Casearia barteri (PROTA)

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Plant Resources of Tropical Africa
List of species

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Casearia barteri Mast.

Protologue: Fl. Trop. Afr. 2: 494 (1871).
Family: Flacourtiaceae (APG: Salicaceae)
Chromosome number: 2n = 44


  • Casearia mannii Mast. (1871),
  • Casearia runssorica Gilg (1913),
  • Casearia noldei A.Fern. & Diniz (1958).

Origin and geographic distribution

Casearia barteri occurs in the Lower Guinean and Congolian rainforest areas from Nigeria eastward to Sudan, and southward to Angola and Tanzania.


In West Africa the branches are used to make chew-sticks. In Burundi decoctions of the leaves are drunk against fever and madness. In DR Congo the fruits are used as a fish poison.


Phytochemical screening of the plant for active compounds gave positive results for saponins only.


Small to medium-sized tree, up to 20(–40) m tall; bole cylindrical, up to 40(–60) cm in diameter; bark greyish-brownish, slightly rugose; branches more or less horizontal; branchlets prismatic-angular, glabrous at tips. Leaves alternate, entire; petiole 1–1.5 cm long; blade ovate-oblong or oblong, (5–)7–14(–28) cm × (3–)4–6(–10) cm, base broadly cuneate or sometimes almost rounded and usually slightly unequal-sided, apex subacuminate, coriaceous, smooth and shiny above, lateral veins in 6–7(–10) pairs, curved, prominent beneath, tertiary veins laxly prominent-reticulate beneath. Inflorescence axillary, fascicled or glomerate, from a subglobose many-bracteolate cushion, glabrous. Flowers bisexual, small, greenish; pedicel 3(–5) mm long; calyx-lobes 5, c. 3 mm long, petals absent, stamens c. 10, alternating with filiform staminodes; ovary ovoid, attenuate to a short style. Fruit subglobular to broadly ellipsoid, somewhat trigonous, (1.5–)2–2.5(–3) cm × 1.5(–2) cm, yellow-orange, few-seeded. Seeds enveloped in a soft, membranous aril; testa crustaceous.

In Ghana Casearia barteri flowers in July–September and bears fruits in September–December.

Casearia is a genus of 160–180 species distributed over the tropics and subtropics, poorly represented in Africa with 9 species in mainland Africa, 1 in Madagascar and 2 in the Mascarenes.

Casearia prismatocarpa Mast. (synonym: Casearia dinklagei Gilg) is a very similar species that has been considered conspecific withCasearia barteri. It is a tree up to 20 m tall, occurring in the rainforest area from Sierra Leone to DR Congo. Its twigs are used in Ghana as chew-sticks and in Liberia the leaves are taken as a purgative.


Casearia barteri occurs from sea level up to 2450 m altitude in rainforest, swampy, flooded, half deciduous and secondary forests, gallery forest and wooded savanna.


The twigs are only collected from the wild.

Genetic resources

Casearia barteri is listed in the IUCN Red list as Lower Risk/least concern, but this needs to be updated in view of the current circumscription of the species.


It is unlikely that Casearia barteri will gain importance as a fibre plant in the future.

Major references

  • Aubréville, A., 1936. La flore forestière de la Côte d’Ivoire. Tome 3. Larose, Paris, France. 285 pp.
  • Breteler, F.J., 2008. A synopsis of Casearia Jacq. (Samydeae – Salicaceae) in West and Central Africa with a description of a new species from Eastern Congo (Kinshasa). Kew Bulletin 63: 101–112.
  • Burkill, H.M., 1994. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 2, Families E–I. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 636 pp.
  • Hul, S., 1995. Flacourtiaceae. Flore du Gabon. Volume 34. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. 82 pp.
  • Sleumer, H., 1971. Le genre Casearia Jacq. (Flacourtiaceae) en Afrique, à Madagascar et aux Mascareignes. Bulletin du Jardin Botanique National de Belgique 41: 397–426.

Other references

  • Baerts, M. & Lehmann, J., 1989. Guérisseurs et plantes médicinales de la région des crêtes Zaïre-Nil au Burundi. Annales Sciences Economiques Vol. 18. Musée Royal de l’Afrique Centrale, Tervuren, Belgium. 214 pp.
  • Bouquet, A. & Debray, M., 1974. Plantes médicinales de la Côte d’Ivoire. Travaux et Documents No 32. ORSTOM, Paris, France. 231 pp.
  • Chase, M.W., Zmarzty, S., Lledo, M.D., Wurdack, K.J., Swensen, S.M., & Fay, M.F., 2002. When in doubt, put it in Flacourtiaceae: a molecular phylogenetic analysis based on plastid rbcL DNA sequences. Kew Bulletin 57: 141–181.
  • Elujoba, A.A., Odeleye, O.M. & Ogunyemi, C.M., 2005. Traditional medicine development for medical and dental health care delivery system in Africa. African Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicines 2(1): 46–61.
  • Irvine, F.R., 1961. Woody plants of Ghana, with special reference to their uses. Oxford University Press, London, United Kingdom. 868 pp.
  • Neuwinger, H.D., 2004. Plants used for poison fishing in tropical Africa. Toxicon 44(4): 417–430.
  • Osho, J. S. A., 1996. Modelling the tree population dynamics of the most abundant species in a Nigerian tropical rain forest. Ecological Modelling 89(1–3): 175–181.
  • Sleumer, H., 1975. Flacourtiaceae. In: Polhill, R.M. (Editor). Flora of Tropical East Africa. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. 68 pp.
  • Sleumer, H. & Bamps, P., 1976. Flacourtiaceae (seconde partie). In: Bamps, P. (Editor). Flore d’Afrique centrale. Spermatophytes. Jardin botanique national de Belgique, Brussels, Belgium. 45 pp.
  • World Conservation Monitoring Centre, 1998. Casearia barteri. In: IUCN. Red list of threatened species. Version 2010.1. [Internet] March 2010.


  • 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. Casearia barteri Mast. [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. <>.

Accessed 6 March 2020.