Vitex trifolia (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
Introduction
List of species


Vitex trifolia L.


Protologue: Sp. pl. 2: 638 ("938"; 1753).

Synonyms

Vitex rotundifolia L.f. (1781), Vitex repens Blanco (1837), Vitex lagundi Ridley (1906).

Vernacular names

  • Common blue vitex, hand of Mary, three-leaved chaste tree (En)
  • Indonesia: legundi (Javanese), galumi (Sumbawa), lagundi (Sumatra)
  • Malaysia: lagundi, lenggundi, muning (Peninsular)
  • Papua New Guinea: pitipitikoto (Gunantuna, New Britain)
  • Philippines: lagunding-dagat (Filipino), dangla (Iloko), tigau (Sulu)
  • Laos: kok pa pay, 'phi 'sua2noy2
  • Thailand: khon dinso, khon thiso (central), phee suea noi (northern)
  • Vietnam: dẹn ba lá, mạn kinh, quan âm.

Distribution

From southern Africa, Madagascar and Mauritius to Afghanistan, India, Sri Lanka, Burma (Myanmar), Indo-China, southern China, Japan, Thailand, throughout the Malesian region, south to northern Australia and east to New Caledonia.

Uses

The uses of V. trifolia are very similar to V. negundo . A poultice of leaves is used to treat rheumatism, contusions, swollen testicles, and as a discutient in sprains. An infusion of the boiled roots is regarded as diaphoretic and diuretic, and is widely drunk in cases of fever and after childbirth. In Malaysia, various parts of the plants are considered a panacea for a wide variety of illnesses ranging from headache to tuberculosis. In Indonesia, the leaves are used in medicinal baths and a tincture or decoction of them for intestinal complaints, whereas the fruits are used as an anthelmintic. In the Bismarck Archipelago, the sap from crushed heated leaves is diluted with water and drunk to relieve headaches. In Vietnam, a decoction of dried fruits is given in the treatment of common cold, headache, watery eyes and mastitis. In Thailand, the fruits are used to treat asthmatic cough and haemorrhoids, and the root is applied in the treatment of liver diseases. V. trifolia is often used as a hedge plant, although it may trigger various allergic reactions (sneezing, respiratory problems, dizziness, headache, nausea) to people trimming or pruning such hedges.

Observations

A shrub up to 6 m tall; leaflets (1-)3, glabrous above (except for the midrib), densely greyish puberulous below, median leaflet oblong-elliptical to obovate, 2.5-9.5 cm × 1.5-4 cm, with 6-13 pairs of lateral veins, on a 1-6 mm long petiolule, lateral leaflets sessile or subsessile; cymes terminal and axillary, arranged in panicles; calyx 3-5 mm long, obscurely 2-lipped, with 5 small teeth, corolla blue to purple or violet, throat villous inside; fruit globose to ovoid, 5-6 mm long, black or bluish-black when mature. V. trifolia is found in teak forest, secondary forest and thickets up to 1100 m altitude, but also in mangrove forest and along the shore. The phenotypical variation observed between these habitats is given specific or subspecific rank by various authors.

Selected sources

97, 190, 202, 284, 364, 580, 597, 809, 810, 921, 967, 972, 993, 1035, 1128, 1178, 1287, 1380, 1412, 1415, 1508, 1525, 1553, 1564, 1570.

Authors

E.P. Capareda