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Cleistanthus bipindensis Pax

Protologue
Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 33: 282 (1903).
Family
Euphorbiaceae (APG: Phyllanthaceae)
Origin and geographic distribution
Cleistanthus bipindensis occurs in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Gabon and DR Congo.
Uses
In DR Congo the stem bark is chewed for its tonic properties. The wood is used for temporary construction and household utensils.
Botany
Monoecious shrub or small tree up to 15 m tall; bole up to 50 cm in diameter; twigs short-hairy, later almost glabrous. Leaves alternate, simple and entire; stipules small, soon falling; petiole 5–9 mm long; blade elliptical-oblong to elliptical-lanceolate, 8–22 cm × 3–10 cm, base cuneate, apex acute, upper surface glabrous, lower surface short-hairy, pinnately veined, with 4–9 pairs of lateral veins. Inflorescence an axillary few-flowered fascicle or pseudo-raceme 0.5–3.5 cm long, densely hairy; bracts ovate-lanceolate, up to 8 mm long, densely hairy, soon falling. Flowers unisexual, regular, 5-merous, sepals triangular-lanceolate, 5–7(–8) mm long, reddish and densely hairy outside; petals spatulate to linear; male flowers with pedicel 5–6 mm long, petals c. 1 mm long, filaments of stamens fused at base, 3–4 mm long, pistillode present; female flowers with pedicel 3–4 mm long, petals 1.5–2.5 mm long, disk annular, ovary superior, reddish, densely hairy, 3-celled, styles 3, fused at base, 2–3 times 2-fid. Fruit an almost round capsule 10–12 mm long, densely hairy at first, later almost glabrous, 6-seeded. Seeds ovoid, 8–9 mm long, smooth, brown.
Cleistanthus occurs throughout the Old World tropics and comprises about 150 species. About 20 species occur in continental tropical Africa, mainly in Central Africa, and about 6 in Madagascar. Many Cleistanthus spp. have galls on the leaves. The highly toxic Cleistanthus collinus (Roxb.) Benth. from India is frequently used for homicidal and suicidal purposes. The aerial parts contain cleistanthin A, a diphyllin glycoside with promising cytotoxic and tumour-suppressing properties.
Ecology
Cleistanthus bipindensis occurs in marshy dense forest and along small streams.
Genetic resources and breeding
Cleistanthus bipindensis has a relatively large distribution area in Central Africa and there are no signs that it is genetically threatened.
Prospects
Cleistanthus bipindensis will remain of local importance as a tonic.
Major references
• 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.
• Léonard, J., 1962. Euphorbiaceae. In: Robyns, W., Staner, P., Demaret, F., Germain, R., Gilbert, G., Hauman, L., Homès, M., Jurion, F., Lebrun, J., Vanden Abeele, M. & Boutique, R. (Editors). Flore du Congo belge et du Ruanda-Urundi. Spermatophytes. Volume 8, 1. Institut National pour l’Étude Agronomique du Congo belge, Brussels, Belgium. 214 pp.
Other references
• Léonard, J., 1960. Notulae systematicae XXIX. Révision des Cleistanthus d’Afrique continentale (Euphorbiacées). Bulletin du Jardin botanique de l’Etat (Bruxelles) 30: 421–461.
• Neuwinger, H.D., 2000. African traditional medicine: a dictionary of plant use and applications. Medpharm Scientific, Stuttgart, Germany. 589 pp.
• Nguyen Nghia Thin, 1998. Cleistanthus Hook. f. ex Planch. In: Sosef, M.S.M., Hong, L.T. & Prawirohatmodjo, S. (Editors). Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 5(3). Timber trees: Lesser-known timbers. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands. pp. 164–165.
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

Correct citation of this article:
Schmelzer, G.H., 2007. Cleistanthus bipindensis Pax. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.