Entada rheedei (PROTA)

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Plant Resources of Tropical Africa
Introduction
List of species


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Entada rheedei Spreng.


Protologue: Syst. veg. 2: 325 (1825).
Family: Mimosaceae (Leguminosae - Mimosoideae)
Chromosome number: 2n = 28

Synonyms

  • Entada pursaetha DC. (1825).

Vernacular names

  • Sea bean, McKay bean, elephant climber, matchbox bean, Queensland bean (En).
  • Liane sabre, liane staub, liane à bœuf (Fr).

Origin and geographic distribution

In tropical Africa Entada rheedei is distributed from Guinea Bissau in the west to Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique in the east. It is also native to South Africa, India to China, Guam and northern Australia. It is cultivated in Mauritius.

Uses

The stems of Entada rheedei are used as ropes throughout its area of distribution. The bark yields a good fibre for tying and for making fishing lines. In Madagascar the seeds are eaten after being soaked, shelled and cooked. In Madagascar the bark serves as a substitute for soap and elsewhere it is used as a hair wash. The smooth, shiny seeds are used for games. They are also used for polishing various artefacts by rubbing. In Malawi, for instance, the seeds are used for making the surface of clay pots smooth.

In traditional medicine in Tanzania sap from the stem-bark or root is rubbed on the skin as a treatment for an enlarged spleen, and an infusion of the bark is applied as a cure for scabies. The powdered seed is ingested in Ghana as a cure for fever. Decoctions of the seeds are used for soothing sore feet and in Mauritius as anthelmintic and to induce vomiting. The whole plant is considered a febrifuge. In South Africa the seeds are used for the treatment of jaundice and powdered seed is taken as a tonic. In Nepal the whole plant is made into a paste that is taken for relief of painful bones. In South-East Asia the bark and seeds are widely used against pains and itch. The seeds are also used in a poultice to cure colic in children. In Nigeria an infusion of the leaves is used as a fish-poison. The pods are used for fish poison in Katanga (DR Congo).

Properties

The bark and seeds contain saponins. The seeds contain tyrosine-O-glucoside, tyramine-O-glucoside and dopamine-3-glucoside.

Description

Large liana with unarmed stems over 50 m long; young branches glabrous or short soft-hairy. Leaves alternate, bipinnately compound, with (1–)2 pairs of pinnae; petiole (1–)2.5–4 cm long; rachis 4.5–7 cm long, usually grooved and short-hairy above, with tendrils at the apex; leaflets opposite, in 3–4(–5) pairs per pinna, elliptical to obovate-elliptical, up to 9 cm × 4 cm, obtuse to emarginate at apex, papery, short soft-hairy only on lower side along the basal part of the primary vein. Inflorescence an axillary spike-like raceme up to 30 cm long; peduncle short hairy or glabrous. Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous, yellowish-white; pedicel c. 0.5 mm long; calyx cup-shaped, 0.5–1.5 mm long, glabrous; corolla c. 3.5 mm long, with short tube and acute lobes, glabrous; stamens 10, united at base, c. 7 mm long; ovary superior, short-stalked, glabrous, 1-celled, style filiform, 4–5 mm long. Fruit a gigantic, straight or slightly curved pod 0.5–2 m × 7–15 cm, strongly compressed, with a 2–9 cm long stipe, glabrous, with papery blackish brown outer layer peeling off, several-seeded, breaking up into 1-seeded segments. Seeds almost circular, flattened, c. 5 cm × 3.5–5 cm, testa hard, chestnut brown.

Other botanical information

Entada comprises c. 30 species and is distributed throughout the tropics. About 15 species occur in continental Africa and 6 in Madagascar. Wrong identifications and misapplications of names have led to ample confusion. Especially in the pharmacological literature errors abound. The name Entada phaseoloides auct. non (L.) Merr., for instance, is used for specimens from Africa while the name applies to a species that is strictly Asian.

The stems of several Entada species yield fibres and are used for tying. Entada gigas (L.) Fawc. & Rendle is distributed in West and Central Africa extending into Uganda and Zambia and also in Central America, Colombia and the Caribbean. This species has often been confused in the literature with Entada rheedei from which it differs by the spirally twisted pod, the extent of the pubescence and in its ecology (it is confined to fringing forest along rivers). In Gabon the inner bark of Entada gigas is retted and the long, durable fibres are extracted to be used for ropes and nets. A bark decoction serves to bathe patients with anaemia and new mothers. It is also considered a cure for gonorrhoea. In DR Congo a decoction of the stem is given to overcome difficulty in breathing and an infusion is a cure for diabetes. For rheumatic patients leaves are warmed and applied to painful areas. A bark decoction is drunk against stomach pain. In Ghana Entada gigas is often planted at the entrance of villages to ward off misfortune, danger and accidents.

Entada leptostachya Harms (‘mgambari’ in Kiswahili) is a liana as well and is restricted to Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, the Comoros and Madagascar. In Madagascar the stems are used for tying. In Kenya the bark fibre is used for making rope, the roots are used as a remedy for snakebite, and the stems and roots are sources of potable water. In Ethiopia the twigs are commonly used for the treatment of a number of diseases with fever as a symptom.

Entada mannii (Oliv.) Tisser., a scandent shrub or woody liana, is distributed from Senegal to DR Congo and Angola. The stems are used as tying material in construction in Côte d’Ivoire. In Gabon fibre from the inner bark is used for making belts and harnesses to climb palm trees for wine tapping.

Growth and development

Entada rheedei is reported to be a symbiotic nitrogen-fixer. In Madagascar it flowers in April and from August to December.

Ecology

Entada rheedei is most often found in lowland rainforest and fringing forest.

Propagation and planting

Entada rheedei can be readily grown from cuttings. Natural germination of the hard Entada seeds may take a year or more. Seed treatment by removal of the hilum, including a portion of the testa, and germination in a wet jute sack, results in radicle emergence and seeds ready for potting within 15 days. Seedlings can be planted out in the field after 1 month.

Management

In south-western DR Congo fallow fields are often enriched by sowing seeds of Entada and Pentaclethra spp.

Harvesting

In Mauritius the seeds are collected on the beaches and are for sale at herbalists on markets.

Genetic resources

Entada rheedei is widespread and therefore not threatened with extinction or even genetic erosion. However, in south-western DR Congo it is recorded to have become uncommon as a result of overexploitation.

Prospects

As a fibre producer Entada rheedei may remain important locally. Saponins, diterpenes and entadamines from Entada rheedei and related species possess interesting properties as molluscicidal, trypanocidal, anti-asthma and anti-inflammatory compounds. Research is needed to evaluate their potential.

Major references

  • Brenan, J.P.M., 1970. Leguminosae (Mimosoideae). In: Brenan, J.P.M. (Editor). Flora Zambesiaca. Volume 3, part 1. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. 153 pp.
  • Burkill, H.M., 1995. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 3, Families J–L. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 857 pp.
  • du Puy, D.J., Labat, J.N., Rabevohitra, R., Villiers, J.-F., Bosser, J. & Moat, J., 2002. The Leguminosae of Madagascar. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 750 pp.
  • Latham, P., 2004. Useful plants of Bas-Congo province, Democratic Republic of the Congo. DFID, London, United Kingdom. 320 pp.
  • Nicolson, D.H., Suresh, C.R. & Manilal, K.S., 1988. An interpretation of Van Rheede's Hortus Malabaricus. Koeltz, Königstein, Germany. 378 pp.
  • van der Maesen, L.J.G., 2001. Entada Adanson. In: van Valkenburg, J.L.C.H. & Bunyapraphatsara, N. (Editors). Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 12(2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands. pp. 246–248.
  • Villiers, J.-F., 1989. Leguminosae - Mimosoideae. Flore du Gabon. Volume 31. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. 185 pp.

Other references

  • Beentje, H.J., 1994. Kenya trees, shrubs and lianas. National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya. 722 pp.
  • Boiteau, P., Boiteau, M. & Allorge-Boiteau, L., 1999. Dictionnaire des noms malgaches de végétaux. 4 Volumes + Index des noms scientifiques avec leurs équivalents malgaches. Editions Alzieu, Grenoble, France.
  • Brenan, J.P.M., 1959. Leguminosae subfamily Mimosoideae. In: Hubbard, C.E. & Milne-Redhead, E. (Editors). Flora of Tropical East Africa. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. 173 pp.
  • Brenan, J.P.M., 1967. The genus Entada, its subdivision and a key to the African species; notes on Mimosoïdeae 11. Kew Bulletin 20(3): 361–378.
  • Burgess, N.D. & Clarke, G.P., 2000. Coastal forests of Eastern Africa. IUCN, Gland, Swizerland. 443 pp.
  • Gurib-Fakim, A., Guého, J. & Bissoondoyal, M.D., 1996. Plantes médicinales de Maurice, tome 2. Editions de l’Océan Indien, Rose-Hill, Mauritius. 532 pp.
  • Haerdi, F., 1964. Die Eingeborenen-Heilpflanzen des Ulanga-Distriktes Tanganjikas (Ostafrika). In: Haerdi, F., Kerharo, J. & Adam, J.G. (Editors). Afrikanische Heilpflanzen / Plantes médicinales africaines. Acta Tropica Supplementum 8: 1–278.
  • Hegnauer, R. & Hegnauer, M., 1994. Chemotaxonomie der Pflanzen. Band 11a. Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel, Switzerland. 529 pp.
  • Hutchings, A., Haxton Scott, A., Lewis, G. & Cunningham, A., 1996. Zulu medicinal plants: an inventory. University of Natal Press, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. 450 pp.
  • Irvine, F.R., 1961. Woody plants of Ghana, with special reference to their uses. Oxford University Press, London, United Kingdom. 868 pp.
  • Malaisse, F., 1997. Se nourir en fôret claire africaine. Approche écologique et nutritionelle. Les presses agronomiques de Gembloux, Gembloux, Belgium & CTA, Wageningen, Netherlands. 384 pp.
  • Medley, K.E. & Kalibo, H.W., 2007. Ethnobotanical survey of 'wild' woody plant resources at Mount Kasigau, Kenya. Journal of East African Natural History 96(2): 149–186.
  • Rasoanaivo, P., Petitjean, A. & Conan, J.Y., 1993. Toxic and poisonous plants of Madagascar: an ethnopharmacological survey. Fitoterapia 64: 117–129.
  • Tra Bi, F.H., Kouamé, F.N. & Traoré, D., 2005. Utilisation of climbers in two forest reserves in West Côte d’Ivoire. In: Bongers, F., Parren, M.P.E. & Traoré, D. (Editors). Forest climbing plants of West Africa. Diversity, ecology and management. CABI Publishing, Wallingford, United Kingdom. pp. 167–181.
  • Uprety, Y., Asselin, H., Boon, E.K., Yadav, S. & Shrestha, K.K., 2010. Indigenous use and bio-efficacy of medicinal plants in the Rasuwa District, Central Nepal. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 6: 3.
  • Visser, L.E., 1975. Plantes médicinales de la Côte d’Ivoire. Mededelingen Landbouwhogeschool Wageningen 75–15, Wageningen, Netherlands. 79 pp.
  • White, L. & Abernethy, K., 1997. A guide to the vegetation of the Lopé Reserve, Gabon. 2nd edition. Wildlife Conservation Society, New York, United States. 224 pp.
  • Wondimu, T., Asfaw, Z. & Kelbessa, E., 2007. Ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants around ‘Dheeraa’ town, Arsi Zone, Ethiopia. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 112: 152–161.

Sources of illustration

  • Villiers, J.-F., 1989. Leguminosae - Mimosoideae. Flore du Gabon. Volume 31. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. 185 pp.

Author(s)

  • C.H. Bosch, PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article

Bosch, C.H., 2011. Entada rheedei Spreng. [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 3 March 2020.