Adenia globosa (PROTA)

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Plant Resources of Tropical Africa
Introduction
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Adenia globosa Engl.


Protologue: Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 14: 382, f. 8 (1891).
Family: Passifloraceae

Vernacular names

  • Mpaga (Sw).

Origin and geographic distribution

Adenia globosa occurs in East Africa from Somalia south to northern Tanzania.

Uses

In Tanzania a cold water extract of the stem is drunk to treat abdominal pain. An extract is used as a bath to treat itches. In Kenya the Maasai people use the tuberous stem as cattle medicine. Adenia globosa is grown for ornamental purposes in South Africa and in greenhouses in the temperate regions.

Production and international trade

Adenia globosa is collected, grown and traded as an ornamental by plant amateurs.

Properties

The aerial parts of Adenia globosa contain the cyanogenic glycosides deidaclin and its stereoisomer tetraphyllin A.

Description

Dioecious shrub or climber up to 8 m tall, with a swollen, warty globular trunk up to 2.5 m in diameter; stems erect or scandent, more or less succulent, with axillary, up to 8 cm long thorns. Leaves alternate, simple and entire to 3-lobed, soon falling; petiole 1–1.5 mm long; stipules narrowly triangular, c. 0.5 mm long, acute; blade triangular, 3–7 mm × 1.5–9 mm, base rounded, apex acute, with 1 kidney-shaped gland at base. Inflorescence an axillary cyme, 1–5-flowered; peduncle up to 1.5 mm long; bracts and bracteoles triangular. Flowers unisexual, regular, 5-merous, greenish white; pedicel up to 1(–1.5) cm long, jointed near base; calyx tube about as long as lobes; petals free, exserted, toothed; male flowers up to 2 cm long, filaments of stamens fused at base, anthers free, ovary rudimentary; female flowers up to 1 cm long, ovary superior, ovoid to ellipsoid, 3-ribbed, styles 3, fused at base, stigmas kidney-shaped, stamens rudimentary. Fruit a stalked globular to ovate-ellipsoid capsule 1–3 cm × 1–2 cm, leathery, smooth, green, many-seeded. Seeds broadly ovoid, flattened, 6–7 mm × 3–5.5 mm × 3 mm, pitted.

Other botanical information

Adenia comprises about 95 species, with about 60 species on the African continent, 20 in Madagascar and 15 in Asia. The genus is subdivided in 6 sections. Adenia globosa, and several other species with medicinal uses belong to section Adenia.

Adenia venenata

Adenia venenata Forssk. occurs from Nigeria east to Eritrea and south to Tanzania. In DR Congo Adenia venenata is cultivated near villages and is used to treat intestinal worms. In Kenya Turkana people use the leaves to treat cattle suffering from mange.

Adenia subsessilifolia

In Madagascar the pounded stems of Adenia subsessilifolia Perr. are applied to wounds. The tubers are bitter and inedible.

Ecology

Adenia globosa occurs in scrub savanna at 100–1800 m altitude.

Genetic resources

Adenia globosa is widely distributed and hence not threatened with genetic erosion.

Prospects

Adenia globosa is only locally used, and will remain of little importance unless pharmacological research shows new possibilities. The prospects of Adenia globosa as an ornamental seem promising because of the growing interest in unusual plants by specialized amateurs.

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.
  • Hedberg, I., Hedberg, O., Madati, P.J., Mshigeni, K.E., Mshiu, E.N. & Samuelsson, G., 1983. Inventory of plants used in traditional medicine in Tanzania. Part III. Plants of the families Papilionaceae-Vitaceae. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 9: 237–260.
  • Neuwinger, H.D., 2000. African traditional medicine: a dictionary of plant use and applications. Medpharm Scientific, Stuttgart, Germany. 589 pp.

Other references

  • de Wilde, W.J.J.O., 1975. Passifloraceae. In: Polhill, R.M. (Editor). Flora of Tropical East Africa. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. 71 pp.
  • Jaroszewski, J.W. & Jensen, B., 1985. Deidaclin and tetraphylin A, epimeric glucosides of 2-cyclopentenone cyanohydrin, in Adenia globosa ssp. globosa Engl. (Passifloraceae). Crystal structure of deidaclin tetraacetate. Acta Chemica Scandinavica, series B, 39: 867–875.
  • Ohto, I., 1984. Symptoms are classified into diagnostic categories: Turkana’s view of livestock diseases. African Study Monographs, Supplement 3: 71–93.
  • Olafsdottir, E.S., Andersen, J.V. & Jaroszewski, J.W., 1989. Cyanohydrin glycosides of Passifloraceae. Phytochemistry 28(1): 127–132.
  • Sinei, K.A. & Mwangi, J.W., 1995. Effect of the tuber of Adenia globosa on isolated rat uterus preparation. International Journal of Pharmacognosy 33: 346–347.
  • Watt, J.M. & Breyer-Brandwijk, M.G., 1962. The medicinal and poisonous plants of southern and eastern Africa. 2nd Edition. E. and S. Livingstone, London, United Kingdom. 1457 pp.

Author(s)

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

Correct citation of this article

de Ruijter, A., 2007. Adenia globosa Engl. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). PROTA (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa / Ressources végétales de l’Afrique tropicale), Wageningen, Netherlands. Accessed 12 December 2017.