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Baissea multiflora A.DC.

Protologue
Prodr. 8: 424 (1844).
Family
Apocynaceae
Synonyms
Baissea laxiflora Stapf (1894).
Vernacular names
Liane étoilée (Fr).
Origin and geographic distribution
Baissea multiflora occurs from Senegal east to the Central African Republic and DR Congo, and south to northern Angola.
Uses
In Senegal roots and bark decoctions are widely used to treat colic and stomach-ache without causing diarrhoea, and to treat sterility in women. A decoction of the leafy twigs or bark is considered diuretic and taken to treat rheumatism, arthritis, kidney problems, haemorrhoids, lumbago, oedema caused by deficiencies and as a stimulant to treat general fatigue. The decoction is also externally used in friction or bathing. Root powder in water is dripped into the eye to treat conjunctivitis or cataract and mixed with food or drink to treat appendicitis. It is also applied to snakebites. The Tenda people of Senegal give a few drops of the sap to children with fever. Ash of the plant is rubbed on the back to treat backache. Tenda hunters consider the plant a charm. In Gambia a decoction of the leafy twigs is taken to treat diarrhoea. In northern Côte d’Ivoire the roots in decoction are taken to treat dry cough, and are used as a wash to treat gonorrhoea.
The strong stems are used in Sierra Leone to tie roofs of houses. In Gambia the bark is made into rope. The plants contain white latex, which has been collected in the past in Ghana to produce a good quality rubber. Cattle in Senegal browse on the leaves and stems are pulled to the ground to make the leaves available. Baissea multiflora produces masses of small flowers, which are sweet-scented, and have ornamental value. It is listed as a rare ornamental plant on a gardener’s website.
Properties
No chemical analyses have been carried out on Baissea multiflora. It belongs to the subfamily Echitoideae, whose representatives often contain cardiac glycosides, especially in the seeds and roots. A leaf extract showed significant molluscicidal activity against Biomphalaria glabrata. An ethanol extract of the root or bark did not show any antibacterial, antitrypanosomal or antiplasmodial activities.
Description
Shrub up to 6 m tall or liana up to 30 m long, with white latex; stem up to 12 cm in diameter; bark with small grooves, dark grey or brown; branches smooth, grey- or red-brown, branchlets hairy. Leaves opposite, simple and entire; stipules absent; petiole 1–5 mm long, hairy; blade obovate to oblong, 1.5–9.5 cm × 1–4.5 cm, base cuneate to rounded, apex acute to acuminate, glabrous on both sides, pinnately veined with 5–10 pairs of lateral veins. Inflorescence an axillary or terminal cyme, lax or congested, few- to many-flowered; peduncle 0.5–4.5 cm long, hairy. Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous, fragrant; pedicel 2.5–30 mm long; sepals free or nearly so, broadly ovate to oblong, 1–4 mm long, apex obtuse to acute, red-brown or greenish, minutely hairy; corolla tube cylindrical to cup-shaped, 3–5.5 mm long, minutely hairy, with tufts of hairs and distinct scales inside, white, pink or orange, lobes narrowly ovate or strap-shaped, 5–21 mm × 1–2 mm, apex acuminate, white or yellow, sometimes red striped, variably hairy outside, glabrous inside; stamens inserted near the base of the corolla tube, included, anthers almost sessile, forming a cone over the pistil head; ovary half-inferior, globose to cylindrical, consisting of 2 carpels connate at the very base, style 0.5–1.5 mm long, pistil head c. 1 mm long. Fruit consisting of 2 almost free, narrowly cylindrical follicles 30–45 cm × 0.5–1 cm, pendulous, hairy, many-seeded. Seeds narrowly ellipsoid, laterally compressed, 14–19 mm long, black, with a tuft of hairs 35–50 mm long at apex.
Other botanical information
Baissea is confined to continental Africa and comprises 18 species. The hairiness of the flowers in most species is extremely variable, as is the size of the corolla lobes.
Baissea myrtifolia (Benth.) Pichon from Kenya and Tanzania has similar uses as Baissea multiflora. In Kenya a root decoction is taken to treat stomach and kidney problems, colic and dysentery.
Growth and development
In West Africa Baissea multiflora flowers from July to May, and fruits from September to June. In Central Africa it can be found flowering and fruiting throughout the year.
Ecology
Baissea multiflora occurs in primary as well as secondary forest, and in riverine forest, at 150–1400 m altitude.
Harvesting
The bark, roots and leaves of Baissea multiflora are harvested from the wild whenever the need arises.
Handling after harvest
The plant parts harvested are usually used fresh.
Genetic resources
As Baissea multiflora is only used at a local scale, it is not likely to become threatened by genetic erosion.
Prospects
Despite the multiple uses in local medicine, very little is known about the chemistry and pharmacological activities of Baissea multiflora. Several antibacterial tests had negative results, although it showed significant molluscicidal activity. More research is necessary to determine the value of Baissea multiflora as a medicinal plant. The profusion of small and fragrant flowers makes it an ornamental worth cultivating.
Major references
• Arbonnier, M., 2002. Arbres, arbustes et lianes des zones sèches d’Afrique de l’Ouest. CIRAD, MNHN, UICN. 573 pp.
• Burkill, H.M., 1985. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 1, Families A–D. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 960 pp.
• Neuwinger, H.D., 2000. African traditional medicine: a dictionary of plant use and applications. Medpharm Scientific, Stuttgart, Germany. 589 pp.
• van Dilst, F.J.H., 1995. Baissea A.DC. Series of Revisions of Apocynaceae 39. Bulletin du Jardin Botanique National de Belgique 64: 89–178.
Other references
• Atindehou, K.K., Schmid, C., Brun, R., Koné, M.W. & Traoré, D., 2004. Antitrypanosomal and antiplasmodial activity of medicinal plants from Côte d’Ivoire. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 90(2): 221–227.
• Burkill, H.M., 2000. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 5, Families S–Z, Addenda. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 686 pp.
• Duret, S. & Paris, R., 1972. Chimiotaxonomie des polyphenols des Apocynacées. Sur les flavonoides et les acides-phenols de quelques Echitoidées (appartenant aux genres Baissea, Echitella, Nerium, et Strophanthus). Plantes Médicinales et Phytothérapie 6(3): 210–215.
• Kerharo, J. & Adam, J.G., 1974. La pharmacopée sénégalaise traditionnelle. Plantes médicinales et toxiques. Vigot & Frères, Paris, France. 1011 pp.
• Koné, W.M., Atindehou, K.K., Terreaux, C., Hostettmann, K., Traoré, D. & Dosso, M., 2004. Traditional medicine in North Côte d'Ivoire: screening of 50 medicinal plants for antibacterial activity. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 93(1): 43–49.
Sources of illustration
• van Dilst, F.J.H., 1995. Baissea A.DC. Series of Revisions of Apocynaceae 39. Bulletin du Jardin Botanique National de Belgique 64: 89–178.
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., 2006. Baissea multiflora A.DC. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.
Distribution Map wild


1, flowering twig; 2, flower; 3, fruit.
Redrawn and adapted by Iskak Syamsudin



inflorescence