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Calotropis procera

Calotropis procera
Photo Information
Copyright: Luciano Gollini (lousat) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
Genre: Plants
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2011-01-22
Categories: Flowers
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC HX1
Exposure: f/4, 1/1000 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): My favourite naturescapes, Anna's Favourites 2 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2011-02-19 16:49
Viewed: 6372
Points: 66
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Asclepiadaceae
Genus: Calotropis
Species: C. procera

Calotropis procera is a species of flowering plant in the dogbane family, Apocynaceae, that is native to North Africa, Tropical Africa, Western Asia, South Asia, and Indochina. It is commonly known as Apple of Sodom, a name derived from the Hebrew Tapuah Sdom. The green globes are hollow but the flesh contains a toxic milky sap that is extremely bitter and turns into gluey coating resistant to soap.
The fruit is described by the Roman Jewish historian Josephus, who saw it growing near Sodom: "...as well as the ashes growing in their fruits; which fruits have a color as if they were fit to be eaten, but if you pluck them with your hands, they dissolve into smoke and ashes." (Whiston 1737: Book IV chapter 8 section 4)
In his Biblical Researches in Palestine, Edward Robinson describes it as the fruit of the Asclepias gigantea vel procera, a tree 10–15 feet high, with a grayish cork-like bark called osher by the Arabs. He says the fruit resembled a large, smooth apple or orange, hanging in clusters of three or four. When pressed or struck, it exploded with a puff, like a bladder or puff-ball, leaving in the hand only the shreds of the thin rind and a few fibers. It is filled chiefly with air, which gives it the round form. In the center a small slender pod runs through it which contains a small quantity of fine silk, which the Arabs collect and twist into matches for their guns.The plant, however, is not native solely to Israel. It is known to occur throughout the tropical belt and is also common in the West Indies (e.g. Jamaica), where the locals know it as "pillow cotton". When the ripe "apples" burst, the fibrous contents are ejected along with the seeds. The former are collected by the Jamaicans and used for filling pillows.
The Sodom Apple is mentioned in the Mishnah and the Talmud. The long fibers attached to the seeds may once have served as wicks. The rabbis rule that these fibers were not suitable for Shabbat wicks: "It may not be lighted with cedar-bast, nor with uncombed flax, nor with floss-silk, nor with willow fiber, nor with nettle fiber."
Some biblical commentators believe that the Sodom Apple may have been the poisonous gourd (or poison-tasting gourd) that led to "death in the pot" in 2 Kings 4:38–41. In this story, a well-meaning servant of the prophet Elisha gathers herbs and a large quantity of the unknown gourds, and casts them into the pot. After the outcry from the band of prophets, Elisha, instructs them to cast flour into the stew pot, and they are saved.The fibre of the Sodom Apple may have been used for the linen of the high priests.
The milky sap contains a complex mix of chemicals, some of which are steroidal heart poisons known as "cardiac aglycones". These belong to the same chemical family as similar chemicals found in foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea). The steroidal component includes an hydroxyl group in the C3β position, a second attached to the C14 carbon, a C/D-cis ring junction and an α,β-unsaturated-γ-lactone in the C17 position. In the plants, the steroidal component is commonly attached via a glycosidic link to a 2-desoxy or a 2,6-didesoxy sugar molecule. The features described are those required for toxicity but in addition there can be other substitutions into the steroid nucleus. These can be a C19-aldehyde in place of the more usual methyl group in this position as well as additional hydroxyl functions and sometimes epoxide structures.
In the case of the Calotropis glycosides, their names are calotropin, calotoxin, calactin, uscharidin and voruscharin (the latter two involve rare sugars with nitrogen and sulphur in the structures). The steroidal moiety (known as "calotropagenin", formula C23H32O6) has one of the more unusual structures. The C-19 formyl (CHO) group is present and there is an additional secondary alcohol as well as the common C3 and C14 hydroxyl functions. The position of this third hydroxyl function remains in some doubt. It was apparently established by the Swiss group under Thadeus Reichstein as being in the C2 position with an equatorial configuration. However, this assignment does not explain some of the known features and behaviours of this molecule, in particular the absence of spin-spin coupling of the two axial protons associated with their geminal hydroxyl groups and the failure to react with iodate in a cleavage reaction which the presence of such a viscinal 1,2-diol would require.
Instead, a position at C6 has been advanced (though not published). This structure agrees with all the known properties of this molecule as being a 3β,6α,14ξ-trihydroxy-19-oxo-carda-20(22)-dienolide.


La pianta in questione è Calotropis procera , una Asclepiadacea arbustiva tropicale diffusa dal Nord Africa marocchino all’India (dove si trova C. gigantea, simile).
Il genere, con 6 specie, deve il nome alla bellezza (kalòs) di una parte del fiore. C. procera può raggiungere i 5 m, resiste benissimo alla siccità e può stabilizzare le dune sabbiose. Ha caratteristiche xerofitiche quali foglie consistenti a causa della spessa cuticola e “feltrate”, abbondante corteccia suberosa, numerose radici secondarie più o meno superficiali. La pianta ha un certo pregio ornamentale per le caratteristiche foglie biancastre subovali, fino a circa 10 x 15 cm, opposte, e per le infiorescenze ad ombrello; spesso sono presenti anche i notevoli frutti follicolari, ovoidali, verdi, di 8 - 12 cm, contenenti i semi avvolti da una massa fibrosa sericea.
Anticamente si ottenevano fibre dal fusto e dai frutti; dalle radici si ricavava una sostanza utile contro il mal di denti ed il latice era usato nella medicina locale (in effetti contiene calotropina e uscaridina, cardiotonici da usare a basse dosi, oltre a calactina; tutte sostanze velenose) o, mescolato a sale, per pulire il cuoio; dal carbone si preparava una polvere finissima usata per la polvere da sparo.
E’ stato segnalato che dopo aver toccato le piante non bisogna strofinarsi gli occhi. La pianta può essere infestante in certe isole del Pacifico ed in zone dell’Australia.
La specie, reperibile almeno in un vivaio siciliano, esige un clima caldo (non sopporta il gelo) ed asciutto con notevoli escursioni termiche, sole pieno, terreno molto drenato, sassoso o sabbioso; si può adattare a climi meno aridi e torridi di quelli originari. In particolare in serra è attaccata dagli afidi. La propagazione può avvenire da seme o da talee parzialmente lignificate in primavera-estate.
La famiglia, soprattutto tropicale e subtropicale, è affine a quella delle Apocynaceae, ed è rappresentata in Italia da poche specie, tra cui più nota è Vincetoxicum arundinaria; naturalizzato si può trovare anche Gomphocarpus fruticosus (dai curiosi frutti verdi globosi), e raramente Periploca sp., Asclepias syriaca (albero della seta), Caralluma europaea (a Linosa e Lampedusa), Cynanchum acutum.
L’habitus della famiglia Asclepiadaceae è erbaceo, arbustivo, lianoso, talvolta arboreo. Ad essa appartengono diverse specie ornamentali dei generi Asclepias e Hoya (es. H. carnosa e H. bella, fiore di cera), ma anche Stephanotis (S. floribunda), Araujia, Stapelia, Ceropegia, Caralluma e Huernia (le ultime 4 succulente), ecc. Asclepias curassavica è impollinata dalla “famosa” farfalla Monarca e A. tuberosa è detta anche butterfly weed. Molte Asclepiadecee contengono un latice e vengono usate nella medicina popolare, specialmente in India; diverse sono velenose.
*Talvolta indicata come Calotropis procera (Ait.) Ait.f., altre volte come Calotropis procera (Ait.) R.Br.”

CeltickRanger, yiannis, Miss_Piggy, marius-secan, maurydv, siggi, matatur, maaciejka, Pitoncle, vanda, cirano, paolo49, anel, Noisette, pierrefonds, Hormon_Manyer has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Noisette: mercii...lousat 1 02-24 04:52
To matatur: ...lousat 1 02-20 03:28
To cobra112: azzlousat 1 02-19 16:59
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Critiques [Translate]

Ciao Luciano. Ottima profondità, splendida luce e colori brillanti. Scusa la fretta ma è tutta la sera che tiro porconi a un programmino che mi stava sputtanando il PC. Ora vado a nanna... Ciauzz e buona Domenica.


salut Luciano

belle bouquet de ces fleurs sauvages, belle lumière, parfait focus
dans tout l'ensemble de la photo avec de superbes nettetés et détails,



VERY impressive photo Luciano!! The composition, the lighting and the colours are excellent. The sharpness is perfect.

nice capture, I have just seen it in nature near the Dead Sea, TFS Ori

Brilliant photo with excellent detail. regards yiannis

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2011-02-19 22:23]

Hello Luciano,
very lovely and indeed very pretty flowers. The colours are really complementing each other,purple and white.
The top view indeed give a good view of this bunch.
Very excellent clarity and pleasant composition.


Wow Luciano, I wish this could be mine, not only the image but the flower as well. It is just so gorgeous, really a lovely sight. The details and colours are in perfect harmony with one another, the background created by the green leaf super and the almost full framed composition just splendid. This one is a real pleasure to observe. Thanks for sharing. Best regards.

Hello Luciano,
Great image with wonderful vivid colors, outstanding sharpness as usual and perfect focus.
Very interesting and useful photographer's note.
Thanks for sharing!

Ciao Luciano, deliziosi fiorellini in una piacevole composizione, ottima niotidezza, colori brillanti, carinissima, bravo, buona Domenica, ciao Silvio

Hello Luciano,
Perfect macro, very interesting inflorescence, exxcellent colors and sharpness.

Ciao Luciano,
altra bellissima immagine di fiore esotico, straordinaria nitidezza e colori meravigliosamente belli, composizione perfetta
Grazie e complimenti
Buona giornata
Ciao Maurizio

Ciao Luciano,
Splendida composizione per questo altrettanto meraviglioso fiore!
Nitidezza e colori magnifici. Complete ed interessanti le note.

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2011-02-20 2:31]

Hello Luciano.
Spot on focus and exposure. I like the sharpness and texture of this flowers.The natural tone and details are so pleasing in well exposed shot.Best regards Siggi

Such a lovely close up study of a beautiful grouping Luciano, it resembles a porcelain brooch looking from this vantage point. Thanks indeed for this fine image my friend.

Hi Luciano,
perfect photo of these flowers. Whole fhoto is in focus. Amazing colours.
Thanks for sharing,

Ciao Luciano
Elle est magnifique
Merci pour cette découverte

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2011-02-20 6:50]

Lovely image of pretty flowers, excellent group and fine colors with details. tfs.

Hi Luciano - at first glance i thot it was orchids. Fantastic sharpness with excellent composition. The colors are looking so great. TFS

Bonjour Luciano,
Bien que la prise de vue en plongée applatisse le sujet il est tout de même relativement bien valorisé par l'appréciation de la finesse des détails et de la délicatesse des couleurs.
A bientôt sur TN pour de nouvelles aventures.

  • Great 
  • vanda Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 338 W: 25 N: 754] (3673)
  • [2011-02-20 8:37]

Ciao Luciano!
Interessante questo fiore...chissà se sarà bello come ce lo mostra la tua foto, visto che fai diventare una meraviglia anche quello più insignificante :)
Magnifica Luciano, con grande effetto 3D. Dettagli al top e bellissimi colori, esaltati da una splendida luce.
Congratulazioni e buona settimana.
ciao! Vanda

hello Luciano
great sharpness picture with great details and beautiful colours
greeting lou

  • Great 
  • cirano Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 997 W: 0 N: 944] (13609)
  • [2011-02-20 14:01]

Hi Luciano,
What an impressive macro of this very beautiful flower.Excellent sharpness and wonderful colors.Have a nice night.

Gracias por tus comentarios a mi penúltima fotografía y por tu sinceridad.
Tu toma es todo lo contrario, osea, llena de nitidez, luz y bellísimos colores.
Excelente composición además.
Un abrazo y buena semana Luciano: Josep Ignasi.

Hello Luciano,

The delicate colours go so well together, and create a delight for my eyes!
A fine piece of macro work, the details in the flowers are very well reproduced...
Well framed with good balance!

Pablo -

Ciao Luciano gran bel mazzolin di fiori ripreso molto bene con tutto a fuoco. Una bella immagine. Un saluto, Paolo

hello Luciano, a very beautiful bouquet, elegant and fine colors performance, very good use of light!
TFS Nasos

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2011-02-21 5:06]

Bonjour Luciano,
Quelle est belle ton image!! Tout est parfait ici! Rien à redire. Juste bravo!

Hi luciano,

Nice flowers & very well photographed.
I like the POV & framing is perfect.
Welldone & TFS.


Hello Luciano,
Very nice flowers, well caught and composed. Excellent details are clear and colours are soo nice. Well done!

bonjour Luciano
ces fleurs sont absolument magnifiques et tu les as superbement photographiées avec un excellent focus et une très grande netteté,
c'est très interressant de voir ensemble des fleurs ouvertes et fermées
les feuilles vertes du BG les mettent si bien en valeur
Merci et bonne nuit

Bonsoir Luciano,

Les feuilles cadrent bien les fleurs. La prise de vue permet de voir avec précision les détails et les couleurs des fleurs Calotropis procera. La qualité de la lumière embellie les couleurs de l'image. Bonne soirée.


ciao Luciano
what a beautiful flowery plant from Antilles. you greatly captured it with excellent sharp focus and splendid coloration and exposure. great POV and great DOF with f/4. nicely composed and framed. grazie amico mio
Buona notte e buon fine settimana

Ciao Luciano,
As I see, you came home with gigabytes of useful photos from the Dutch Antilles, and this is a worthy piece again. Excellent composition, sharpness and colours, again great use of flash. You're a master of this technique - and being in love with this technique, your photos offer so much to learn for me! Absolutely perfect capture, bravo! And no need to mention a rarely seen species on TN. Congrats for this treasure.
Friendly regards, László

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