Thursday, 28 June 2018

A Review of Coralilla (Antigonon leptopus): An Invasive and Popular Urban Bush Medicine in Jamaica

Economic Botany pp 1–17 | Cite as Authors Authors and affiliations Ina VandebroekEmail authorDavid PickingStacey AikenPatrick Albert LewisAndreas OberliSylvia MitchellBrian Boom Ina Vandebroek 1234Email authorView author's OrcID profile David Picking 5 Stacey Aiken 6 Patrick Albert Lewis 7 Andreas Oberli 8 Sylvia Mitchell 9 Brian Boom 10 1.Institute of Economic BotanyThe New York Botanical GardenBronxUSA 2.School of Forestry & Environmental StudiesYale UniversityNew HavenUSA 3.Biology PhD program, The Graduate CenterThe City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA 4.Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology (E3B)Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA 5.The Natural Products InstituteThe University of the West IndiesKingston 7Jamaica 6.Caribbean Institute for Health ResearchThe University of the West IndiesKingston 7Jamaica 7.Department of Life Sciences, HerbariumUniversity of the West IndiesKingston 7Jamaica 8.Kingston 6Jamaica 9.The Medicinal Plant Research Group, Biotechnology CentreThe University of the West IndiesKingston 7Jamaica 10.Institute of Systematic BotanyThe New York Botanical GardenBronxUSA Article First Online: 21 May 2018 4 Shares 41 Downloads Abstract Antigonon leptopus is a smothering, habitat-transforming vine with showy pink flowers. Originating in Mexico, it is now widespread or invasive on tropical islands around the world, including the West Indies, as a consequence of active human dispersal and disturbance. Using mixed methods research, we assessed the species’ (1) historical geographic spread throughout the Americas, (2) local ethnobotanical importance in Jamaica, and (3) biomedical potential as an herbal medicine. Methods included georeferencing of time-stamped herbarium collections from pre-1900 to 2016, literature review, and ethnobotanical research in rural and urban Jamaica (n = 58 participants). Results demonstrated that A. leptopus has spread aggressively in the West Indies since the 1950s. It has become a problematic invasive species in urban Jamaica, which has likely facilitated its local popularity as an herbal medicine. In urban Jamaica, ethnobotanical interviews ranked the species as the fourth most frequently reported medicinal plant. In contrast, A. leptopus was present but did not dominate the vegetation in rural Jamaica, and was never mentioned during interviews. The biomedical literature offers limited support for its biological activity, while showing no acute toxic effects. The ethnobotany of A. leptopus showcases the dynamic interplay between people, plants, and the environment. Key Words Ethnobiology traditional medicine plant pharmacopeia human-plant relationships human ecology introduced invasive and noxious plants georeferencing West Indies Caribbean medicinal plants apparency hypothesis coralita coral vine Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article ( contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users. Antigonon leptopus es una enredadera sofocante con vistosas flores rosadas que transforma hábitats. Originaria de México, ahora está diseminada o invasora en las islas tropicales del mundo, incluso en las Indias Occidentales, como consecuencia de la perturbación humana y su dispersión activa. Utilizando métodos mixtos, evaluamos de la especie su: (1) distribución geográfica en las Américas a través del tiempo; (2) importancia etnobotánica local en Jamaica; y (3) potencial biomédico como remedio natural. Los métodos incluyeron la georeferenciación de las colecciones de herbario desde antes de 1900 hasta 2016, la revisión de la literatura, y la investigación etnobotánica en una comunidad rural y urbana en Jamaica (n = 58 participantes). Los resultados demostraron que A. leptopus se ha extendido agresivamente en las Indias Occidentales desde la década de los 1950s, y se ha convertido en una especie invasora problemática en el ámbito urbano de Jamaica, lo que probablemente ha facilitado su popularidad local como planta medicinal. Entrevistas etnobotánicas en la comunidad urbana en Jamaica clasificaron a la especie como la cuarta planta medicinal reportada con más frecuencia. En contraste, A. leptopus estaba presente en la comunidad rural de estudio, pero sin dominar la vegetación, y nunca fue mencionada durante las entrevistas. La literatura biomédica ofrece evidencia limitada sobre su actividad biológica, mientras que no parece exhibir efectos tóxicos agudos. La etnobotánica de A. leptopus demuestra la interacción dinámica entre el ser humano, las plantas, y el medio ambiente. This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access. Notes Acknowledgements The authors are indebted to the communities in Payne Land, Kingston, and Windsor Forest, Portland, Jamaica, for sharing their collective knowledge about bush medicines, and for their hospitality and friendship. Liz Kiernan, GIS Lab Manager at The New York Botanical Garden, advised on georeferencing and made the maps. We recognize the invaluable assistance of free software such as Carto Builder, as a mapping tool. Funding Information This research was supported by grant #9339-13 from the National Geographic Society Committee for Research and Exploration (CRE) to Ina Vandebroek. Compliance with Ethical Standards The Ethics Committee of the University of the West Indies granted approval for the study (#ECP 285, 14/15), and verbal Prior Informed Consent (PIC) was obtained prior to each interview. Supplementary material 12231_2018_9415_MOESM1_ESM.docx (30 kb) ESM 1 (DOCX 30.1 kb) Literature Cited Acevedo-Rodriguez, P., and Mark T. Strong. 2012. Catalogue of seed plants of the West Indies. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press.Google Scholar Adams, C.D. 1972. Flowering plants of Jamaica. Britain: Robert MacLehose and Company Limited and the University Press, Glasgow.Google Scholar Andrade-Cetto, A., J. Becerra-Jimenez, E. Martınez-Zurita, P. Ortega-Larrocea, and M. Heinrich. 2006. 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