Origin. Acacia Farnesfana,Willd., which is probably indigenous to the West Indies3) and probably likewise to West Africa4), is a leguminous shrub which is at present widely distributed over the warmer climates of all continents, thus in Egypt, Australia, the Hawaiian Islands, the Philippines, and North and South America. In southern France, Algeria, Syria (Beirut), northern India (Naini Tal, on the southern slope of the Himalayas) and in New Caledonia the fragrant flowers are used in the production of perfume.
1) Fluckiger, Pharmakognosie des Pflanzenreiches, Berlin 1891. 3rd ed., p. 765.
2) Berichte der deutsch. pharm. Ges. 20 (1910), 594.
3) Engler-Prantl, Die naturlichen Pflanzenfamilien, Part. Ill, Section I, 3d Div., p. 112.
4) E. de Wildeman, Publication de l'Etat Independant du Congo 1906. Notices sur des plantes utiles et inte'ressantes de la flore du Congo. II. Brussels 1906, p. 105.
In southern France the shrub is known as Cassier du Levant, Cassillier de Farnese, Cassier ancien or simply Cassier. In favorable localities it is cultivated from seeds on a large scale.
In southern France the collection of flowers begins when the plants are three years old1). Each plant yields 500 to 600 g. of flowers which are collected twice weekly during the months of September, October, and November and occasionally during December. During recent years 150 000 kg. of cassie flowers have been harvested annually in France and Algiers2). In 1910 one kg. of flowers demanded a price of 3 fr.3).
Whereas in northern India, cassie pomade has been made from the flowers for many years, no attempt has been made to utilize the flowers of Acacia Farnesiana4) in the tropics proper.
Production. Inasmuch as a volatile oil cannot be obtained from cassie flowers by distillation, the flowers are extracted either with hot fat (pomade) or more frequently with petroleum ether. The cassie extract of commerce obtained according to the latter method is a dark brown mass of salve- or wax-like consistence.
Properties. The oil proper has been prepared but rarely. Schimmel & Co.5) prepared it by shaking out 115 kg. cassie pomade three times with alcohol. From the united washings the alcohol was removed carefully by distillation. The residue, which still contained large amounts of fat, was distilled with water vapor. The aqueous distillate, which contained most of the odoriferous principles in solution, yielded upon extraction with ether 315 g. of a dark colored oil. For further purification it was next treated with soda solution when 28 g. of fatty acids (caprinic acid?) which probably originated in the fat used, also a small amount of salicylic acid, were obtained. The oil, rectified a second time with water vapor, was heavier than water, light yellow in color and possessed a pleasant but strong odor of cassie flowers. The yield amounted to 197 g. = 0,171 p. c. of the pomade. The following constants were observed: d15o1,0475; aD + 0°; nD20o1,51331; S. V. 176.
1) Comp. also L. Mazuyer, Journ. Parfum. et Savonn. 21 (1908), 254.
2) See footnote 4, p. 588.
3) Berichte von Roure-Bertrand Fils April 1911, 76.
*) The second species which is cultivated in southern France because of its flowers, but which is less highly prized, is Acacia Cavenia, Hook, et Am. See p. 591.
5) Report of Schimmel & Co. April 1904, 23.
H. von Soden1) extracted 1000 kg. of cassie flowers with petroleum ether and after removal of the waxy constituents obtained 840 g. = 0,084 p.c. of volatile oil which congealed at 18 to 19°; d27o1,040; aD25o - 0°40'; A. V. 42,50; E. V. 114 = 30,9 p.c. methyl salicylate.
In connection with an oil obtained in like manner by Schimmel & Co.2) from a French cassie flower extract the following constants were observed: d15o1,0575; aD - 0°30'; nD22o1,51500; A. V. 25,4; E. V. 229. The yield amounted to 5,65 p.c. of the extract.
Composition. The principal constituents of the oil of cassie flowers were made known by an investigation in the laboratory of Schimmel & Co.3). An oil obtained from Indian cassie flower pomade was used, the constants of wich have been enumerated above under "Properties". By shaking the oil with dilute sodium hydroxide solution about 11 p.c. of methyl salicylate (b. p. 224 to 226°; d15o1,1770) were removed, also a small amount of p-cresol (m. p. of the anisic acid, obtained by the oxidation of its p-cresol methyl ether, 180°). The oil deprived of its phenols contained benzaldehyde (m. p. of semicarbazone 214°), benzyl alcohol (m. p. of acid phthalic ester 105 to 106°; m. p. of phenyl urethane 177°), a ketone having the odor of menthone (b. p. 200 to 205°; d16o0,9327; aD - 3°50'; m. p. of semicarbazone 177 to 178°), anisic aldehyde (m. p. of anisic acid 180°), decylic aldehyde (m. p. of semicarbazone 97°), cuminic aldehyde (m. p. of semicarb-azone 200°). A constituent of the greatest importance, so far as the odor is concerned is a ketone with a violet odor that boils at 133° under 15 mm. pressure p. of-p-bromphenyl hydrazone 103 to 107°). The presence of geraniol and linalool, though not positively proven, is rendered probable.
1) Journ. f. prakt. Chem. II. 69 (1904), 270.
2) Report of Schimmel & Co. April 1907, 27.
3) Ibidem October 1899, 58; April 1901, 18; April 1903, 17. - H. Wal-baum, Journ f. prakt. Chem. II. 68 (1903), 235. - Report of Schimmel & Co. April 1904, 23. - G.I.P. 139635 and 150170.
According to Haarmann and Reimer1) the higher boiling portions of the oil contain a sesquiterpene alcohol C16H260 named farnesol (Comp. vol. I, p. 399).