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Bauhinia kalantha Harms

Protologue
Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 28: 398 (1900).
Family
Caesalpiniaceae (Leguminosae - Caesalpinioideae)
Vernacular names
Mchekwa (Sw).
Origin and geographic distribution
Bauhinia kalantha is endemic to Tanzania where it is restricted to the Dodoma, Morogoro and Iringa Regions.
Uses
In the area around Dodoma (Tanzania), the sliced roots of Bauhinia kalantha are boiled together with chicken and eaten as a treatment for schistosomiasis. Young, tender leaves are cooked alone or with other leaves as a vegetable. Bauhinia kalantha produces good firewood and a dye used in basketry. Ropes are made from the bark fibre.
Properties
Active compounds have not been reported for Bauhinia kalantha, but other Bauhinia species are known to contain glucosides of flavones and flavonols.
Botany
Shrub up to 3 m tall, glabrous except stamens and ovary. Leaves alternate, simple; blade 1–4.5 cm × 1.5–4 cm, deeply 2-lobed to one-fifth from base, lobes rounded at the apex. Flowers solitary, bisexual, almost regular, 5-merous; hypanthium 3–4 mm long; sepals narrowly ovate to lanceolate, 13–17 mm long; petals obovate, 2.5–3.5 cm × 1–2 cm, yellow; stamens 10, all fertile, hairy; ovary superior, hairy, stigma c. 3 mm in diameter. Fruit an oblong pod c. 1.5 cm wide, woody, dehiscent, few-seeded. Seeds 7–8 mm × 6–7 mm, deep brown.
Bauhinia is a widespread tropical genus with about 250 species. Bauhinia urbaniana Schinz is also used in traditional medicine. It is restricted to Zambia, Angola, Namibia and Botswana on Kalahari sands in woodland at around 1000 m altitude. In Namibia the cut fresh roots are cooked in water and the decoction is taken as a strengthening tonic for adults in case of any serious sickness. The dried, powdered roots are mixed with vaseline and babies are rubbed with the mixture as a protection against sickness.
Ecology
Bauhinia kalantha occurs in deciduous woodland and thickets, often on stony soils, at 600–1000 m altitude.
Management
For all uses, plant material is only collected from the wild. The edible leaves are collected from November till April.
Genetic resources and breeding
Although it has a limited distribution, Bauhinia kalantha apparently is common in its range.
Prospects
The chemical and pharmacological properties of Bauhinia kalantha have not been analysed and it is therefore impossible to judge its value as a medicinal plant and vegetable.
Major references
• Brenan, J.P.M., 1967. Leguminosae, subfamily Caesalpinioideae. In: Milne-Redhead, E. & Polhill, R.M. (Editors). Flora of Tropical East Africa. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. 230 pp.
• Kokwaro, J.O., 1993. Medicinal plants of East Africa. 2nd Edition. Kenya Literature Bureau, Nairobi, Kenya. 401 pp.
• Ruffo, C.K., Birnie, A. & Tengnäs, B., 2002. Edible wild plants of Tanzania. Technical Handbook No 27. Regional Land Management Unit/ SIDA, Nairobi, Kenya. 766 pp.
Other references
• Blomley, T. & Mbogo, N., 1992. Use and management of indigenous trees and plants by the people of Tharaka, Meru. ICRAF, Nairobi, Kenya. 33 pp.
• Brummitt, R.K., Chikuni, A.C., Lock, J.M. & Polhill, R.M., 2007. Leguminosae, subfamily Caesalpinioideae. In: Timberlake, J.R., Pope, G.V., Polhill, R.M. & Martins, E.S. (Editors). Flora Zambesiaca. Volume 3, part 2. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 218 pp.
• Dale, I.R. & Greenway, P.J., 1961. Kenya trees and shrubs. Buchanan’s Kenya Estates Limited, Nairobi, Kenya. 654 pp.
• Leger, S., 1997. The hidden gifts of nature: A description of today’s use of plants in West Bushmanland (Namibia). [Internet] DED, German Development Service, Windhoek, Namibia & Berlin, Germany. http://www.sigridleger.de/book/. Accessed April 2003.
• Vihan, V.S., Kumar, A. & Arora, N., 2007. In vitro larvicidal activity of various ethnomedicinal plants extract on Haemonchus contortus. Indian Journal of Animal Sciences 77: 1219–1223
Author(s)
C.H. Bosch
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

Correct citation of this article:
Bosch, C.H., 2008. Bauhinia kalantha Harms. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.