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This family of trees and shrubs found in Australia comprises 14 species in five genera. They are characterised by their content of mustard oil glucosides (Mabberley 1987).

Because they release mustard oils, members of this family should be regarded as potential skin and eye irritants.

Codonocarpus cotinifolia F.Muell.
[syn. Gyrostemon cotinifolius Desf.]
Desert Poplar, Western Bell Fruit, Bellbush, Firebush, Mustard Tree

The plant yields 1-methylpropyl isothiocyanate, an irritant "mustard oil", which is stored in the plant as its glucoside, namely glucocochlearin (Kjær 1960, Kjær & Malver 1979). (See also Cruciferae).

Tersonia cyathiflora A.S. George
[syns Tersonia brevipes Moq., Haloragis cyathiflora Fenzl]

The plant yields 1-methylpropyl isothiocyanate and 2-methylpropyl isothiocyanate, irritant "mustard oils", which are stored in the plant as their glucosides, namely glucocochlearin and isobutyl glucosinolate respectively (Kjær & Malver 1979). (See also Cruciferae).

[1-Methylpropyl isothiocyanate; 2-Methylpropyl isothiocyanate]


  • Kjær A (1960) Naturally derived isothiocyanates (mustard oils) and their parent glucosides. In: Zechmeister L (Ed.) Fortschritte der Chemie Organischer Naturstoffe / Progress in the Chemistry of Organic Natural Products / Progrés dans la Chimie des Substances Organiques Naturelles, Vol. 18, pp. 122-176. Vienna: Springer-Verlag [doi] [WorldCat] [url]
  • Kjær A, Malver O (1979) Glucosinolates in Tersonia brevipes (Gyrostemonaceae). Phytochemistry 18(9): 1565 [doi] [url]
  • Mabberley DJ (1987) The Plant-Book. A portable dictionary of the higher plants. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Richard J. Schmidt

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