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Gnidia lamprantha Gilg

Protologue
Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 19: 264 (1894).
Family
Thymelaeaceae
Synonyms
Lasiosiphon lampranthus (Gilg) H.Pearson (1910).
Origin and geographic distribution
Gnidia lamprantha is distributed in Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
Uses
Fibre from the bark is used for making cord and rope.
Properties
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.
Botany
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, 20–50 mm Χ 5–12 mm, base obtuse, apex acute or shortly apiculate, hairy or glabrous, pale green or glaucous. Inflorescence a dense terminal head, 40–70-flowered; peduncle short; bracts 6–10, ovate, 6–12 mm Χ 4–9 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, 8–12 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, 3–4 mm Χ 1.5–3 mm, apex obtuse, hairy beneath, pale green to yellow; petals inserted in the throat of the calyx tube, filiform, linear or linear-spathulate, 1–1.5 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, 4–8 mm long. Fruit dry, small, enclosed by the persistent base of the calyx tube. Seeds 2.5–3 mm Χ 1–1.5 mm.
In Kenya Gnidia lamprantha flowers in August–February.
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.
Ecology
Gnidia lamprantha occurs at 1050–2300 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.
Prospects
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.
Major references
• Beentje, H.J., 1994. Kenya trees, shrubs and lianas. National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya. 722 pp.
• Peterson, B., 1978. Thymelaeaceae. In: Polhill, R.M. (Editor). Flora of Tropical East Africa. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. 37 pp.
• 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. 429–435.
Other references
• Daniel, M., 2006. Medicinal plants: chemistry and properties. Science Publishers, Enfield, New Hampshire, United States. 250 pp.
• 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): 146–153.
• 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): 672–673.
• Rizk, A.M., 1991. Poisonous plant contamination of edible plants. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, United States. 183 pp.
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 lamprantha Gilg. In: Brink, M. & Achigan-Dako, E.G. (Editors). Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes ΰ fibres. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.