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Croton barorum Leandri

Protologue
Ann. Inst. Bot.-Géol. Colon. Marseille sér. 5, 7(1): 66 (1939).
Family
Euphorbiaceae
Origin and geographic distribution
Croton barorum is endemic to south-western Madagascar.
Uses
A decoction of the stem and root bark is drunk to treat diarrhoea, malarial fever, cough, breast cancer and leukaemia. The aromatic leafy branches are used as an insect repellent in mattress fillings, especially against lice. A leaf extract is also used to perfume soap.
Properties
Crude extracts from the leaves, stems and stem bark have shown significant activity against several human bacterial pathogens.
Botany
Monoecious shrub or small tree up to 5 m tall, much-branched; young twigs with short stellate hairs. Leaves alternate, simple, aromatic; stipules small, persistent; petiole c. 3 cm long; blade ovate-lanceolate, 8–15 cm × 2.5–5.5 cm, base cordate, with 2 tiny, sessile glands, apex acuminate, margins toothed, short-hairy, lower surface whitish. Inflorescence a terminal raceme, with male flowers crowded at apex and 2–3 female flowers at base. Flowers unisexual, 5-merous, white; male flowers with short pedicel, sepals fused at base, with sparse stellate hairs, petals obovate, rounded, stamens 15–16, free; female flowers with pedicel enlarging in fruit to c. 2 cm long, sepals fused at base, petals absent, ovary superior, 3-lobed, short-hairy, 3-celled, styles 3, several times 2-fid at apex. Fruit a 3-lobed capsule c. 1 cm in diameter, 3-seeded.
Croton comprises about 1200 species and occurs throughout the warmer regions of the world. It is best represented in the Americas; in continental Africa about 65 species occur and in Madagascar about 125.
Ecology
Croton barorum occurs in dry forest.
Genetic resources and breeding
There are no reports that Croton barorum is threatened by genetic erosion.
Prospects
Croton barorum shows interesting antibacterial activity, and more research is warranted to evaluate its potential.
Major references
• Boiteau, P., Boiteau, M. & Allorge-Boiteau, L., 1999. Dictionnaire des noms malgaches de végétaux. 4 Volumes + Index des noms scientifiques avec leurs équivalents malgaches. Editions Alzieu, Grenoble, France.
• 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.
• Leandri, J., 1939. Les Croton de Madagascar et des îles voisines. Annales de l’Institut Botanique-Géologique Colonial de Marseille 7(1). 100 pp.
• Rakotonirainy, N., 2004. Etude chimique et microbiologique des huilles essentielles de deux plantes médicinales d’Ifotaka (Fort-Dauphin). Mémoire d’Ingénieur à l’Institut Supérieure Polytechnique de Madagascar (ISPM), Antananarivo, Madagascar. 44 pp.
Other references
• Coode, M.J.E., 1982. Euphorbiacées. In: Bosser, J., Cadet, T., Guého, J. & Marais, W. (Editors). Flore des Mascareignes. Familles 153–160. The Sugar Industry Research Institute, Mauritius, l’Office de la Recherche Scientifique Outre-Mer, Paris, France & Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 117 pp.
• Rasoanaivo, P., Petitjean, A. & Conan, J.Y., 1993. Toxic and poisonous plants of Madagascar: an ethnopharmacological survey. Fitoterapia 64: 117–129.
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. Croton barorum Leandri. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.