Letter | Published:

Naphthoquinones from Diospyros hebecarpa

Nature volume 169, page 974 (07 June 1952) | Download Citation



Diospyros hebecarpa A. Cunn. is a small or medium tree which is common on the tropical coast of Queensland and has been suspected of poisoning livestock1. As other Diospyros species are reported to contain plumbagin2, it seemed possible that this is the toxic substance in D. hebecarpa. We have found that plumbagin is present in the leaves and bark of this species, and in addition we have isolated from the fresh leaves and immature fruits a new colourless crystalline compound, melting point 112−113° C., with the composition C11H10O3. In chemical properties and absorption spectrum this substance closely resembles β-hydrojuglone and β-hydroplumbagin, which are also colourless when pure. On oxidation with ferric chloride it gives a quinone, melting point 125–126° C. (‘Pyrex’), which is an isomer of plumbagin. (This quinone melts with decomposition at a much lower temperature in soda glass. Juglone behaves similarly, and its melting point may be raised to 164–165° C. in ‘Pyrex’ glass.)

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1.

    , Commonwealth Sci. and Indust. Res. Org. Bull. 232 (1948).

  2. 2.

    , Rec. trav. chim., 66, 193 (1947). and , C.R. Acad. Sci., Paris, 228, 2063 (1949).

Download references

Author information


  1. Department of Chemistry, University of Melbourne.

    • R. G. COOKE
    •  & H. DOWD
  2. Plant and Soils Laboratory, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Brisbane. Dec. 13.

    • L. J. WEBB


  1. Search for R. G. COOKE in:

  2. Search for H. DOWD in:

  3. Search for L. J. WEBB in:

About this article

Publication history




Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.