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Grewia triflora (Bojer) Walp.

Protologue
Repert. Bot. Syst. 5: 119 (1845).
Family
Tiliaceae (APG: Malvaceae)
Synonyms
Grewia vaughanii Exell (1928).
Vernacular names
Masokote (Sw).
Origin and geographic distribution
Grewia triflora is distributed in Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, the Comoros and Madagascar.
Uses
The stem is used in Kenya for making fish traps. The bark has been used in Madagascar to make cordage. The wood is used in Kenya for construction poles, bows and shafts for spear-guns used for fishing. The fruit is edible. In traditional medicine in Madagascar the bark is used for treatment of headache, fever and diarrhoea, and the leaves to treat headache and epilepsy. A decoction of the aerial parts is drunk to treat fever.
Properties
The wood is lightweight.
Botany
Shrub or small tree up to 10 m tall. Leaves alternate, simple; stipules subulate, c. 4 mm long, glabrous; petiole 4–16 mm long, glabrous or with short stellate hairs; blade ovate, 3–11 cm × 2–6.5 cm, base rounded, truncate or slightly cordate, apex acute to acuminate, margin shallowly toothed to entire, 3-veined from the base, more or less glabrous, glossy green above, paler beneath, sometimes slightly glandular and sticky when young. Inflorescence a cyme, 1–2 together in a leaf axil, 1–3-flowered; peduncle 6–15 mm long; bracts united into an up to 4 mm long calyptra. Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous; pedicel 3–7 mm long; sepals 8–14 mm long, densely hairy outside; petals 4–8 mm long, bifid, yellow; androgynophore 0.5–1 mm long, glabrous; stamens numerous, 6–7 mm long, yellow; ovary superior, 1.5–2 mm long, densely hairy, style 5–8 mm long, stigma green. Fruit an unlobed, globose drupe 7–10 mm across, with short stellate hairs, dark brown.
In Kenya Grewia triflora flowers from November to June.
Grewia comprises about 150 species, distributed in the tropical and subtropical parts of Africa, Asia and Australia. Grewia triflora is closely related to Grewia grevei Baill. and Grewia lavanalensis Baill. (synonym: Grewia repanda Baker). Both are endemic to Madagascar, where they have been used for making cordage and barkcloth. The wood of Grewia grevei is used for poles, tool handles, bows of pirogues, and as fuelwood. It is easy to work and durable after impregnation with salt water. The fruit is edible, and the leaves are eaten by livestock. The bark is used in traditional medicine to treat conjunctivitis, and the leaves to treat diarrhoea. The seed of Grewia lavanalensis is edible and has been harvested as famine food.
Ecology
In East Africa Grewia triflora occurs in coastal forest and thicket, often on coral rag, from sea-level up to 50(–100) m altitude. In Madagascar, where it is very common, it is especially found in disturbed vegetation, such as in forest edges and openings.
Genetic resources and breeding
In view of its fairly wide distribution and its common occurrence in Madagascar, Grewia triflora seems not threatened by genetic erosion.
Prospects
Grewia triflora is a multipurpose plant, providing not only fibre for cordage, but also wood, edible fruits and traditional medicines. Information on properties, such as fibre and wood quality, is lacking, however, making it difficult to assess the prospects of this species.
Major references
• Beentje, H.J., 1994. Kenya trees, shrubs and lianas. National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya. 722 pp.
• Capuron, R. & Mabberley, D.J., 1999. Révision des Malvaceae-Grewioideae (‘Tiliacées’, p.p.) de Madagascar et des Comores. 3. Les Grewia du sous-genre Vincentia (Benth.) Capuron. Adansonia, séries 3, 21(1): 7–23.
• Decary, R., 1946. Plantes et animaux utiles de Madagascar. Annales du Musée Colonial de Marseille, 54e année, 6e série, 4e volume, 1er et dernier fascicule. 234 pp.
• Whitehouse, C., Cheek, M., Andrews, S. & Verdcourt, B., 2001. Tiliaceae & Muntingiaceae. In: Beentje, H.J. (Editor). Flora of Tropical East Africa. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, Netherlands. 120 pp.
• Wild, H. & Gonçalves, M.L., 1969. Tiliaceae. In: Fernandes, A. (Editor). Flora de Moçambique. No 28. Junta de Investigações do Ultramar, Lisbon, Portugal. 69 pp.
Other references
• Anderson, J., Cowlishaw, G. & Rowcliffe, J.M., 2007. Effects of forest fragmentation on the abundance of Colobus angolensis palliatus in Kenya’s coastal forests. International Journal of Primatology 28(3): 637–655.
• 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.
• Faurix, E., Rakotomalala, L., Delcroix, F., Nerine, E., Randriamidina, P. & Telolahy, A., 1989. L’espace économique et les activités productives dans les villages Sakalava de Maharivo. In: AOMBE 2 : Elevage et société. Ministère de la Recherche Scientifique et Technologique pour le Développement de la République Malagasy & ORSTOM, Antananarivo, Madagascar. pp. 93–135.
• Kimani, P. & Obura, D., 2004. Participatory mapping of terrestrial fishery resources in Kwale District, Kenya. Western Indian Ocean Journal of Marine Science 3(2): 209–220.
• Neuwinger, H.D., 2000. African traditional medicine: a dictionary of plant use and applications. Medpharm Scientific, Stuttgart, Germany. 589 pp.
• Ralantonirina, D., 1993. Aperçu sur les plantes médicinales dans le sud de Madagascar : étude faite sur les adultes dans le périmètre de la réserve spéciale de Beza - Mahafaly. Thèse pour l’obtention du grade de Docteur en médecine, Etablissement d’Enseignement Supérieur des Sciences de la Santé, Faculté de Médecine, Université d’Antananarivo, Madagascar. 95 pp.
• Ratsirarson, J. & Ravaosolo, H., 1998. Exploitation du sel gemme aux alentours de la réserve spécial de Beza Mahafaly. Akon’ny Ala 24: 11–18.
• Razafiarison, C., 1993. Aperçu sur les plantes médicinales dans le sud de Madagascar : étude faite sur les enfants dans le périmètre de la réserve spéciale de Beza - Mahafaly. Thèse pour l’obtention du grade de Docteur en Médecine, Etablissement d’Enseignement Supérieur des Sciences de la Santé, Faculté de Médecine, Université d’Antananarivo, Madagascar. 93 pp.
• Stiles, D., 1998. The Mikea hunter-gatherers of southwest Madagascar: ecology and socioeconomics. African Study Monographs 19(3): 127–148.
• Weiss, E.A., 1973. Some indigenous trees and shrubs used by local fishermen on the East African coast. Economic Botany 27(2): 175–192.
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. Grewia triflora (Bojer) Walp. In: Brink, M. & Achigan-Dako, E.G. (Editors). Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes à fibres. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.