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Argomuellera macrophylla Pax

Protologue
Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 19: 90 (1894).
Family
Euphorbiaceae
Origin and geographic distribution
Argomuellera macrophylla occurs from Guinea east to Ethiopia and south throughout Central Africa to Angola, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
Uses
In Côte d’Ivoire the leaf sap is taken as a purgative and emetic in the treatment of poisoning and ascites. Powdered dried leaves are sometimes taken as an aphrodisiac. In Kenya the honey from the flowers is considered to be poisonous, causing joint problems.
Botany
Monoecious, unbranched shrub or small tree up to 4(–9) m tall; young twigs densely short-hairy. Leaves alternate, crowded at twig ends, simple; stipules linear to lanceolate, 3–4 (–15) mm long, rough hairy; petiole up to 1.5 cm long, densely hairy; blade elliptical-oblanceolate to oblong-elliptical, (10–)25–40 cm × 5–12 cm, base cuneate, apex acuminate, margins toothed, leathery, sparingly short-hairy above, densely hairy beneath, later often glabrescent, pinnately veined with 20–25(–30) pairs of lateral veins. Inflorescence an axillary raceme up to 25 cm long, with flowers in interrupted clusters, usually each cluster consisting of 1 female and several male flowers; axis densely hairy; bracts triangular-ovate, c. 2 mm long, short-hairy. Flowers unisexual, sweet–scented; pedicel (3–)5–6 mm long; petals absent; male flowers with 2–4, ovate to lanceolate sepals, 4–5 mm long, hairy outside, greenish to white, disk glands numerous, bright orange, stamens 30–120, free, 5–7 mm long; female flowers with 5–9, triangular-ovate sepals 3–4 mm long, hairy outside, disk annular, ovary superior, c. 2 mm in diameter, slightly 3-lobed, 3-celled, densely hairy, styles 3, c. 3 mm long, recurved, stout, fused at base, yellow. Fruit a 3-lobed capsule c. 7 mm × 13 mm, smooth, evenly short-hairy, green, 3-seeded. Seeds nearly globose, c. 5 mm × 4 mm, smooth, brown-marbled.
Argomuellera comprises 11 species, 5 of which occur in continental tropical Africa and 6 in Madagascar and the Comoros. Argomuellera macrophylla is the only species with a wide distribution area.
Ecology
Argomuellera macrophylla occurs in the forest undergrowth, in West Africa often in drier types of forest, in East Africa often in riverine forest and dry evergreen lakeshore forest up to 1300(–1850) m altitude.
Genetic resources and breeding
Argomuellera macrophylla has a very wide distribution in tropical Africa, and does not seem to be threatened by genetic erosion.
Prospects
Argomuellera macrophylla has only few medicinal uses and nothing is known on its phytochemistry and pharmacology; it is therefore likely to remain of local importance only.
Major references
• 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.
• Radcliffe-Smith, A., 1996. Euphorbiaceae, subfamilies Phyllantoideae, Oldfieldioideae, Acalyphoideae, Crotonoideae and Euphorbioideae, tribe Hippomaneae. In: Pope, G.V. (Editor). Flora Zambesiaca. Volume 9, part 4. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. pp. 1–337.
Other references
• Ichikawa, M., 1987. A preliminary report on the ethnobotany of the Suiei Dorobo in northern Kenya. African Study Monographs, Supplement 7: 1–52.
• Radcliffe-Smith, A., 1987. Euphorbiaceae (part 1). In: Polhill, R.M. (Editor). Flora of Tropical East Africa. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, Netherlands. 407 pp.
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. Argomuellera macrophylla Pax. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.
leafy branch
obtained from
B. Wursten