Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes ΰ fibres
Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 19: 264 (1894).
Lasiosiphon lampranthus (Gilg) H.Pearson (1910).
Origin and geographic distribution
Gnidia lamprantha is distributed in Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
Fibre from the bark is used for making cord and rope.
The bark fibre is white. Gnidia lamprantha contains the diterpenes gnicidin, gnididin, gniditrin, which have shown antitumour activity. However, gnicidin is also known to have inflammatory and tumour-promoting activity.
Much-branched shrub or small tree up to 3(5) m tall, unbranched at the base, branched above; branches densely hairy. Leaves alternate, simple and entire, almost sessile; stipules absent; blade lanceolate to elliptical or oblanceolate, 2050 mm Χ 512 mm, base obtuse, apex acute or shortly apiculate, hairy or glabrous, pale green or glaucous. Inflorescence a dense terminal head, 4070-flowered; peduncle short; bracts 610, ovate, 612 mm Χ 49 mm, densely hairy on both sides, pale yellow, persistent. Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous, yellow to orange-yellow; pedicel short, with long stiff hairs; calyx tube cylindrical, 812 mm long, without distinct articulation, the lower part with dense tufts of silky hairs, the upper part densely yellow-hairy, lobes imbricate, ovate or elliptical, 34 mm Χ 1.53 mm, apex obtuse, hairy beneath, pale green to yellow; petals inserted in the throat of the calyx tube, filiform, linear or linear-spathulate, 11.5 mm long, membranous; stamens 10, in 2 whorls of unequal length, inserted in the throat of the calyx tube, almost sessile, upper whorl exserted; ovary superior, 1-locular, hairy at top, style filiform, 48 mm long. Fruit dry, small, enclosed by the persistent base of the calyx tube. Seeds 2.53 mm Χ 11.5 mm.
In Kenya Gnidia lamprantha flowers in AugustFebruary.
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.
Gnidia lamprantha occurs at 10502300 m altitude, in grassland and bushland, often in rocky locations.
Genetic resources and breeding
Gnidia lamprantha is fairly widely distributed and does not seem in danger of genetic erosion.
Gnidia lamprantha yields a fibre locally used for cordage, but detailed information on the fibre properties is unavailable. The plant contains compounds with antitumour properties, but toxicity has also been reported, and more research on these compounds is necessary to assess their potential.
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Peterson, B., 2000. Thymelaeaceae. In: Edwards, S., Mesfin Tadesse, Demissew Sebsebe & Hedberg, I. (Editors). Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Volume 2, part 1. Magnoliaceae to Flacourtiaceae. The National Herbarium, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Department of Systematic Botany, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden. pp. 429435.
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Eggeling, W.J. & Dale, I.R., 1951. The indigenous trees of the Uganda Protectorate. Government Printer, Entebbe, Uganda. 491 pp.
Greenway, P.J., 1950. Vegetable fibres and flosses in East Africa. The East African Agricultural Journal 15(3): 146153.
Kupchan, S.M., Sweeney, J.G., Baxter, R.L., Murae, T, Zimmerly, V.A. & Sickles, B.R., 1975. Gnididin, gniditrin, and gnidicin, novel potent antileukemic diterpenoid esters from Gnidia lamprantha. Journal of the American Chemical Society 97(3): 672673.
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Correct citation of this article:
Brink, M., 2009. Gnidia lamprantha Gilg. In: Brink, M. & Achigan-Dako, E.G. (Editors). Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes ΰ fibres. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.