seeds of Camptotheca acuminata, Happy Tree
Camptotheca acuminata Samen
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Camptotheca acuminata, also called the happy tree, is a tree species of the family Nyssaceae. Synonyms include Camptotheca acuminata var. acuminata, Camptotheca acuminata var. rotundifolia and Camptotheca yunnanensis. Other common names for the plant include cancer tree and the tree of life. Camptotheca acuminata is originally from Tibet and Southern China. The tree is a rare species that mostly grows within the borders of China and Tibet. Camptotheca acuminata is a deciduous tree that can grow to a height of 20 metres. The plant has a grey, furrowed bark and smooth branchlets with a purplish colouration. Leaves are either oblong or ovate and have a length of 12 to 28 cm and a width of 6 to 12 cm. Flowers have 5-petaled and green, while fruits are winged, brownish-grey and, have a length of 2.5 to 3.5 cm. Camptotheca acuminata contains several chemical compounds that are of interest to pharmaceutical companies. Chief amongst these compounds is the alkaloid camptothecin which one can find on the bark and stems of the plant. Camptothecin is a source of interest for the pharmaceutical industry given it’s a source of cancer-fighting medication. It is for this reason that Camptotheca acuminata has the name ‘cancer tree.’ The other chemical compounds present in the plant are under investigation for possible medicinal properties. The tree also serves as a source for the chemical compounds hyperoside and trifolin which are useful in the manufacture of other drugs. Camptotheca acuminata mostly grows at altitudes below 1000 metres. Most of the plant growth takes place on the edges of roads and forests and the banks of streams. This phenomenon is prevalent in the Hubei and Jiangsu provinces of China. The plant thrives in fertile, well-drained soils that have sufficient moisture levels. The pH of the soil should be neutral, slightly alkaline or slightly basic.
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