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Grewia lasiodiscus K.Schum.

Notizbl. Bot. Gart. Berlin-Dahlem 3: 100 (1901).
Tiliaceae (APG: Malvaceae)
Origin and geographic distribution
Grewia lasiodiscus is distributed in the West African savanna zone from Senegal to northern Nigeria.
Fibre from the bark is made into cordage. In Senegal the bark is used to cover groundnut baskets. The stem is used for wickerwork, baskets and fish traps, and twigs are used as toothbrushes. The bark is used to precipitate impurities in traditional beer making. The fruit is edible and is sometimes made into a fermented beverage. It is also used as a condiment.
In African traditional medicine a maceration of the root is drunk to treat intercostal pain, female sterility and urinary retention. It is also drunk or used in baths to treat diarrhoea and as a mild aphrodisiac. A paste of the freshly ground root is applied as a poultice on the chest and drunk for treatment of intercostal pain and stiffness of the limbs. The root is also used to control fever, pain and vomiting. The branch and the pounded bark are cooked with food to prepare a sauce eaten against stomach problems. A maceration of the bark fibre is drunk for treatment of diarrhoea and constipation. A maceration of the leaf is drunk to treat urinary retention.
The root contains saponins, tannins and terpenes. An aqueous methanol extract of the root has shown in-vivo anti-emetic activity in 1-day-old chicks. The bark and flowers contain farnesol, which has shown spasmolytic effects on the smooth muscle fibre of intestines and sedative activity in case of over-excitement.
Shrub or small tree up to 6 m tall; branches cylindrical, often entangled, grey-brown, with lenticels, glabrescent; outer bark smooth or fissured and scaly, brown or grey, inner bark orange-pink, sometimes with purple streaks. Leaves alternate, simple; stipules forked, 2–6 mm long; petiole 2–4 mm long, hairy; blade ovate, elliptical or oblong, 2.5–10 cm × 1.5–5.5 cm, base rounded to almost cordate, apex obtuse to pointed, margin toothed, 3-veined from the base, with 4–8 pairs of secondary veins, slightly leathery, stellate-hairy on both sides. Inflorescence an axillary fascicle, 1–4-flowered; peduncle 3–4 mm long. Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous, c. 2 cm in diameter; pedicel 4–7 mm long; sepals 8–12 mm long; petals linear, smaller than sepals, bright yellow to reddish brown; stamens numerous; ovary superior. Fruit a globose drupe 7–12 mm in diameter, unlobed, brown, hairy, rough, 1–2-seeded. Seedling with epigeal germination.
Grewia lasiodiscus usually flowers at the beginning of the rainy season. In Benin flowering is in April–June, and fruiting in August–December.
Grewia comprises about 150 species, distributed in the tropical and subtropical parts of Africa, Asia and Australia.
Grewia lasiodiscus occurs in the Sudano-Guinean zone of West Africa, in savanna, fallow land and gallery forest. It occurs scattered and usually not frequently, but it may be locally common.
Soaking in sulphuric acid for 60 minutes, followed by soaking in water for 24 hours gave the best results in germination experiments in Burkina Faso, with germination rates of about 40%.
Genetic resources and breeding
In view of its fairly wide distribution, Grewia lasiodiscus seems not threatened by genetic erosion.
Grewia lasiodiscus is a local source of fibre and material for wickerwork, and also provides other useful products, such as edible fruits and traditional medicines. Information on the fibre properties is lacking, making it difficult to assess the prospects for this species. It may gain importance as a medicinal plant, because of its anti-emetic properties.
Major references
• Arbonnier, M., 2000. Arbres, arbustes et lianes des zones sèches d’Afrique de l’Ouest. CIRAD, MNHN, UICN. 541 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.
• Keay, R.W.J., 1958. Tiliaceae. In: Keay, R.W.J. (Editor). Flora of West Tropical Africa. Volume 1, part 2. 2nd Edition. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. pp. 300–310.
• 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.
Other references
• Adjanohoun, E.J., Adjakidjè, V., Ahyi, M.R.A., Aké Assi, L., Akoègninou, A., d’Almeida, J., Apovo, F., Boukef, K., Chadare, M., Cusset, G., Dramane, K., Eyme, J., Gassita, J.N., Gbaguidi, N., Goudote, E., Guinko, S., Houngnon, P., Lo, I., Keita, A., Kiniffo, H.V., Kone-Bamba, D., Musampa Nseyya, A., Saadou, M., Sodogandji, T., De Souza, S., Tchabi, A., Zinsou Dossa, C. & Zohoun, T., 1989. Contribution aux études ethnobotaniques et floristiques en République Populaire du Bénin. Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique, Paris, France. 895 pp.
• 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.
• Bazié, G., 2007. Essai de germination et de croissance de Phoenix dactylifera L. et de Grewia lasiodiscus K. Schum. Rapport de stage, Diplôme de Controleur des Eaux et Forêts, Ecole Nationale des Eaux et Forêts de Dindérésso, Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso. 37 pp.
• Neuwinger, H.D., 2000. African traditional medicine: a dictionary of plant use and applications. Medpharm Scientific, Stuttgart, Germany. 589 pp.
• Tijani, A.Y., Okhale, S.E., Oga, F.E., Tags, S.Z., Salawu, O.A. & Chindo, B.A., 2008. Anti-emetic activity of Grewia lasiodiscus root extract and fractions. African Journal of Biotechnology 7(17): 3011–3016.
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., 2009. Grewia lasiodiscus K.Schum. In: Brink, M. & Achigan-Dako, E.G. (Editors). Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes à fibres. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.