Gagnebina commersoniana (PROTA)
Gagnebina commersoniana (Baill.) R.Vig.
- Protologue: Notul. Syst. (Paris) 13: 346 (1948).
- Family: Mimosaceae (Leguminosae - Mimosoideae)
Origin and geographic distribution
Gagnebina commersoniana is distributed in Madagascar, the Seychelles, Réunion and Mauritius. In Madagascar it occurs from the north, along the western side to the far south.
In the western part of Madagascar, the bark fibres of Gagnebina commersoniana are used as an ingredient in the manufacture of the traditional ‘Maintirano paper’, a coarse paper that was originally used locally, but is now part of a much larger handicraft trade and is sold to tourists. The production process of the paper and its ingredients are poorly documented.
A small shrub up to 2 m tall; young branches pubescent, becoming glabrous with age. Leaves alternate, bipinnately compound with 3–16 pairs of pinnae; petiole 1–4.5 mm long, with a prominent gland at the apex on the upper side, rachis 0.5–6.5 cm long, both petiole and rachis grooved above and pubescent; pinna axis 5–17 mm long, ridged; leaflets 10–35 per pinna, opposite, sessile, up to 2 mm × 0.5 mm, asymmetrical, acute at apex, glabrous with ciliate margin. Inflorescence an axillary spike, solitary or paired, many-flowered; peduncle 5–10 mm long. Flowers bisexual, regular, 4-merous; calyx cup-shaped, c. 1 mm long, leathery; petals fused at base, 4.5–5 mm long, white; stamens 10, c. 2 mm long; ovary superior, stalked, 1-celled, style c. 3 mm long, slender. Fruit a narrowly oblong to oblong pod up to 3.5 cm × 0.5 cm, with long stipe, glabrous to short soft-hairy, indehiscent. Seed ovate to oblong, up to 3 mm × 1.5 mm, olive-brown.
Gagnebina comprises 4 species, all of them endemic to the Indian Ocean Islands.
A paper similar to that made from Gagnebina fibres is produced in the south of Madagascar. It is called ‘Antaimoro paper’ and is produced with the very fine fibres from Gnidia linearis (Leandri) Z.S.Rogers (synonym: Lasiosiphon decaryi Leandri). These fibres are also suitable for the production of textiles.
Gagnebina commersoniana occurs from sea-level up to 1000 m altitude, in thickets, woodland and disturbed vegetation on limestone, sand, gneiss and lateritic soil.
As Gagnebina commersoniana is widespread and not exploited in a large part of its range, it is unlikely to be threatened by genetic erosion.
Gagnebina commersoniana will continue to play a small role locally in the production of paper.
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- Friedmann, F., 1994. Flore des Seychelles: Dicotylédones. Editions de l’ORSTOM, Paris, France. 663 pp.
- ILDIS, 2005. World database of Legumes, Version 10,01. International Legume Database & Information Service. [Internet] http://www.ildis.org/. April 2011.
- Lewis, G.P. & Guinet, P., 1986. Notes on Gagnebina (Leguminosae - Mimosoideae) in Madagascar and neighbouring islands. Kew Bulletin 41(2): 463–470.
- Lewis, G., Schrire, B., MacKinder, B. & Lock, M., 2005. Legumes of the world. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 577 pp.
- Luckow, M., 2002. Anatomical features of the leaves in the Dichrostachys group (Leguminosae: Mimosoideae) and their utility for phylogenetic studies. Systematic Botany 27(1): 29–40.
- Rogers, Z.S., 2009. A revision of Malagasy Gnidia (Thymelaeaceae, Thymelaeoideae). Annals of the Missouri Botanical Gardens 96(2): 324–368.
- 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. Gagnebina commersoniana (Baill.) R.Vig. [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 7 March 2020.
- See the Prota4U database.