Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes à fibres
Hort. Maurit.: 342 (1837).
Coco marron, koko marron (Fr).
Origin and geographic distribution
Curculigo seychellensis is endemic to the Seychelles.
Fibre from the leaf is locally used for making cordage. The leaf or string made from the leaf is used for wrapping or binding plugs of tobacco leaves.
Herb with basal leaves up to 2.5 m long and a perennial tuber. Leaves bifid; petiole 30–45 cm long, armed with spreading prickles; blade broadly lanceolate, 30–200 cm long, base cuneate, apex split, leathery, strongly ribbed. Inflorescence a dense head, nearly sessile, with 50 or more flowers; bracts 5–7.5 cm long, lanceolate, densely hairy. Flowers bisexual, regular, 3-merous, up to 3 cm long; tepals united in a filiform tube 5–7.5 cm long, hairy, limb 1–2 cm long, with 6 lanceolate yellow segments, nearly glabrous outside; stamens 6, free, inserted at the mouth of the perianth tube and half as long as limb; ovary inferior, cylindrical, 3-celled, densely hairy, stigmas 3. Fruit berry-like. Seeds turgid, seed coat crustaceous.
Curculigo has been variously included in the Amaryllidaceae and the Liliaceae, but is nowadays usually considered as belonging to the comparatively small family Hypoxidaceae. Curculigo comprises about 10 species distributed in the tropics. Most species are also cultivated as ornamentals.
Curculigo species are shade-loving plants, thriving under partly shaded or sunless conditions, with abundant water supply. Curculigo seychellensis occurs frequently in damp shady forest in the Seychelles.
Curculigo species are propagated by seed, rhizome division or suckers.
Genetic resources and breeding
It is not known to what extent Curculigo seychellensis is threatened with genetic erosion.
In view of its limited distribution and the availability of synthetic tying material, the role of Curculigo seychellensis as a fibre plant will remain limited to occasional local use in the Seychelles.
• Andre, W. & Beaver, K., 2006. Traditional uses of native plants. Kapisen 5: 3.
• Baker, J.G., 1877. Hypoxidaceae. In: Baker, J.G. (Editor). Flora of Mauritius and the Seychelles: a description of the flowering plants and ferns of those islands. L. Reeve & Co., London, United Kingdom. pp. 368–369.
• Robertson, S.A., 1989. Flowering plants of Seychelles. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 327 pp.
• Brink, M., 2003. Curculigo Gaertn. In: Brink, M. & Escobin, R.P. (Editors). Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 17. Fibre plants. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands. pp. 118–120.
• Huxley, A. (Editor), 1992. The new Royal Horticultural Society dictionary of gardening. Volume 1. MacMillan Press, London, United Kingdom. 815 pp.
• Kirby, R.H., 1963. Vegetable fibres: botany, cultivation, and utilization. Leonard Hill, London, United Kingdom & Interscience Publishers, New York, United States. 464 pp.
• Nordal, I. & Zimudzi, C., 2001. Hypoxidaceae. In: Pope, G.V. (Editor). Flora Zambesiaca. Volume 12, part 3. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. pp. 1–18.
Correct citation of this article:
Brink, M., 2010. Curculigo seychellensis Bojer ex Baker. In: Brink, M. & Achigan-Dako, E.G. (Editors). Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes à fibres. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.