Adenia firingalavensis (PROTA)

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Plant Resources of Tropical Africa
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Adenia firingalavensis (Drake ex Jum.) Harms


Protologue: Engl. & Prantl, Nat. Pflanzenfam. (ed. 2) 21: 490 (1925).
Family: Passifloraceae

Synonyms

  • Ophiocaulon firingalavense Drake ex Jum. (1903).

Vernacular names

  • Bottle liana (En).

Origin and geographic distribution

Adenia firingalavensis is endemic to western and southern Madagascar.

Uses

A poor-quality fibre is extracted from the trunk. The wax covering the trunk is occasionally collected. The plant is very toxic and is only used medicinally by very experienced traditional healers. In spite of its large size and slow growth, it is grown by specialist collectors of succulents.

Production and international trade

Adenia firingalavensis is traded internationally as an ornamental, but on a small scale only.

Properties

All parts of Adenia firingalavensis are toxic. It contains the cyanohydrin glycosides volkenin and tetraphyllin B.

Botany

Large, deciduous, succulent liana up to 15 m long; bole conical to subspherical, up to 2 m tall and 50 cm in diameter; outer bark blue-green, warty and mostly covered with a thick greenish layer of wax; branches vine-like, up to 3.5 m long and 1.5–3 mm thick. Leaves short-lived, simple; axils bearing a tendril or an inflorescence; stipules triangular to filiform, up to 1 mm long; petiole 2–10(–12) cm long, with 2 glands at apex; blade orbicular to ovate, entire to 3(–5)-lobed, 3–10(–17) cm × 2.5–10(–18) cm, base cordate, apex acuminate, margin entire, brownish green above, pale green-glaucous beneath, venal reticulation distinct. Tendrils simple, 4–10 cm long. Inflorescence axillary on short shoots or peduncled, bearing 1–5 male flowers or 1(–2) female flowers. Male flowers funnel-shaped, up to c. 3 cm long; sepals 5, linear, 9–30 mm × 1–2 mm; petals 5, lanceolate-linear, 6–16 mm × 1–2 mm; stamens 5, filaments 4–9 mm long, base connate, anthers c. 5 mm × 0.3 mm; corona inconspicuous or absent; rudimentary ovary present. Female flowers broadly funnel-shaped, up to c. 40 mm × 5 mm; sepals narrowly lanceolate to linear, up to 30 mm × 2 mm; petals lanceolate to linear, up to 20 mm × 2.5 mm; staminodes 5, linear; corona inconspicuous or absent; ovary ovoid-oblong, 4–8 mm long, 6-ribbed, styles 3, stigmas somewhat kidney-shaped. Fruit an ovoid capsule 6–7 cm × 3–4 cm, 1-celled; pericarp leathery, opening with 3 valves, 30–60-seeded. Seed ovoid to globose, 6–8 mm × 5–7 mm, flattened. Seedling with epigeal germination.

Adenia firingalavensis is slow-growing. It is generally common, although with locally poor regeneration rates. Its flowers and fruits from August to December. The axillary tendrils are modified inflorescences.

Adenia comprises c. 100 species with centres of diversity in West and East Africa, Madagascar and South-East Asia. In mainland tropical Africa about 60 species occur, in Madagascar about 30 which are all endemic.

Adenia stylosa (Perr.) D.J.Hearn (synonym: Adenia firingalavensis var. stylosa (H.Perrier) W.J.de Wilde) from northern Madagascar resembles Adenia firingalavensis, but molecular and morphological data suggest it is a separate species.

Adenia olaboensis Claverie, a large liana with swollen trunk, endemic to western Madagascar, yields a flexible fibre of mediocre quality. It occurs underneath shrubs and in secondary forest. The stem is rather horizontal and grows to 4 m, with a diameter of 40 cm, and has characteristic vertical ribs. The vines grow to a diameter of 12 cm and form meters-long secondary trunks and lianas. The larger vines have the same rib-pattern as the trunk. Leaves are simple, heart-shaped, 7 cm × 6 cm, thick, green above, and pale greenish below. The flowers are yellow. According to Sakalava folklore, the plant should be planted on the eastern side of a house.

Adenia cladosepala (Baker) Harms (synonym: Adenia ambongensis Claverie), a robust liana lacking a thickened trunk and occurring in north-western Madagascar, yields a fibre of rather poor quality.

Ecology

Adenia firingalavensis grows from sea level up to 500 m altitude in sheltered places in shade of dry forest, scrub and rocky areas derived from limestone.

Management

Propagation is possible by seed or cuttings.

Genetic resources

Although Adenia firingalavensis is slow-growing, with locally poor regeneration rates, it is locally common and occurs in a number of protected areas. It is in some demand internationally as a horticultural plant, but the number of plants exported from Madagascar is small, about 550 plants from 2000 to 2006. The export is controlled under CITES 2. Adenia olaboensis is also included in Annex 2 of CITES.

Prospects

Adenia firingalavensis is likely to remain of marginal economic importance.

Major references

  • de Wilde, W.J.J.O., 1971. A monograph of the genus Adenia Forsk. (Passifloraceae). Mededelingen Landbouwhogeschool Wageningen 71–18. Wageningen, Netherlands. 281 pp.
  • Hearn, D.J., 2006. Adenia (Passifloraceae) and its adaptive radiation: phylogeny and growth form diversification. Systematic Botany 31(4): 805–821.
  • Hearn, D.J., 2007. Novelties in Adenia (Passifloraceae): four new species, a new combination, a vegetative key, and diagnostic characters for known Madagascan species. Brittonia 59(4): 308 327.
  • Perrier de la Bâthie, H., 1945. Passifloracées (Passifloraceae). Flore de Madagascar et des Comores (plantes vasculaires), famille 143. Imprimerie Officielle, Tananarive, Madagascar. 50 pp.

Other references

  • Bernhard, A., 1999. Flower structure, development, and systematics in Passifloraceae and in Abatia (Flacourtiaceae). International Journal of Plant Science 160(1): 135–150.
  • Decary, R., 1946. Plantes et animaux utiles de Madagascar. Annales du Musée Colonial de Marseille, 54e année, 6e série, 4e volume, 1er et dernier fascicule. 234 pp.
  • de Wilde, W.J.J.O., 1970. A survey of the species of the genus Adenia (Passifloraceae) in Madagascar, with some new combinations, the description of some new taxa, and a key to the species. Adansonia, n.s. 10(1): 111–126.
  • Medina, J.C., 1959. Plantas fibrosas da flora mundial. Instituto Agronômico Campinas, Sao Paulo, Brazil. 913 pp.
  • Olafsdottir, E.S., Andersen, J.V. & Jaroszewski, J.W., 1989. Cyanohydrin glycosides of Passifloraceae. Phytochemistry 28(1): 127–132.
  • Rietveld, S. & Farazanamalala, J., 2008. Zazamalala forest and botanical garden. [internet] Foundation Friends of Southwestern Madagascar. http://www.madagaskar.com/. January 2010.

Author(s)

  • L.P.A. Oyen, PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article

Oyen, L.P.A., 2010. Adenia firingalavensis (Drake ex Jum.) Harms. [Internet] Record from PROTA4U. Brink, M. & Achigan-Dako, E.G. (Editors). PROTA (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa / Ressources végétales de l’Afrique tropicale), Wageningen, Netherlands. <http://www.prota4u.org/search.asp>.

Accessed 29 November 2017.