Cercis

 Caesalpiniaceae

The World Botanical Associates Web Page
Prepared by Richard W. Spjut
Jan. 2005; Aug 2006, Dec 2007

Cercis canadensis var. mexicana
Black Gap Wildlife Management Area,
Dead Horse Mts., TX
 Spjut & Marin 15021, Nov 2002



Cercis occidentalis
Humboldt Co., Orleans, CA
August 2006

 

Trees and Shrubs of Kern County (Jan 2013)

Cercis. Deciduous shrubs or trees with alternate heart-shaped leaves; flowers in umbellate clusters on spurt shoots or branches, appearing before the leaves; fruit flat, bean-like, dehiscent. 10 species, northern hemisphere, 1 in California.

Cercis occidentalis Torrey ex A. Gray 1850.  Western red bud. Deciduous shrub or tree, easily recognized by the red flowers that appear in the spring before the leaves; leaves round but lobed at base, veins conspicuous.  Widely distributed in western U.S. to Texas and Mexico. Type from rocky drains of the Upper Guadeloupe, Texas. Kern Co.: Occasional in  canyons east of the valley, 6091,006 m.  Bark astringent, used as a remedy for diarrhea and dysentery (Krochmal et al. 1954).

Pharmacological References

Kaiser J., M. Yassin, S. Prakash, N. Safi, M. Agami, S. Lauw, E. Ostrozhenkova, A. Bacher, F. Rohdich, W. Eisenreich, J. Safi and A. Golan-Goldhirsh. 2007. Anti-malarial drug targets: screening for inhibitors of 2C-methyl-D-erythritol 4-phosphate synthase (IspC protein) in Mediterranean plants. Phytomedicine 14(4): 242249. The recently discovered non-mevalonate pathway of isoprenoid biosynthesis serves as the unique source of terpenoids in numerous pathogenic eubacteria and in apicoplast-type protozoa, most notably Plasmodium, but is absent in mammalian cells. It is therefore an attractive target for anti-infective chemotherapy. The first committed step of the non-mevalonate pathway is catalyzed by 2C-methyl-D-erythritol 4-phosphate synthase (IspC). Using photometric and NMR spectroscopic assays, we screened extracts of Mediterranean plants for inhibitors of the enzyme. Strongest inhibitory activity was found in leaf extracts of Cercis siliquastrum.

Salatino A, M. L. Salatino and D. E. Giannasi.  2000. Flavonoids and the taxonomy of Cercis.
Biochem. Syst. Ecol. 28(6): 545550. 
Flavonoids of 11 samples of Cercis, comprising seven species, were isolated and identified. Only 3-O-monoglycosides of kaempferol, quercetin and myricetin were obtained. Bauhinia (the largest genus in tribe Cercideae) is akin to Cercis because flavones are rarely found in the former. On the other hand, species of Bauhinia often present glycosides of isorhamnetin and a wider diversity of glycosides, and only rarely present myricetin. The frequent occurrence of this flavonol and the simpler flavonoid profile of Cercis may reflect a greater antiquity of Cercis as compared with Bauhinia. With the exception of C. canadensis var. mexicana, Cercis taxa from xerophytic habitats did not yield kaempferol glycosides in detectable amounts, as opposed to taxa from mesophytic habitats. The results obtained are consistent with proposals of merging C. reniformis into synonymy of C. occidentalis, as well as the recognition of two North American species, C. canadensis and C. occidentalis, and the recognition of the Asian C. gigantea.