lobes spreading, to 2 in. wide, pink with a dark red eye around the small throat. opening, fading to white with age. Leaves: broadly elliptic, to 6 in. long, glossy. This free – flowering small tree is suitable for containers. The flowers resemble Madagascar periwinkle, Catharanthus. The species name means “shrubby”.

Kopsia pruniformis

Southeast Asia. Evergreen shrub to 8 ft, zones 10-11. Blooms warm months. Moderate moisture in summer, less in winter. Average, well – drained soil. Full to part sun. Flowers: salverform, white, tube slightly inflated below the white lobes, in many flowered clusters, fruit a small plumlike drupe, 1.5 in.long, blue – black, wazy. Leaves: elliptic to lanceolate, 4-6 in.long, tip tapering, glossy, sap milky. Unusual in cultivation. Suitable for borders and hedges.

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