Prota 2: Vegetables/Légumes
Rem. Guin. 9: 63 (1815).
Oseille des Pygmées (Fr).
Origin and geographic distribution
Cissus producta occurs from Senegal east to Uganda and south to Angola, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The leaves of Cissus producta are eaten in Gabon as a vegetable. The taste is very acid, not unlike that of sorrel (Rumex). The stems yield potable water when cut.
In Sierra Leone ripe fruits are rubbed on the forehead or are crushed and tied around the forehead to treat headache. In DR Congo Cissus producta is considered a cure for gonorrhoea. In Sudan an emulsion of the roots is used to protect cows from bites of tsetse flies. The emulsion is applied by rubbing on the skin or by internal dosing. In Tanzania roots are pounded with water and sprinkled on tumours of cows to cure them. Magical powers are attributed to Cissus producta in Senegal, Nigeria and Gabon.
No information is available on the chemical composition of Cissus producta. Several other Cissus species, used in traditional medicine in South Africa, South America and Asia, have been the subject of investigation, and a wide range of compounds have been identified; several of these compounds showed anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and antitumour activities.
Perennial climbing herb or liana with leaf-opposed, simple tendrils; young stem cylindrical, fleshy, older stem 4-angled, up to 15 m long. Leaves alternate, simple; stipules ovate-triangular, early caducous, 2–3.5 mm long; petiole 1–8 cm long; blade oblong-triangular, oblong-ovate or broadly lanceolate, up to 14 cm × 9 cm, base truncate to subcordate, apex acuminate. Inflorescence an axillary or terminal cyme with umbel-like clusters 3–5(–10) cm long. Flowers bisexual, 4-merous; calyx cup-shaped, 1 mm × 2.5 mm, entire; petals narrowly triangular, c. 3 mm long, pink or yellowish; ovary superior, glabrous. Fruit an ovoid to ellipsoid berry up to 18 mm × 10 mm, purplish-red to black, 1-seeded. Seed compressed (oblong-)subglobose, very slightly reniform, up to 13 mm long.
The genus Cissus is closely related to Cyphostemma and comprises about 200 species. It is found all over the tropics and subtropics. Many Cissus species have uses in traditional medicine in Asia, South America, the Caribbean and in tropical Africa.
Cissus producta occurs in evergreen forest, gallery forest and periodically inundated forest at altitudes up to 1050 m.
Genetic resources and breeding
Cissus producta is widespread and as such a risk of genetic erosion is not envisaged.
Several pharmacological effects of Cissus species, e.g. as antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory, may be of interest for future developments. Research will be needed to evaluate the full potential of Cissus producta.
• Baerts, M. & Lehmann, J., 2002. Cissus producta. [Internet] A few medicinal plants used in traditional veterinary and human medicine in sub-saharan Africa. Laboratoire de Botanique Médicale de Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. http://fynu.ucl.ac.be/users/j.lehmann/plante_ang/Cissus_producta.html. Accessed 30 June 2003.
• Burkill, H.M., 2000. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 5, Families S–Z, Addenda. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom. 686 pp.
• Raponda-Walker, A. & Sillans, R., 1961. Les plantes utiles du Gabon. Paul Lechevalier, Paris, France. 614 pp.
• Verdcourt, B., 1993. Vitaceae. In: Polhill, R.M. (Editor). Flora of Tropical East Africa. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, Netherlands. 149 pp.
• Aguilar, N.O., 2001. Cissus L. In: van Valkenburg, J.L.C.H. & Bunyapraphatsara, N. (Editors). Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 12(2). Medicinal and poisonous plants 2. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands. pp. 155–159.
Correct citation of this article:
Bosch, C.H., 2004. Cissus producta Afzel. In: Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (Editors). PROTA 2: Vegetables/Légumes. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.