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Family Ochnaceae
Mickey Mouse plant
Ochna kirkii Oliv.

Scientific names Common names
Diporidum kirkii (Oliv.) Kuntze Bird's-eye bush (Engl.)
Ochna kirkii Oliver Carnival bush (Engl.)
Polytheciun kirkii (Oliv.) Tiegh. Mickey mouse plant (Engl.)
Accepted infraspecifics Ochna (Engl.)
Ochna kirkii subsp. kirkii  
Ochna kirkii subsp. multisetosa Verdc.  
Mickey mouse plant/ bush is a common name shared by (1) Ochna kirkii, bird's eye bush (2) Ochna serrulata, Mickey Mouse plant, and (3) Solanum mammosum, utong
Ochna kirkii Oliv. is accepted. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
VIETNAMESE: Hoa mai, Hoang mai.

Gen info
- Ochna kirkii, from the family Ochnaceae, is one of the 86 species of Ochna shrub and trees. It is similar to Ochna serrulata, also called Mickey Mouse plant, which has smaller and serrated leaves and smaller flowers; O. kirkii, in comparison, has larger and rounder leaves and larger flowers.
- The genus name Ochna comes from the Greek work Ochne, meaning "wild pear" because of its similarity to leaves of the pear tree. The species epithet honors Thomas Kirk, a writer on New Zealand plants.
- O. kirkii was named for Sir John Kirk (1832-1922), a Scottish physician, naturalist, explorer and diplomat or Thomas Kirk, a writer on New Zealand plants.
- The common name, Mickey Mouse Plant, derives from the clusters of dark fruitlets surrounded by red sepals, supplemented by red stamens, which somewhat resembles the Walt Disney cartoon character.

Ochna kirkii is a big shrub or small tree growing to a height of 3 to 4.5 meters tall. Leaves are glossy and dark green, alternate, oblong-elliptic to narrow-obovate, cuneate or heart-shaped, blunt or rounded at the tip, up to 10 centimeters long, margins are entire or undulate, usually with fine hairs. Flowers are in small panicles or short , lateral branchlets. Petals are 2.5 centimeters long, calyx is red. Fruit is are black, rounded and glossy, protruding from the swollen base of bright red calyx, resembling Mickey Mouse ears when paired.

- Native to southeastern Africa.
- Introduced to the Philippines after WWII.

- Native to Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania. (2)
- Cultivated for its colorful flowers.
- Used as hedge plant.

- Study of stem and root bark extracts of Ochna thomasiana yielded lophirone A, afzelone D dimethylether, calodenone, a mixture of stigmasterol and β-sitosterol and 3β-acetyl-24-ethylfriedelane. Roots yielded biflavonoids and sterols. (see study below) (3)
- Phytochemical quantification study yielded total ash 5.15% ±0.4623, acid insoluble ash 0.32% ± 0.6214, water soluble ash 10.72% ± 0.2340, alcohol soluble extractive 12.8% ± 1.3370, ether soluble extractives 7.30% ± 1.8341, water content 5.76% ± 0.0040, loss on drying 6.91% ± 2.6133. (4)
- Preliminary phytochemical screening of leaves yielded flavonoids, tannins, phenols, saponins, and triterpenoid. Total phenolic content was 252.08 mg GAE/g ± 0.4430. (4)
- Study of methanolic extract of root bark isolated the new isoflavonoid kirkinone A (1) and biflavonoid kirkinone B (2) along with six known compounds (3-8) (see study below) (6)

Parts used
Roots, branches, leaves.

- Decoction of roots, branches and leaves used for wound healing.
- In Thailand, root used for diarrhea and hallucination.

- In Mozambique, used for the treatment of malaria. Cold maceration of roots and leaves used for the treatment of diarrhea, cough and headache. (5)

• Antibacterial / Stem and Root Bark: Study evaluated the biologic activities of Ochna thomasiana. Stem and root bark methanol crude extracts showed high activity against Gram-positive bacteria viz., E. coli, B. subtilis, S. aureus with 14, 15, and 20 mm zones of inhibition, respectively. (3)
• Antibacterial / Cytotoxic / Biflavonoids / Root Bark: Study of methanolic extract of root bark isolated the new isoflavonoid kirkinone A (1) and biflavonoid kirkinone B (2) along with six known compounds (3-8) Calodenin B (4) and lophirone A(6) showed significant antibacterial activity against Gram-positive bacteria Bacillus subtilis with MIC values of 2.2 and 28 µM, and cytotoxicty against MCF-7 human breast cancer cell line with IC50 of 219.3 and19.2 µM, respectively. (6)

- Wildcrafted.
- Cultivated.

Updated November 2022 / April 2022 / January 2017

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Photograph: Ochna kirkii (Mickey mouse plant) / Tanaka Juuyoh / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic / click on image to go to source page / Wikimedia Commons
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Photograph: Ochna kirkii (Mickey mouse plant) / Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz / Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 / click on image to go to source page / Wikimedia Commons

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibition by Brazilian plants / Fernão C. Braga et al / Fitoterapia Volume 78, Issue 5, July 2007, Pages 353-358 / doi:10.1016/j.fitote.2007.02.007

Ochna kirkii Oliv. / KEW: Plants of the World Online Plant
Phytochemical and antimicrobial investigation of ochna thomasiana engl. & gilg / Muema, Mbithi Justus / Kenyatta University Institutional Repository / URI: http://ir-library.ku.ac.ke/handle/123456789/13322

Ochna kirkii Oliv: Pharmacognostical Evaluation, Phytochemical Screening, and Total Phenolic
/ Endang Hanani, Vivi Anggia, Ike Nurvita Amalina / Pharmacognosy Journal, 2020; 12(6) /
DOI: 10.5530/pj.2020.12.181
Ethnobotanical study of plants used by the traditional healers to treat malaria in Mogovolas district, northern Mozambiqye / Leonardo Manuel, Maria do Ceu Madureira et al / Heliyon, Dec 2020; 6(12): e05746
Antibacterial and cytotoxic biflavonoids from the root bark of Ochna kirkii
/ Thobias M Kalenga, Mate Erdelyi et al / Fitoterapia, 2021; Vol 151: 104857 / DOI: 10.1016/j.fitote.2021.104857

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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