Haumania danckelmaniana (PROTA)

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Plant Resources of Tropical Africa
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Haumania danckelmaniana (J.Braun & K.Schum.) Milne-Redh.


Protologue: Kew Bull. 1950: 162 (1950).
Family: Marantaceae

Origin and geographic distribution

Haumania danckelmaniana is distributed in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo and DR Congo.

Uses

The leaves are used for wrapping food to be baked. They are also made into a range of useful articles, such as cups, funnels and fans. After the prickles have been removed, the stems are used for making carrying devices, hut frames and traps. The split stem and stem bark are plaited into mats, baskets and knife sheaths. The debarked stem is used for making brooms. The prickles are used for grating cassava and wild yam. The roasted seeds are eaten and locally known as ‘peanuts from the forest’. The bark is added to tobacco to strengthen the taste.

In traditional medicine in Cameroon the burnt and pounded root is mixed with palm oil and externally applied on sores and against headache, while the young leaves are applied on snake bites. In Central Africa the leaf sap is drunk as a purgative and against worms, or a decoction of the liana is applied in an enema.

Properties

The stem bark is said to be very strong.

Botany

Perennial, straggling or climbing herb up to 6 m tall, with rhizome; stem branched, densely covered with recurved prickles. Leaves alternate, imbricate; petiole sheathing for much of its length, 6–23 cm long (including sheath), glabrous, the uncalloused part and the apical calloused part not separated by a joint, transition of the petiole into the midvein marked by a beak on the upper surface, but continuous on the lower surface; blade ovate to ovate-lanceolate, more or less symmetric, up to 25(–27) cm × 12(–13) cm, base rounded to truncate, apex acuminate, pubescence confined to the base of the blade, parallel lateral veins numerous. Inflorescence a raceme, subtended by a lanceolate sheath 3–7 cm long; main axis zig-zag, with at each node an abaxial bract enveloping 3–6 cymules; abaxial bracts spreading at right angles to the rachis, folded, ovate, 1.5–2 cm long, with rounded apex, more or less persistent; cymules each with an adaxial bract, 2-flowered; common peduncle of cymules short. Flowers bisexual, zygomorphic, white, fragrant; bracteole absent; sepals 3, petaloid, free, equal, 3–4 mm long; corolla tubular below, with 3 lobes, tube 4–5 mm long, lobes c. 8 mm long; fertile stamen 1, staminodes petaloid and white with yellow spots; ovary inferior, hairy, 3-locular. Fruit a trigonous capsule c. 3 cm × 2 cm, with rounded angles, covered with conical protuberances. Seeds without aril.

The flowers of Haumania danckelmaniana are pollinated by bees and probably by sunbirds as well.

Haumania comprises 3 species, distributed in central Africa. The similarly used Haumania liebrechtsiana (De Wild. & T.Durand) J.Léonard can be distinguished from Haumania danckelmaniana by its stems without prickles, its abaxial inflorescence bracts 2.5–3.5 cm long, and its sepals c. 11 mm long.

Ecology

Haumania danckelmaniana occurs in high-rainfall areas in primary and secondary forest, forest clearings, fallows and as a weed in plantations. The shoots and fruits are often eaten by lowland gorillas.

Management

For the preparation of weaving material in Cameroon, the thorns are cut off the stem, which is then split, after which the pith is scraped off.

Genetic resources

There are no indications that Haumania danckelmaniana is threatened by genetic erosion.

Prospects

The leaves and stems of Haumania danckelmaniana are locally made into a range of useful articles. There are no reports of the species being overexploited, but the plant may have potential for cultivation for local use, and research on propagation and management practices may be worthwhile.

Major references

  • Burkill, H.M., 1997. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 4, Families M–R. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 969 pp.
  • Hattori, S., 2006. Utilization of Marantaceae plants by the Baka hunter-gatherers in southeastern Cameroon. African Study Monographs, Supplement 33: 29–48.
  • Hepper, F.N., 1968. Marantaceae. In: Hepper, F.N. (Editor). Flora of West Tropical Africa. Volume 3, part 1. 2nd Edition. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. pp. 79–89.
  • Koechlin, J., 1965. Marantaceae. Flore du Cameroun. Volume 4. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. pp. 99–157.
  • Milne-Redhead, E., 1950. Notes on African Marantaceae I. Kew Bulletin 5(2): 157–163.

Other references

  • Betti, J.L., 2004. An ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants among the Baka pygmies in the Dja biosphere reserve, Cameroon. African Study Monographs 25(1): 1–27.
  • Bouquet, A., 1969. Féticheurs et médecines traditionnelles du Congo (Brazzaville). Mémoires ORSTOM No 36. Office de la Recherche Scientifique et Technique Outre-Mer. Paris, France. 282 pp.
  • Cabezas, F.J., de la Estrella, M., Aedo, C. & Velayos, M., 2005. Marantaceae of Equatorial Guinea. Annales Botanici Fennici 42(3): 173–184.
  • Koechlin, J., 1964. Marantacées. Flore du Gabon. Volume 9. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. pp. 91–158.
  • Ley, A.C., 2008. Evolutionary tendencies in African Marantaceae - evidence from floral morphology, ecology and phylogeny. PhD thesis, Johannes Gutenberg Universität, Mainz, Germany. 187 pp.
  • Neuwinger, H.D., 2000. African traditional medicine: a dictionary of plant use and applications. Medpharm Scientific, Stuttgart, Germany. 589 pp.
  • Ngobo, M.P., Weise, S.F. & Mcdonald, M.A., 2004. Revisiting the performance of natural fallows in Central Africa. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research 19, Supplement 4: 14–24.
  • Nishihara, T., 1995. Feeding ecology of western lowland gorillas in the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park, Congo. Primates 36(2): 151–168.
  • Terashima, H. & Ichikawa, M., 2003. A comparative ethnobotany of the Mbuti and Efe hunter-gatherers in the Ituri forest, Democratic Republic of Congo. African Study Monographs 24(1–2): 1–168.
  • van Dijk, J.F.W., 1997. An assessment of non-wood forest product resources for the development of sustainable commercial extraction. In: Sunderland, T.C.H., Clark, L.E. & Vantomme, P. (Editors). Non-wood forest products of Central Africa: current research issues and prospects for conservation and development. FAO, Rome, Italy. pp. 37–49.

Author(s)

  • M. Brink, PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article

Brink, M., 2010. Haumania danckelmaniana (J.Braun & K.Schum.) Milne-Redh. [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.