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Antidesma laciniatum Müll.Arg.

Protologue
Flora 47: 520 (1864).
Family
Euphorbiaceae (APG: Phyllanthaceae)
Chromosome number
2n = 26
Origin and geographic distribution
Antidesma laciniatum occurs from Sierra Leone east to southern Sudan and south to DR Congo and Uganda.
Uses
In Liberia a leaf decoction is taken as a bath to prevent miscarriage. In Côte d’Ivoire powdered bark is taken in water or palm wine as an aphrodisiac. In Congo a bark decoction is taken orally or as an enema to treat intestinal complaints. In Central Africa meat is served on the aromatic leaves.
The wood is yellowish white to pinkish and hard and does not work well. It is used to make poles for house construction and tool handles, as firewood and for charcoal production. The fruits are not palatable, unlike those of several other Antidesma spp.
Properties
Leaves from Cameroon yield an essential oil (1.8% on a dry weight basis), which contains mainly terpenoids (72%) with a relatively high amount of esters (41%). The two major constituents are the esters benzyl benzoate (19%), responsible for the sweet balsamic odour of the oil, and geranyl acetate (15%). Other constituents isolated from the essential oil are the terpenoid squalene, used in cosmetics as an oil-free moisturizer, and the biflavonoid amentoflavone, which has shown antiviral and anticancer activity and is a potent antioxidant. The essential oil showed significant activity against Plasmodium falciparum in vitro, but no important radical scavenging activity.
Botany
Dioecious, small tree up to 8(–15) m tall; branches spreading, young parts densely short-hairy. Leaves alternate, simple and entire; stipules with 3–9 lanceolate, linear or branched segments, 1–1.5 cm long, fairly persistent; petiole up to 5(–8) mm long; blade elliptical-oblanceolate to elliptical-oblong, 7.5–20 cm × 3–7 cm, base rounded to shallowly cordate, apex acuminate, variably hairy on veins. Inflorescence an axillary or terminal spike, sometimes with 1–2 lateral spikes at base, up to 10 cm long, in fruit up to 20 cm long. Flowers unisexual, regular, sessile or almost sessile, petals absent, disk annular; male flowers with cup-shaped calyx up to 1 mm long, 3-toothed, ciliate, reddish pink to reddish purple, stamens 3, 1.5–2 mm long; female flowers with cup-shaped calyx up to 1.5 mm long, 3-toothed, brownish, ovary superior, ellipsoid, c. 3 mm long, glabrous or hairy, 1(–2)-celled, styles 3, 2-fid or 2, 3-fid. Fruit a compressed ellipsoid to ovoid drupe up to 1 cm long, glabrous or hairy, brownish or yellowish to orange-red, 1-seeded. Seed ellipsoid.
Antidesma comprises about 155 species and occurs in the Old World tropics from tropical Africa and the Indian Ocean islands through Asia to Australia and the Pacific islands. In continental Africa 7 species occur and in the Indian Ocean islands 1 species. Antidesma laciniatum is rather variable and 2 varieties or subspecies are distinguished.
Ecology
Antidesma laciniatum occurs in the understorey of dense forest, including secondary forest, and at forest edges, from sea-level up to 1200 m altitude.
Genetic resources and breeding
Antidesma laciniatum is widespread and not likely to be threatened by genetic erosion.
Prospects
The essential oil from the leaves contains several compounds with interesting activities. The bark is also used medicinally, but nothing is known about its chemistry or pharmacology. More research is therefore needed to assess the potential of Antidesma laciniatum as a medicinal plant.
Major references
• Boyom, F.F., Assembe, E.Z., Zollo, P.H.A., Agnaniet, H., Menut, C. & Bessiere, J.M., 2003. Aromatic plants of tropical central Africa. Part 17. Volatile components from Antidesma laciniatum Muell. Arg. var. laciniatum growing in Cameroon. Flavour and Fragrance Journal 18(5): 451–453.
• Boyom, F.F., Ngouana, V., Zollo, P.H., Menut, C., Bessiere, J.M., Gut, J. & Rosenthal, P.J., 2003. Composition and anti-plasmodial activities of essential oils from some Cameroonian medicinal plants. Phytochemistry 64(7): 1269–1275.
• Burkill, H.M., 1994. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 2, Families E–I. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 636 pp.
• Léonard, J., 1988. Révision du genre Antidesma L. (Euphorbiaceae) en Afrique centrale. Bulletin du Jardin Botanique National de Belgique 58: 3–46.
• Neuwinger, H.D., 2000. African traditional medicine: a dictionary of plant use and applications. Medpharm Scientific, Stuttgart, Germany. 589 pp.
Other references
• Akoègninou, A., van der Burg, W.J. & van der Maesen, L.J.G. (Editors), 2006. Flore analytique du Bénin. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands. 1034 pp.
• Carter, S. & Radcliffe-Smith, A., 1988. Euphorbiaceae (part 2). In: Polhill, R.M. (Editor). Flora of Tropical East Africa. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, Netherlands. pp. 409–597.
• Tchinda, A.T., Ayele Teshome, Ermias Dagne, Arnold, N. & Wessjohan, L.A., 2006. Squalene and amentoflavone from Antidesma laciniatum. Bulletin of the Chemical Society of Ethiopia 2(2): 325–328.
• Wurdack, K.J., Hoffmann, P., Samuel, R., de Bruijn, A., van der Bank, M. & Chase, M.W., 2004. Molecular phylogenetic analysis of Phyllanthaceae (Phyllanthoideae pro parte, Euphorbiaceae sensu lato) using plastid rbcL DNA sequences. American Journal of Botany 91(11): 1882–1900.
• Yamada, T., 1999. A report of the ethnobotany of the Nyindu in the eastern part of the former Zaire. African Study Monographs 20(1): 1–72.
Author(s)
G.H. Schmelzer
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands


Editors
G.H. Schmelzer
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
A. Gurib-Fakim
Faculty of Science, University of Mauritius, Réduit, Mauritius
Associate editors
C.H. Bosch
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
M.S.J. Simmonds
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AB, United Kingdom
R. Arroo
Leicester School of Pharmacy, Natural Products Research, De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester LE1 9BH, United Kingdom
A. de Ruijter
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
General editors
R.H.M.J. Lemmens
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
L.P.A. Oyen
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
Photo editor
A. de Ruijter
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article:
Schmelzer, G.H., 2007. Antidesma laciniatum Müll.Arg. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.
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