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Dombeya quinqueseta (Delile) Exell

Journ. Bot. 73: 263 (1935).
Sterculiaceae (APG: Malvaceae)
Dombeya multiflora (Endl.) Planch (1850).
Origin and geographic distribution
Dombeya quinqueseta is distributed from Senegal and Gambia eastward to Eritrea, Ethiopia and Kenya.
The bark is used for tying and for making cordage. In DR Congo it is retted to obtain ribbons similar to raffia. The wood is used for poles and as fuelwood. Ash from the bark yields a vegetable salt. The fruit is a famine food in Sudan.
In African traditional medicine a maceration of the root is taken for the treatment of fever, and decoctions of the root are drunk against fever and stomach-ache. A decoction of the root bark is drunk to treat schistosomiasis. The root and the leaf are used against dizziness. The stem bark is used for the treatment of malaria. A decoction of the stem bark is used as an antidote for snake-bites. The bark is also credited with insecticidal properties.
Per 100 g dry matter the fruit contains: crude protein 6.0 g, fat 0.1 g, soluble carbohydrate 78.2 g, crude fibre 6.3 g, Ca 260 mg, Mg 130 mg, Fe 17.0 mg and Zn 2.1 mg. The essential amino acid composition per 100 g protein (16 g N) is: lysine 2.7 g, methionine 0.8 g, phenylalanine 3.0 g, threonine 3.0 g, valine 3.7 g, leucine 4.5 g and isoleucine 3.0 g. The leaves are said to be poisonous for cattle.
Shrub or small tree up to 12 m tall; outer bark rough and more or less cracked, grey to pale brown, flaking off in small irregular patches; crown open and irregular; inner bark orange-red; branches more or less erect, twisted, terete, covered with stellate, simple, glandular hairs or glabrous. Leaves alternate, simple; stipules oblong, 3–9 mm × 1–3 mm, acuminate, sparsely hairy, caducous; petiole 2–17 cm long, glabrous or hairy; blade ovate to orbicular, sometimes shallowly 3(–5)-lobed, 4.5–24.5 cm × 2.5–21.5 cm, base usually deeply cordate, apex acuminate, margin irregularly toothed, upper surface slightly rough, lower surface tomentose to puberulous. Inflorescence a compound racemoid cyme, 2–4 together on leafless shoots up to 20 cm long arising from the axils of usually fallen leaves, 4–19 cm long, branches forking 3–4 times; peduncle 1–9.5(–14.5) cm long; bracts 1–3 mm × up to 1 mm, hairy, caducous. Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous; pedicel 5–18(–35) mm long; epicalyx bracts inserted on pedicel, linear-lanceolate, 1–2 mm long, caducous; calyx lobes reflexed, lanceolate, 4–9 mm × 1–3 mm, hairy; petals spreading, 8–17 mm × 4–8 mm, white to pink or purple, persistent and papery in fruit; androecium 6–10 mm long, stamens 10–15, in a single whorl, up to 7 mm long, alternating with 5 staminodes 5–10 mm long, all filaments united into a staminal tube c. 1 mm long dilating towards the apex; ovary superior, globose, hairy, 3-celled, style 1–3 mm long, 3-branched, densely hairy. Fruit an ovoid to globose capsule c. 5 mm in diameter, hairy. Seeds c. 3 mm long, dark brown.
Dombeya quinqueseta usually flowers in the middle of the dry season, when the leaves are shed. In southern Sudan, for instance, flowering is in the second half of February, and new leaves appear around the end of March. In Benin flowering and fruiting is in November–April.
Dombeya comprises about 200 species, mainly distributed in Madagascar, with about 20 species in mainland Africa and 14 in the Mascarenes. Revisions of the genus have been carried out for mainland Africa and the Mascarenes, but not for Madagascar, and the number of species described for Madagascar is possibly too high.
Dombeya quinqueseta occurs up to 1900(–2200) m altitude in grassland, bushland, wooded grassland and woodland.
Genetic resources and breeding
As Dombeya quinqueseta is widespread and common, it is not threatened with genetic erosion.
Dombeya quinqueseta has a range of uses, not only being a source of fibre, but also providing famine food, salt, poles, firewood and traditional medicines. Except for the nutritional value of the fruit, no detailed information is available on the properties, making assessment of the prospects of Dombeya quinqueseta difficult.
Major references
• Arbonnier, M., 2004. Trees, shrubs and lianas of West African dry zones. CIRAD, Margraf Publishers Gmbh, MNHN, Paris, France. 573 pp.
• Burkill, H.M., 2000. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 5, Families S–Z, Addenda. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 686 pp.
• Cheek, M. & Dorr, L., 2007. Sterculiaceae. In: Beentje, H.J. & Ghazanfar, S.A. (Editors). Flora of Tropical East Africa. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 134 pp.
• Seyani, J.H., 1991. The genus Dombeya (Sterculiaceae) in continental Africa. Opera Botanica Belgica 2. National Botanic Garden of Belgium, Meise, Belgium. 186 pp.
• Vollesen, K., 1995. Sterculiaceae. In: Edwards, S., Mesfin Tadesse & Hedberg, I. (Editors). Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Volume 2, part 2. Canellaceae to Euphorbiaceae. The National Herbarium, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Department of Systematic Botany, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden. pp. 165–185.
Other references
• Akoègninou, A., van der Burg, W.J. & van der Maesen, L.J.G. (Editors), 2006. Flore analytique du Bénin. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands. 1034 pp.
• Chevalier, A., 1951. Plantes à fibres exploitées au Congo belge et dans le bassin du Niari (A.E.F.). Revue Internationale de Botanique Appliquée et d’Agriculture Tropicale 33(2): 441–444.
• Freedman, R., 1998. Famine foods. Sterculiaceae. [Internet] Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, United States. newcrop/faminefoods/ff_families/ STERCULIACEAE.html. Accessed September 2009.
• Germain, R. & Bamps, P., 1963. Sterculiaceae. In: Robyns, W., Staner, P., Demaret, F., Germain, R., Gilbert, G., Hauman, L., Homès, M., Jurion, F., Lebrun, J., Vanden Abeele, M. & Boutique, R. (Editors). Flore du Congo belge et du Ruanda-Urundi. Spermatophytes. Volume 10. Institut National pour l’Étude Agronomique du Congo belge, Brussels, Belgium. pp. 205–316.
• Kokwaro, J.O., 1993. Medicinal plants of East Africa. 2nd Edition. Kenya Literature Bureau, Nairobi, Kenya. 401 pp.
• Lawani, A., 2007. Contribution du bois energie aux moyens d’existence durables des ménages riverains de la Réserve de biosphère de la Pendjari. Thèse ingénieur agronome, Faculté des Sciences Agronomiques, Université d’Abomey Calavi, Bénin. 133 pp.
• Mahmoud, M.A., Khidir, M.O., Khalifa, M.A., Bashir el Amadi, A.M., Musnad, H.A.R. & Mohamed, E.T.I., 1995. Sudan: Country Report to the FAO International Technical Conference on Plant Genetic Resources (Leipzig 1996). Khartoum, Sudan. 86 pp.
• Neuwinger, H.D., 2000. African traditional medicine: a dictionary of plant use and applications. Medpharm Scientific, Stuttgart, Germany. 589 pp.
• Sommerlatte, H. & Sommerlatte, M., 1990. A field guide to the trees and shrubs of the Imatong Mountains, southern Sudan. Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammmenarbeit (GTZ), Nairobi, Kenya. 372 pp.
• Van den Eynden, V., Van Damme, P. & de Wolf, J., 1994. Inventaire et modelage de la gestion du couvert végétal pérenne dans une zone forestière du sud du Sénégal. Rapport final, Partie C: Etude ethnobotanique. University of Gent, Gent, Belgium. 111 pp.
M. Brink
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

M. Brink
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
E.G. Achigan Dako
PROTA Network Office Africa, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), P.O. Box 30677-00100, Nairobi, Kenya

Correct citation of this article:
Brink, M., 2010. Dombeya quinqueseta (Delile) Exell. In: Brink, M. & Achigan-Dako, E.G. (Editors). Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes à fibres. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.