Hypselodelphys poggeana (PROTA)

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Plant Resources of Tropical Africa
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Hypselodelphys poggeana (K.Schum.) Milne-Redh.


Protologue: Kew Bull. 1950: 160 (1950).
Family: Marantaceae

Origin and geographic distribution

Hypselodelphys poggeana is distributed from Guinea and Sierra Leone to DR Congo and Angola.

Uses

The stems are used for tying, in West Africa particularly for tying walls and thatch in house construction. In DR Congo the split stems are used for plaiting mats and hats, and entire stems are used for making fish traps. The leaves are used for packing.

In Liberia the young shoots are chewed with palm kernels, and the juice is credited with aphrodisiac properties.

In Sierra Leone the fruit pulp is eaten, and the seeds are chewed. In Ghana the stems, which are hollow, are used as whistles. In Nigeria the seeds are used for making necklaces. In DR Congo girls sometimes wear a piece of the leafstalk as an ornament in the upper lip.

Botany

Perennial, woody, liana-like, branched herb up to c. 6 m tall, with rhizome and bamboo-like shoots. Leaves distichous, antitropic (successively bent to one side and the other); petiole sheathing at the base, jointed shortly above the top of the sheath, above the joint 0.5–1.5 cm long and calloused, calloused part 5–10 mm long, transition of the petiole into the midvein marked by an interruption; blade linear-oblong to ovate-oblong, 7–19 cm × 2.5–9 cm, base truncate, apex acuminate. Inflorescence a simple or slightly branched spike 5–9 cm long from the lowest node; axis articulate and zig-zag, with at each node an abaxial, purplish bract 1.5–3.5 cm long enveloping a single cymule; cymule 2-flowered, with an adaxial bract c. 5 mm long, common peduncle short. Flowers bisexual, zygomorphic, purple; bracteole fleshy and hard, sepals 3, free, equal, c. 8 mm long; corolla tubular below, with 3 reflexed lobes, tube c. 15 mm long, lobes c. 5 mm long; staminodes and stamen in 2 cycles, at the base forming a tube fused to the corolla tube, outer cycle consisting of 2 petaloid staminodes, inner cycle consisting of 1 stamen and 2 petaloid staminodes, of which 1 hooded with a sword-like appendage; ovary inferior, 3-locular. Fruit triangular with rounded angles, 4–5 cm in diameter, indehiscent, densely covered with pointed protuberances 1–2 mm long, endocarp pulpy. Seeds without aril.

The flowers are pollinated by bees.

Hypselodelphys comprises 7 species, and is distributed from West Africa eastward to Uganda and southward to Angola. Hypselodelphys scandens Louis & Mullend. is a climber up to 10 m long, distributed from Nigeria eastward to Uganda and southward to DR Congo and Angola. Its stems are used for tying and for making fish traps. Its leaves are used for thatching, wrapping and packing. In DR Congo, for instance, they are used for wrapping fish and meat for cooking, and they are said to give a good aroma to the food. In Cameroon they are used as cushion under sleeping mats and made into articles such as cups, funnels, fans and parasols. In traditional medicine in Cameroon root preparations are used for the treatment of sores, headache and heart problems. In DR Congo a root decoction is applied as an enema against haemorrhoids. The flexible vines of Hypselodelphys zenkeriana (K.Schum.) Milne-Redh., a perennial climbing herb occurring in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Congo, are used as poles in hut building in Cameroon. Root preparations are used for the treatment of sores.

Ecology

Hypselodelphys poggeana occurs in gallery forest, secondary forest and disturbed locations.

Management

Hypselodelphys poggeana is collected from wild stands.

Genetic resources

In view of its wide distribution and occurrence in secondary forest and disturbed locations, Hypselodelphys poggeana is unlikely to be threatened with genetic erosion.

Prospects

Hypselodelphys poggeana is a useful local source of material for tying, plaiting and packing, but no information is available on its properties and local trade of its products. It is unlikely to become more important, because of the wide availability of other Marantaceae and synthetic substitutes.

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.
  • Hawthorne, W. & Jongkind, C., 2006. Woody plants of western African forests: a guide to the forest trees, shrubs and lianes from Senegal to Ghana. Kew Publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom. 1023 pp.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Other references

  • Abbiw, D.K., 1990. Useful plants of Ghana: West African uses of wild and cultivated plants. Intermediate Technology Publications, London and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 337 pp.
  • Hattori, S., 2006. Utilization of Marantaceae plants by the Baka hunter-gatherers in southeastern Cameroon. African Study Monographs, Supplement 33: 29–48.
  • Jongkind, C.H., 2008. Two new species of Hypselodelphys (Marantaceae) from West Africa. Adansonia 30(1): 57–62.
  • Ku Mbuta, K., Mwima, K., Bitengeli, M., Y’okolo, I., Kavuna, M., Mandanga, M., Kalambayi, M., Izamajole, N., Kazembe, K., Booto, K., Vasaki, N., Mwabonsika, B. & Lody, D., 2008. Recueil des plantes utilisées en médecine traditionnelle Congolaise. Vol.1. Province de l’Equateur. Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé. 404 pp.
  • Lubini, A., 1994. Utilisation de plantes par les Yansi del’entre Kwilu-Kasai (Zaire). In: Seyani, J.H. & Chikuni, A.C. (Editors). Proceedings of the 13th plenary meeting of AETFAT, Zomba, Malawi. Volume 1. National Herbarium and Botanic Gardens of Malawi, Zomba, Malawi. pp. 53–74.
  • Milne-Redhead, E., 1950. Notes on African Marantaceae I. Kew Bulletin 5(2): 157–163.
  • Missouri Botanical Garden, undated. VAST (VAScular Tropicos) nomenclatural database. [Internet] http://mobot.mobot.org/ W3T/Search/ vast.html. June 2010.
  • Pischtschan, E., Ley, A.C. & Claβen-Bockhoff, R., 2010. Ontogenetic and phylogenetic diversification of the hooded staminode in Marantaceae. Taxon 59(4): 1111–1125.
  • Terashima, H., Ichikawa, M. & Sawada, M., 1988. Wild plant utilization of the Balese and the Efe of the Ituri Forest, the Republic of Zaire. African Study Monographs, Supplement 8. The Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan. 78 pp.
  • Terashima, H., Kalala, S. & Malasi, N., 1992. Ethnobotany of the Lega in the tropical rain forest of Eastern Zaire: part two, zone de Walikale. African Study Monographs, Supplement 19: 1–60.

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., 2011. Hypselodelphys poggeana (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.