Mystery Plant--strikes yet again

James Morley j.morley at LION.RBGKEW.ORG.UK
Wed Jul 23 16:11:40 CDT 1997

On 23 Jul 97 at 9:43, John Nelson wrote:

>     The plant is referred to as "Saponin Shidigera" on the label of
> the vial in which the miraculous substance is sold. The vial I have
> been sent contains a dark oily-looking liquid which smells something
> like soy sauce.

The plant could well be Yucca shidigera (although I'll leave a taxonomist to
comment on the validity of that name).  Saponins (strictly steroidal
sapogenins) and arthritis cures are certainly reported in the context of this

See:  Kaneda_N, Nakanishi_H, Staba_E, 1987.
Steroidal constituents of Yucca shidigera plants and tissue cultures.
Phytochemistry 26(5): 1425-1429 (incl. 36 refs)

As always though, the precise identity will remain a mystery unless you have a
voucher that can be verified.  Substitutions are not uncommon.


James Morley                           J.Morley at
Centre for Economic Botany
Royal Botanic Gardens                Tel. +44 (0)181 332 5719
Kew, Richmond                        Fax. +44 (0)181 332 5768
Surrey   TW9 3AE
UK                          WWW

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