Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1
Engl., Pflanzenr. IV 147 VII: 137 (1914).
Claoxylon hexandrum Müll.Arg. (1864).
Origin and geographic distribution
Discoclaoxylon hexandrum occurs from Sierra Leone east to Ghana and from Nigeria east to Uganda and south to DR Congo.
In Ghana a decoction of the leafy twigs is taken as a purgative. Children play with the bright red seeds.
Small, dioecious, sparingly branched small tree up to 6(–10) m tall; bark grey; young shoots and petioles sparingly short-hairy, later almost glabrous, yellowish grey-green. Leaves alternate, simple; stipules tiny, soon falling; petiole (5–)8–17(–20) cm long, purplish; blade elliptical-oblong, 20–35 cm × 10–15 cm, base rounded to cuneate, apex acute to obtuse, margins toothed, firmly papery to leathery, almost glabrous, but short-hairy on main veins, purplish, later dark and glossy green. Inflorescence an axillary raceme up to 30(–50) cm long; bracts c. 1.5 mm long, acuminate, densely hairy. Flowers unisexual, petals absent; male flowers with jointed pedicel 3–4(–7) mm long; sepals 4, broadly triangular-ovate, c. 1.5 mm long, densely short-hairy outside, glabrous inside, pale green, disk shallowly lobed, c. 1.5 mm in diameter, papillose, stamens 6–7(–9), filaments c. 0.5 mm long, free; female flowers almost sessile, pedicel extending to 2 mm in fruit, basally jointed, calyx lobes 4, ovate, 1–1.5 mm long, united at base, densely woolly hairy outside, grey-green, disk glands 2, broadly triangular, c. 1 mm × 1.5 mm, ovary superior, 2-lobed, c. 1.5 mm in diameter, densely woolly hairy, 2-celled, styles 2, c. 0.5 mm long, free, feathery-hairy. Fruit a 2-lobed capsule c. 5 mm × 10 mm, lobes almost globular, densely yellowish grey-green woolly hairy, 2-seeded. Seeds almost globose, 3.5–4 mm in diameter, smooth, blackish, with a yellow, fleshy pseudoaril.
Discoclaoxylon comprises 4 species, which all occur in tropical Africa. Discoclaoxylon hexandrum is the only species with a relatively widespread distribution; the other 3 species are endemic to different islands in the Gulf of Guinea. How distinct they are from one another requires further study. Some authors include Discoclaoxylon in Claoxylon.
Discoclaoxylon hexandrum occurs in the understorey of secondary forest, often near paths, from sea-level up to 1200 m altitude.
Genetic resources and breeding
Discoclaoxylon hexandrum occurs in secondary vegetation and does not seem to be threatened by genetic erosion.
Discoclaoxylon hexandrum will probably remain of limited local importance as a medicinal plant.
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Correct citation of this article:
Schmelzer, G.H., 2008. Discoclaoxylon hexandrum (Müll.Arg.) Pax & K.Hoffm. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.