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Dalechampia ipomoeifolia Benth.

Protologue
Hook., Niger Fl.: 500 (1849).
Family
Euphorbiaceae
Origin and geographic distribution
Dalechampia ipomoeifolia occurs from Sierra Leone east to Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania.
Uses
In Côte d’Ivoire the flowering aerial parts are applied topically to calm costal and rheumatic pain.
Botany
Monoecious, twining shrub up to 7 m tall; stems thinly hairy. Leaves alternate, simple; stipules linear to linear-lanceolate, up to 1 cm long; petiole up to 10 cm long; blade triangular-ovate, 4–12 cm × 2–7 cm, sometimes shallowly or deeply 3-lobed, base cordate, glands 1.5 mm long, apex acute to acuminate, margins almost entire to glandular-toothed, short-hairy beneath. Inflorescence axillary or terminal on lateral shoots, with peduncle up to 14 cm long, flowers densely crowded in a male and female part, subtended by 2 large, triangular-ovate bracts, 2–3.5 cm × 1.5–3 cm, these 5-veined from the base and pale green to yellowish; male part of inflorescence a 14–20-flowered compound cyme, surrounded by an involucre 5–6 mm in diameter, on 4–5 mm long peduncle, a central mass of fused bracts at base, covered with resin; female inflorescence an almost sessile 3-flowered cyme, subtended by 2–3 transversely ovate bracts c. 2 mm × 3.5 mm. Flowers unisexual; petals and disk absent; pedicel 1–2 mm long, in female flowers extending to 1.2 cm; male flowers with 4–6, elliptical-ovate sepals c. 2 mm long, pale yellow, stamens 10–20; female flowers with 6 pinnatifid sepals c. 2.5 mm long, extending to 1 cm in fruit, with 6 pairs of linear lateral lobes, densely stiff hairy at margins, hairs white and urticant, ovary superior, 3-lobed, short-hairy, 3-celled, style up to 7 mm long, broadened at apex. Fruit a 3-lobed capsule c. 5 mm × 8 mm, short-hairy, grey or brownish, 3-seeded. Seeds spherical, c. 3 mm in diameter, brown, grey-mottled.
Dalechampia comprises about 120 species and occurs throughout the tropics, but is best represented in tropical America, especially Brazil. In continental tropical Africa 7 species occur, and in Madagascar 9 species. The crushed fresh leaves and roots of Dalechampia clematidifolia Baill. from Madagascar are vesicant and are applied to stubborn ulcers. The aerial parts are used to dye Raphia cloth black. Most Dalechampia spp. are pollinated by bees, which use the triterpene resin produced in the inflorescence in nest construction.
Ecology
Dalechampia ipomoeifolia is mainly found at forest margins, up to 1200 m altitude.
Genetic resources and breeding
Dalechampia ipomoeifolia has a large area of distribution and is relatively common; it is therefore not likely to be threatened by genetic erosion.
Prospects
Dalechampia ipomoeifolia will remain of local importance only as a medicinal plant. Nothing is known about its active compounds.
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.
• 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.
• Radcliffe-Smith, A., 1987. Euphorbiaceae (part 1). In: Polhill, R.M. (Editor). Flora of Tropical East Africa. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, Netherlands. 407 pp.
Other references
• Armbruster, W.S. & Steiner, K.E., 1992. Pollination ecology of four Dalechampia species (Euphorbiaceae) in northern Natal, South Africa. American Journal of Botany 79(3): 306–313.
• Pernet, R. & Meyer, G., 1957. Pharmacopeé de Madagascar. Publications de l’Institut de Recherche Scientifique Tananarive-Tsimbazaza. Pierre André Impr., Paris, France. 86 pp.
• Stäuble, N., 1986. Etude ethnobotanique des Euphorbiacées d’Afrique de l’Ouest. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 16: 23–103.
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. Dalechampia ipomoeifolia Benth. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.