PROTA homepage Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes m้dicinales 1
Record display


Cavacoa aurea (Cavaco) J.L้onard

Protologue
Bull. Jard. Bot. Etat 25: 323 (1955).
Family
Euphorbiaceae
Vernacular names
Natal hickory, South African hickory (En).
Origin and geographic distribution
Cavacoa aurea occurs from Kenya south to Malawi, southern Mozambique and north-eastern South Africa.
Uses
In southern Africa a root infusion is taken to ease pain and to treat fever, and a steam bath is taken to clear sinuses.
Cavacoa aurea yields good sticks for various uses.
Botany
A dioecious evergreen shrub or small tree up to 15 m tall; trunk irregularly fluted near base; bark thin, scaly, brown; branches long, greyish, glabrous. Leaves alternate, simple and entire; stipules oblong, c. 5 mm long, soon falling, leaving conspicuous annular scars; petiole 1–5 cm long; blade elliptical to elliptical-obovate or elliptical-oblanceolate, 3.5–18 cm ื 1.5–8 cm, base cuneate to rounded, apex obtuse to acuminate, leathery, minutely gland-dotted, pinnately veined with 9–12 pairs of lateral veins. Inflorescence a terminal raceme up to 10 cm long, up to 10-flowered; bracts 4–6 mm long. Flowers unisexual, fragrant, cream-coloured, bright yellow or greenish yellow; pedicel 1–2.5 cm long, jointed; male flowers with 2(–4), lanceolate to broadly ovate sepals, 3.5–6 mm long, petals 4–5, free, elliptical-ovate, 7–9 mm long, disk glands 4–5, free, fleshy, stamens 15–35, 5–6 mm long; female flowers with (4–)5, oblong-lanceolate sepals 6–8 mm long, petals 5, elliptical-oblong, c. 10 mm long, disk cup-shaped, ovary superior, 2–3 mm in diameter, 3–5-celled, styles 3, fused at base, 3–5 mm long, stigmas 2-fid. Fruit a 3–5-lobed capsule 12–15 mm ื 23–30 mm, smooth, hard, green turning black, 3–5-seeded. Seeds ovoid to nearly globose, c. 10 mm ื 8–9 mm, smooth, pale brown, streaked and mottled dark brown.
Cavacoa comprises 3 species, all in tropical Africa. Cavacoa aurea has long been confused with Heywoodia lucens Sim in South Africa.
Ecology
Cavacoa aurea occurs in mixed evergreen forest and coastal forest, often near streams, usually on sandy soil, at low altitudes. It grows equally well in shade or sun.
Management
Cavacoa aurea is cultivated in South Africa. There, fruiting is from December to February. Fresh seed germinates well.
Genetic resources and breeding
Cavacoa aurea is uncommon in most parts of its distribution area. It is protected in South Africa.
Prospects
Cavacoa aurea will probably remain of local importance only.
Major references
• Coates Palgrave, K., 1983. Trees of southern Africa. 2nd Edition. Struik Publishers, Cape Town, South Africa. 959 pp.
• Govaerts, R., Frodin, D.G. & Radcliffe-Smith, A., 2000. World checklist and bibliography of Euphorbiaceae (with Pandaceae). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 1620 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
• Duthie, W., 1978. Cavavoa aurea: national tree, nr. 332. Wildlife Society of Southern Africa, Umhlanga. 5 pp.
• Neuwinger, H.D., 2000. African traditional medicine: a dictionary of plant use and applications. Medpharm Scientific, Stuttgart, Germany. 589 pp.
• Palmer, E. & Pitman, N., 1972–1974. Trees of southern Africa, covering all known indigenous species in the Republic of South Africa, South-West Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. 3 volumes. Balkema, Cape Town, South Africa. 2235 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, R้duit, 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:
Schmelzer, G.H., 2007. Cavacoa aurea (Cavaco) J.L้onard. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes m้dicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.