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Gnidia daphnifolia L.f.

Protologue
Suppl. pl.: 225 (1782).
Family
Thymelaeaceae
Synonyms
Dais madagascariensis Lam. (1786), Lasiosiphon pubescens (Lam.) Decne (1841), Lasiosiphon baroni Baker (1890).
Origin and geographic distribution
Gnidia daphnifolia is endemic to Madagascar.
Uses
The bast fibre is used for cordage. Like that of many other species in Madagascar, the bark was formerly beaten on a mallet to obtain a kind of felt used for cloth. As technology evolved, fibres were extracted by crushing the bark, after which they were combed or scutched, making them suitable for spinning and weaving. Gnidia daphnifolia is also one of the species of which the bark fibre is locally made into ‘Antaimoro paper’, a paper of excellent quality made into articles such as stationary, envelopes, cards, notebooks, photo albums, lampshades and gift bags.
Properties
The bast fibre is fine and silky.
Botany
Shrub up to 2 m tall; branches glabrescent, outer bark reddish brown, striate. Leaves with petiole up to 5 mm long; stipules absent; blade obovate-lanceolate to oblong, 20–70 mm × 8–20 mm, base attenuate or slightly cuneate, apex obtuse, sparsely hairy or glabrous. Inflorescence an axillary or terminal head 1.5–2 cm in diameter, 15–20-flowered; peduncle 1–5 cm long, hairy, greyish green; involucral bracts often fused at the base, acuminate, hairy. Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous, red, orange or yellow; calyx tube cylindrical, 12–18 mm long, lobes ovate to oblong or obtuse, 2–3 mm long; petals inserted in the throat of the calyx tube, alternate with calyx lobes, scale-like, ovate-oblong, up to 2 mm long, membranous; stamens 10, in 2 whorls of unequal length, the upper whorl inserted in the throat of the calyx tube, the other one inserted lower; ovary superior, 1-locular, hairy or glabrous, style filiform. Fruit oblong, 4–5 mm long, enclosed by the persistent base of the calyx tube, covered with long stiff whitish hairs.
Gnidia comprises about 140 species, mainly distributed in tropical Africa, with 20 species endemic to Madagascar, but it also extends into Arabia, western India and Sri Lanka. The bast fibre of Gnidia danguyana Leandri, a shrub endemic to Madagascar, is used for the same purposes as that of Gnidia daphnifolia.
Ecology
Gnidia daphnifolia occurs in sandy and rocky locations.
Genetic resources and breeding
It is unclear whether Gnidia daphnifolia is threatened by genetic erosion.
Prospects
Little information is available on Gnidia daphnifolia and its fibre properties. Its use in the niche market for high-quality ‘Antaimoro paper’ may increase with increasing tourism to Madagascar.
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.
• Leandri, J., 1950. Thyméléacées (Thymelaeaceae). Flore de Madagascar et des Comores (plantes vasculaires), famille 146. Firmin-Didot et cie., Paris, France. 40 pp.
• Schatz, G., undated. A catalogue of the vascular plants of Madagascar. [Internet]. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, United States. http://www.efloras.org/ flora_info.aspx?flora_id=12. Accessed March 2009.
Other references
• Rogers, Z.S., 2006. A new species of Malagasy Gnidia and the lectotypification of Octolepis decalepis (Thymelaeaceae). Adansonia séries 3, 28(1): 155–160.
• Rogers, Z.S. & Spencer, M.A., 2006. Typification of plant names in Thymelaeaceae published by Linnaeus and Linnaeus filius. Taxon 55(2): 483–488.
Author(s)
M. Brink
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands


Editors
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., 2009. Gnidia daphnifolia L.f. In: Brink, M. & Achigan-Dako, E.G. (Editors). Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes à fibres. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.