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Croton decaryi Leandri

Protologue
Bull. Mus. natn. Hist. nat., Paris, sér. 2, 3: 370 (1931).
Family
Euphorbiaceae
Origin and geographic distribution
Croton decaryi is endemic to south-western Madagascar.
Uses
The aromatic leafy branches are used as a mattress filler to repel insects, especially lice. A decoction of the aerial parts is taken to calm patients with paranoid psychosis.
Properties
Dry leaves of Croton decaryi contain about 0.3% essential oil, dry stems 0.2%. The essential oil of the leaves is rich in monoterpene and sesquiterpene hydrocarbons. Major components are β-caryophyllene (27%), α-pinene (21%), α-humulene (19%), β-pinene (7%) and caryophyllene oxide (5%). The essential oil of the dried stem contains mainly monoterpenes and oxygenated monoterpenes, and the major components are α-pinene (26%), borneol (13%), camphene (11%), β-pinene (7%), β-caryophyllene (9%) and caryophyllene oxide (6%).
Botany
Monoecious shrub up to 2 m tall; young twigs with short, reddish stellate hairs. Leaves opposite to whorled, simple, strongly scented; stipules small, persistent; petiole c. 1.5 cm long; blade ovate, c. 3 cm × 2 cm, base cordate, with 2 small, sessile glands, apex rounded, margins toothed, with small, cup-shaped glands in forks of veins, softly hairy on both sides, whitish beneath. Inflorescence a terminal raceme with male flowers at apex and 2–3 female flowers at base. Flowers unisexual, 5-merous, regular, white; sepals small, petals rudimentary; male flowers with short pedicel, stamens c. 15, free; female flowers with pedicel c. 2 cm long, ovary superior, rounded, 3-lobed, yellowish hairy, 3-celled, styles 3, several times 2-fid. Fruit an ovoid 3-lobed capsule, softly stellate hairy, 3-seeded.
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. Almost 40 of the species from Madagascar are used in medicine, and several of them resemble morphologically Croton decaryi. The crushed stems of Croton bathianus Leandri are added to a fermented beverage and taken as a bitter tonic. An infusion of the bitter bark of Croton crocodilorum Leandri is taken as a stimulant and aphrodisiac. An infusion of the grated bark of Croton perrieri Leandri is taken to treat infectious diseases.
Ecology
Croton decaryi occurs in open forest and on stream banks, at low altitudes.
Genetic resources and breeding
There are no signs that Croton decaryi is threatened by genetic erosion.
Prospects
Probably due to its essential oil, Croton decaryi is interesting for use as an insect repellent, but is likely to remain of minor, local importance only.
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.
• Radulovic, N., Mananjarasoa, E., Harinantenaina, L. & Yoshinori, A., 2006. Essential oil composition of four Croton species from Madagascar and their chemotaxonomy. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 34(8): 648–653.
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.
• Missouri Botanical Garden, undated. VAST (VAScular Tropicos) nomenclatural database. [Internet] http://mobot.mobot.org/W3T/Search/vast.html. Accessed December 2006.
• Ralaivao, H., 1993. Les maladies et les plantes utilisées dans le fivondronanna d’Ambilobe Andranomamy et Malaipaka. Thèse pour l’obtention du grade de Docteur en médecine (Diplôme d’Etat), Etablissement d’Enseignement Supérieur des Sciences de la Santé, Faculté de Médecine, Université d’Antananarivo, Madagascar. 107 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, 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 decaryi Leandri. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.