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Camptotheca acuminata HK.jpg
Camptotheca acuminata
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Cornales
Family: Nyssaceae
Genus: Camptotheca

Camptotheca acuminata
Camptotheca lowreyana

Camptotheca (happy tree, cancer tree, or tree of life) is a genus of medium-sized deciduous trees growing to 20 metres (66 ft) tall, native to southern China and Tibet. The genus is usually included in the tupelo family Nyssaceae, but sometimes included (with the tupelos) in the dogwood family Cornaceae.

The name "happy tree" is a direct translation of the Chinese name xǐ shù (Simplified Chinese:喜树).

There are two species:

The bark and stems of C. acuminata contain the alkaloid camptothecin.[1] Several chemical derivatives of camptothecin are under investigation for or used as drugs for cancer treatment, including irinotecan, topotecan, rubitecan.[2]

C. acuminata also contains the chemical compounds trifolin and hyperoside.[1]


  1. ^ a b Li, S.; Zhang, Z.; Cain, A.; Wang, B.; Long, M.; Taylor, J. (2005). "Antifungal Activity of Camptothecin, Trifolin, and Hyperoside Isolated from Camptotheca acuminata". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 53 (1): 32–37. doi:10.1021/jf0484780. PMID 15631505.
  2. ^ G. Samuelsson (2004). Drugs of Natural Origin: a Textbook of Pharmacognosy (5th ed.). Stokkholm: Swedish pharmaceutical press. ISBN 978-91-974318-4-2.