Family: Bastard-toadflax [Santalaceae]



Formerly, Mistletoe (Viscum album) used to be in the Mistletoe family (Viscaceae) and Bastard Toadflax (Thesium humifusum) in the Santalaceae family but now the genus Viscum has been subsumed into the Bastard-toadflax [Santalaceae] family. The Viscum Genus, of those plants in the UK, contains only Mistletoe. Similarly, the Thesium Genus contains only the plant Bastard Toadflax.

The Sandalwood tree (Santalum album yields oil of sandalwood, which contains an allergenic oil santanol, a sesquiterpene, which is used in incense, and also in modern perfume and cosmetic industries. It has a woody fragrance. Oil of Sandalwood is a allergenic sensitizer, repeated contact with which can give rise to contact dermatitis. There are two constituent santanols in Oil of Santanol, α-Santanol and β-Santanol.

α-Santanol has a strained three-membered cyclopropane ring, shown in red; which is fairly unusual in the natural world.

Sandalwood trees are not native to the British Isles. The only Sandalwood Family plant that does grow wild here is Bastard Toadflax, and then only in a 50 mile radius around Portsmouth and Southampton.

[VISCUM] Mistletoe

Mistletoe (Viscum album) Photo: © RWD

[THESIUM] Bastard-Toadflax

Bastard Toadflax (Thesium humifusum) Photo: © Bastiaan Brak

Family: Bastard-toadflax [Santalaceae]

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