Duboisia.—D. myoporoides R. Br. (fam. Solanaceae) is a tall, glabrous shrub or small tree, which is a native of Australia, New South Wales, New Caledonia, and Queensland. The medicinal properties of this plant were made known by Baron von Mueller, who received the leaves from J. Bancroft. The alkaloid duboisine was discovered in the leaves by A. W. Gerrard. (P. J., viii, 787). For his method, see 16th ed., U. S. D.; also, for an account of the chemical and medicinal properties of this alkaloid, and its relations to atropine, see Belladonna.
According to the researches of Jos. Lanterer (L. L., 1896), the old leaves and twigs of Duboisia myoporoides, contain hyoscyamine, the fresh young leaves scopolamine, the dried leaves being stronger than are belladonna leaves, and yielding 0.97 per cent. of alkaloid. Duboisia Leichhardtii F. v. Muell. is said to be still richer in alkaloid, which is chiefly amorphous scopolamine; while the leaves of Datura arborea L. (Brugmansia arborea Steud.) and of D. cornigera Hooker (Brugmansia Knightii Hort.), natives of South America, acclimatized in Queensland, contain a mixture of hyoscyamine and atropine.
D. Hopwoodii F. v. Muell., pitury plant, is the source of pituri, a narcotic stimulant largely used by the natives of Central Australia. The drug itself is a fine powder, composed of the leaves and twigs which are gathered during the month of August, while the flower is in bloom, and are put up in various forms of circular mats about 7.5 cm. in diameter. The natives smoke and chew pituri, and it is alleged to have a powerfully stimulating effect, assuaging hunger, and enabling those who are its devotees to perform much labor and go long journeys with but little food. Pituri yielded to A. W. Gerrard minute quantities of an alkaloid which he believed to be identical with nicotine, but Liversidge has shown that the liquid, acrid alkaloid, piturine, C12H16N2, is distinct from nicotine. (Proc. Roy. Soc. N. S. W., 1880.) Pituri contains from 1 to 2 ½ per cent. of the alkaloid.