Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1
Bull. Jard. Bot. Etat 28: 113 (1958).
Origin and geographic distribution
Croton aubrevillei occurs in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Cameroon and the Central African Republic.
In Côte d’Ivoire an infusion of the leaves and bark is taken to treat constipation, stomach-ache and female infertility; the bark is also rubbed on the body to treat pain and Guinea worm infection. In Cameroon the dried bark is eaten to treat stomach-ache or high blood pressure; an infusion of the roots, leaves or stem bark is used similarly. Chewed bark is rubbed on babies when they do not sleep well.
In Cameroon the stem bark is sometimes used as a toothbrush.
The main constituents identified in the essential oil from the stem bark are the common terpenoids linalool (35%) and β-caryophyllene (12%).
Monoecious, small tree up to 15 m tall, stellate hairy and scaly. Leaves alternate to whorled, simple and entire; stipules small, linear, 4–7 mm long, persistent; petiole 1–7.5 cm long; blade elliptical to ovate-elliptical, 3.5–10 cm × 2–5.5 cm, base rounded to cordate, with 2 small glands, apex acute to acuminate, sparsely to densely brown hairy above, with silvery white scales beneath. Inflorescence a terminal raceme 4–7 cm long, with many male flowers at end and 1–2 female flowers at base. Flowers unisexual, 5-merous, regular, white; pedicel 3–5 mm long, enlarging to 8–11 mm in fruit; sepals elliptical to triangular, fused at base, 3–4.5 mm long; male flowers with elliptical petals 3.5–4 mm long, stamens 17–24, free; female flowers with lanceolate petals 2.5–5 mm long, ovary superior, rounded, 3-lobed, hairy, 3-celled, styles 3, 2-fid to the base. Fruit a globular, slightly 3-lobed capsule c. 9 mm in diameter, green, hairy, 3-seeded. Seeds ellipsoid, 6–7 mm × 5–6 mm, brown.
Croton comprises about 1200 species and occurs throughout the warmer regions of the world. It is best represented in the Americas; about 65 species occur in continental Africa and about 125 in Madagascar.
Croton aubrevillei occurs in evergreen and deciduous forest at low altitudes.
Genetic resources and breeding
Croton aubrevillei is not common in its area of distribution and is threatened by habitat destruction. It is assessed as vulnerable in the IUCN Red List of threatened species, and future re-evaluation is likely to rate this species as endangered.
Croton aubrevillei has several interesting medicinal uses, but little is known about its chemistry or pharmacology; more research is therefore needed.
• Cheek, M., 2004. Croton aubrevillei. In: IUCN. 2006 Red list of threatened species. [Internet] http://www.iucnredlist.org. Accessed on 3 January 2007.
• Léonard, J., 1958. Notulae systematicae XXIII. Notes sur diverses Euphorbiacées africaines des genres Croton, Crotonogyne, Dalechampia, Grossera et Thecacoris. Bulletin du Jardin Botanique de l’Etat (Bruxelles) 28: 111–121.
• Menut, C., Lamaty, G., Bessière, J.M., Seuleiman, A.M., Fendero, P., Maidou, E. & Dénamganai, J., 1995. Aromatic plants of tropical Central Africa. XXII. Volatile constituents of Croton aubrevillei J. Leonard and C. zambesicus Muell. Arg. Journal of Essential Oil Research 7(4): 419–422.
• Tshiamala-Tshibangu, N., Gbeli, Essimbi, E.P. & Ndjigba, J.D., 1999. Utilisation des produits forestiers autres que le bois (PFAB) au Cameroun : cas du projet forestier du Mont Koupé. Revue de Médecines et Pharmacopées Africaines 13: 19–32.
• Burkill, H.M., 1994. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 2, Families E–I. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 636 pp.
• Missouri Botanical Garden, undated. VAST (VAScular Tropicos) nomenclatural database. [Internet] http://mobot.mobot.org/W3T/Search/vast.html. Accessed December 2006.
Correct citation of this article:
Schmelzer, G.H., 2007. Croton aubrevillei J.Léonard. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.
slash and bark