Family: Fabaceae Genus:Castanospermum Species:C. australe Common name: Black bean, moreton-bay chestnut Origin: Australia
Description: It is a large evergreen tree growing to 40 m tall, though commonly much smaller. The leaves are pinnate, with 11-15 leaflets. The flowers are bicoloured red and yellow, produced in racemes. The fruit is a cylindrical pod, the interior divided by a spongy substance into three to five cells, each of which contains a large chestnut-like seed.
Seeds are edible after roasting, rich source of starch.
Wood used for panelling, furniture, cabinets, and other decorative work. Suitable for switchboards and other electric fittings, exceptionally high insulation. The timber, which somewhat resembles walnut, is soft, fine-grained, and takes a good polish, but is not very durable.
Castanospermine is reported to have anti- cancer potential. It inhibits platelet aggregation in metastatic H- Ras- transformed fibroblasts, inhibits tyrosinase activity in human melanoma cell and also biosynthesis, maturation and transport of alpha anti-trypsin in human leptoma cell line. Castanospermine is a useful tool in co-relating glycoprotein composition in cell development in mouse cerebellum in probing T-cell function and proliferationand in biosynthesis of vasopressin V2 receptor in renal epithelial cell.