The Loranthaceae species are widespread throughout most regions of the world, and are used for various medicinal and ethnopharmacological purposes. However, the species vary in their pharmacological activity, sometimes in correlation with the species from same ecological region or host plant, due to variation in the chemical profiles. This has led to great emphasis on caution in identification and collection for use. The wide array of secondary metabolites in Loranthaceae species are believed to be of chemotaxonomic importance. In this study, the leaves of seven Nigeria species from different ecological locations were screened for the profiles of their secondary metabolites with a view towards establishing chemotaxonomic significance. The results show the complete absence of alkaloid from all the species. Over 80% of the species tested positive for balsam, flavonoids and phenols, more than 70% tested positive for tannins, 60% for saponins and about 50% tested positive for glycosides and volatile oils. Resins, phlobatannin, terpenes, sterols and anthraquinones were present in less than 50% of the species. Some metabolites were completely absent in one or more species. The patterns displayed could be of chemotaxonomic importance for Loranthaceae in Nigeria.
Key words: Loranthaceae, chemotaxonomy, secondary metabolites, Nigeria.
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