Osyris quadripartita Salzm. ex Decne. - syn.Osyris lanceolata Hochst. & Steud. ex DC.; Osyris abyssinica Hochst. ex A. Rich. - Santalaceae
African sandalwood, Afrikanisches Sandelholz
Evergreen shrub or small tree, up to 9m tall, native to Africa and Southwest Asia; leaves alternate, elliptic-oblong, glaucous, thickly leathery; flowers yellowish green; fruit 10x15mm, red when ripe.
The commercial demand of Osyris products has led to an increased rate of exploitation, to an extent that its existence in its natural habitat is seriously threatened. Essential oil extracted from the bark of O.quadripartita is used to manufacture perfumes. A bark extract is used locally to treat diarrhoea, chest problems, joint pains.
Analysis (GC-MS) of a steam-distilled dichlormethane extract of Osyris wood from Tanzania showed (Z)-lanceol (28-29%), α-santalol (20-25%) and β-santalol (20-21%) as main components of the volatile oil. Other constituents were trans-α-bergamotol (12-13%), (E)-nuciferol (4-5%), epi-cis-β-santalol (2-4%), α-bisabolol (0.4-2.2%), β-bisabolene (0.6-1.1%), (Z)-β-farnesene (0.5-0.8%), benzoquinone (0.3-2.4%) and hydroquinone (0.3-2.2%).
[Identification of Santalum album and Osyris lanceolata through morphological and biochemical characteristics and molecular markers to check adulteration., Bhat, K.V., Balasundaran, M., Balagopalan, M., KFRI Res Rep. 307, 2006]
picture (C) BT Wursten, Flora of Zimbabwe