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Family Ochnaceae
Mickey mouse bush
Ochna serrulata (Hochst.) Walp.


Scientific names  Common names
Ochna serrulata (Hochst.) Walp. Bird's eye bush (Engl.)
Diporidium serrulatum Hochst. Bird's eye plant (Engl.)
  Carnival bush (Engl.) 
  Carnival ochna (Engl.)
  Mickey mouse bush (Engl.) 
  Mickey mouse plant (Engl.) 
  Ochna (Engl.)
  Small-leaved plane (Engl.)
Ochna serrulata Walp. is an accepted. KEW: Plants of the World Online
Bird's eye bush is a common name shared by both Ochna kirkii and Ochna serrulata.
Mickey mouse plant is a common name shared by (1) Ochna serrulata and (2) Solanum mammosum, utong.

Other vernacular names
AFRIKAANS: Fynblaarrooihout.
FINNISH: Kiiltomikinpensas.
SWAHILI: Sifubasenkhala.
ZAMBIA: Munyelenyele.
ZULU: Umbomvane, Umbovu.

Gen info
- Etymology: Ochna, of Greek origin from the word Ochne means 'wild pear'. The species epithet 'serrulata' is Latin from the word 'serrula' which means 'little saw' referring to the fine-toothed margins of the leaves.
- Taxonomy: Ochna serrulata was first described by German naturalist Christian Ferdinand Friedrich Hochstetter, and Its binomial name was given by Wilhelm Gerhard Walpers.
- Ochna serrulata, from the family Ochnaceae, is one of the 86 species of Ochna shrub and trees. It is similar to Ochna kirkii, also called Mickey Mouse plant, which has larger and rounder leaves and larger flowers.
- Common name "Mickey Mouse bush" derives from the plant's ripe blackfruit, which upside-down resembles the ears of Mickey Mouse, and the bright-red sepals, which resembles his trousers.

Ochna serrulata is a shrub that grows up to 1.5 meters high. Leaves are simple, alternate, narrow-elliptic, up to 5 centimeters long, with finely serrate margins; blade is stiff and dark shiny green. Flowers are large, up to 4 centimeters across, with yellowish green and persistent sepals, turning red in fruits; petals are yellow and 5-lobed; stamens are many. Fruit is an enlarged red receptacle.

- Introduced to the Philippines.
- Planted in Philippine gardens; not widespread.
- Native to South Africa.
- Considered an invasive weed in some parts of Australia and New Zealand.
- In temperate regions, grown as greenhouse ornamental.

- Study of methanol extract of pulverized roots yielded three new biflavonoids, viz., 4,4′,7-tri-O-methylisocampylospermone A (1), 4′′′-de-O- methylafzelone A (2) and serrulone A (3), along with irisolone 4′-methyl ether (4), 3',4'-dimethoxy- 6,7-methylenedioxyisoflavone (5), iriskumaonin 3′-methyl ether (6), lophirone L (7), a mixture of biflavanone 1 and campylospermone A, syringaresinol (8), and 16α,17-dihydroxy-ent-kauran-19-oic acid (9). (see study below) (9)
- Oil yield was high (39-71%), containing mainly palmitic acid (35.62-37.31%), oleic acid (37.31-46.80%), and linoleic acid (10.61-18.66%). The oil had a very distinctive aroma predominantly composed of p-cymene (52.26%), m-xylene (9.63%), γ-terpinene (9.07%), o-xylene (7.97%), and limonene (7.23%). (10)

- Studies have suggested antibacterial, antimalarial, cytotoxic, non-mutagenic, antioxidant properties.

Parts utilized
Bark, roots, fruit.

- No reported folkloric use in the Philippines.
- Elsewhere, bark or root use for wound treatment; also, applied for pain relief.
- Zulu people of South Africa use the decoction of roots to treat children suffering from bone diseases or gangrenous proctitis. (2)
- Oil: Oil from seeds used for cooking and making soap.

Antibacterial: Study evaluated the antibacterial activity and number of antibacterial compounds in acetone leaf extracts of five Ochna species against S. aureus, E. faecalis and P. aeruginosa. The order of activity of the species to the tested organisms was O. pretoriensis > O. pulchra > O. gamostigmata > O. serrulata > O. natalitia. (5)
Non-Mutagenic: Five Ochna species, including Ochna serrulata, were evaluated for cytotoxicity in monkey kidney (Vero) cells, human hepatocellular carcinoma (C3A) cells and bovine dermis cells using the mitochondrial viability MTT assay. The plant extracts were relatively cytotoxic but not genotoxic.(6)
Biflavonoids: Phytochemical investigation yielded a number of new biflavonoids. Isolated compounds were evaluated for antimalarial and cytotoxic activities. (7)
• Antioxidant / Cytotoxicity: Screening of extracts and fractions showed significant antioxidant activity on DPPH and reducing assays. Ochna serrulata also demonstrated slight toxic activity against Artemia sauna and potential inhibitory allelopathic activity on Lactuca sativa seed germination test. Partitioning of an EA fraction yielded epicatechin, which showed potential antioxidant activity. (8)
• Antimalarial Biflavonoids / Roots: Study of pulverized roots yielded three new bioflavonoids along with six known compounds. Study evaluated a methanol extract of pulverized roots got antimalarial activity against chloroquine-resistant strains of Plasmodium falcifarum (FCR-3). Study Compound 1 showed antimalarial activity with IC50 11.46 µM. Compounds 2, 3, and 4 showed antimalarial activity with IC50s of 38.43, 26.52, and 40.72 µM, respectively. The compounds showed not cytotoxicity against three different cancer cell lines tested. (see constituents above) (9)

Ornamental cultivation.

Updated November 2022 / March 2019 / January 2015

IMAGE SOURCE: Photograph / File:Starr 080313-3391 Ochna serrulata.jpg / P Ochna serrulata (sepals green fruit and leaves). Location: Maui, Kula Experimental Station / Attribution: Forest & Kim Starr / Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license / Click on image to go to source page ./ Wikimedia Commons
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Photograph / Ochna serrulata flower / Danny S. / Creative Commons by SA 4.0 / Click on image to go to source page ./ Wikimedia Commons

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Ochna serrulata Walp. / KEW: Plants of the World Online
Ochna serrulata / A Database of Indigenous South African Flora / Kumbula Indigenous Nursery
Harnessing the healing properties of medicinal plants / Dr. Monica Ndoile
Ochna serrulata (Mickey Mouse Bush) / Ten Random Facts
(5) /
Five Ochna species have high antibacterial activity and more than ten antibacterial compounds / Tshepiso J. Makhafola and Jacobus N. Eloff / S Afr J Sci 2012; 108 (1/2)
In vitro cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of five Ochna species (Ochnaceae) with excellent antibacterial activity
/ Tshepiso J. Makhafola, Lyndy J. McGaw, , Jacobus N. Eloff / South African Journal of Botany, 2014; Volume 91: pp 9–13 / DOI:10.1016/j.sajb.2013.11.010
Structure, Activity and Synthesis of Bioflavonoids from Ochna serrulara (Hochst.) Walp.
/ F. R. van Heerden, M. M. Ndoile, Y. Ding / Bi-national Organic Chemistry Conference 2014
Antioxidant, Allelopathic and Toxic Activity of Ochna serrulata / Guilherme Colla, Mariana Andrade Silva, Gustavo Silva Queiroz, Llenes M C Brighente / LATIN AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACY, May 2011; 30(4): pp 809-813

Antimalarial Biflavonoids from the Roots of Ochna serrulata (Hochst.) Walp / Monica M. Ndoile and Fanie R. Van Heerden / International Research Journal of Pure & Applied Chemistry, 2018; 16(4): pp 1-9
The chemical composition of oils and cakes of Ochna serrulata (Ochnaceae) and other underutilized traditional oil trees from Western Zambia / Adela Frankova, Anna Manourova, Zora Kotikova, Katerina Vejvodova, Jan Tauchen et al / Molecules, 2021; 26(17): 5219 / DOI: 10.3390/molecules26175210

DOI: It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

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