Quararibea funebris (La Llave) Vischer - syn. Lexarza funebris La Llave - Malvaceae
flor de cacao, rosita de cacao (span.), Cacahuaxochitl (náhuatl), funeral tree
Small evergreen tree, up to 5m high, native to Central America (Mexico to Costa Rica); leaves alternate, elliptic-ovate, acute; flowers white.
The flowers are one of the essential ingredients in the traditional chocolate-maize drink known as tejate (náhuatl: „texatl“). https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tejate
An ethanol extract of the milled flowers (defatted with hexane) yielded the odorous principle of the tree, 4,5-dimethyl-3-hydroxy-2,5-dihydrofuran-2-one (sotolon, caramel furanone), together with its precursors, 3-amino-4,5-dimethyl-2(5H)-furanone and 2S,3S,4R-4-hydroxyisoleucine. The leaves of Quararibea turbinata showed a similar chemical profile.
„Inasmuch as the 7-butyrolactones can act as convulsants and anticonvulsants, and since Q.funebris flowers are used medicinally as a sort of anti-anxiety folk remedy-a common side effect of all anticonsulvant drugs is sedation-it seems reasonable to suggest that the lactones isolated in this study may act in a similar way, corroborating once again the wisdom of the early meso-American peoples in their use of biodynamic plants.“
[The phytochemistry of Quararibea funebris., Raffauf, R.F., Zennie, T.M., Botanical Museum Leaflets, Harvard University, 1983, 151-158]
picture source: CSFI, Corozal Sustainable Future Initiative (Belize), http://www.csfi.bz/visit-us/pictures/flora/