Prota 2: Vegetables/Légumes
Prodr. 6: 299 (1838).
2n = 20
Gynura miniata Welw. (1859).
Origin and geographic distribution
Gynura pseudochina extends from Sierra Leone eastwards through the Central African Republic and Ethiopia to Somalia and south to Malawi, Zambia and Angola. It also occurs in Sri Lanka, India, Bhutan, China, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and Australia. It is cultivated in Java (Indonesia) and Peninsular Malaysia.
Gynura pseudochina is grown in eastern Nigeria for its mucilaginous leaves, which are used in soups and sauces.
In northern Nigeria it is cultivated as a medicinal plant to treat fever. The fresh leaves are used for their demulcent property, and leaf sap is applied to sore eyes. In Asia leaves are used to reduce skin irritation caused by insect stings, pimples and bruises, and to cure scabies and erysipelas. Leaves, stems and roots are variably credited with haemostatic, antipyretic and vulnerary activity. Plant parts are used to regulate menses, to treat breast tumours, herpes infections and sore throats. As an ornamental Gynura pseudochina is grown in pots.
Perennial, erect, semi-succulent herb up to 130 cm tall; roots tuberous, round or lobed, 2–6 cm in diameter. Leaves in a rosette, simple, often shallowly lobed; petiole 0.3–3(–8) cm long; blade obovate, spatulate, elliptical or ovate, (1–)7–40 cm × (1–)1.5–20 cm; upper leaves more dissected and smaller. Inflorescence a campanulate head, loosely racemosely or paniculately grouped; peduncle up to 4 cm long; inner involucral bracts c. 13, 7–12 mm long; corolla 10–13 mm long, yellow to red. Fruit an achene, 3–4 mm long.
Gynura is placed in the tribe Senecioneae and comprises about 40 species, all native to the tropics of the Old World and temperate eastern Asia. In Africa 8 native species occur.
Gynura pseudochina occurs in grassland, usually among rocks, and in East Africa on black cotton soils.
Seed, cuttings or tubers can be used for propagation.
Genetic resources and breeding
Gynura pseudochina is very widely distributed and not in danger of genetic erosion.
Gynura pseudochina will remain of some local importance as a vegetable and medicinal plant. For cultivation as a vegetable, Asian selections of Gynura bicolor (Roxb. ex Willd.) DC. might be introduced.
• Burkill, H.M., 1985. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 1, Families A–D. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom. 960 pp.
• Davies, F.G., 1978. The genus Gynura (Compositae) in Africa. Kew Bulletin 33(2): 335–342
• Jeffrey, C., 1986. The Senecioneae in east tropical Africa. Notes on Compositae 4. Kew Bulletin 41(4): 873–943.
• Lean Teik Ng & Su Foong Yap, 2003. Gynura Cass. In: Lemmens, R.H.M.J. & Bunyapraphatsara, N. (Editors). Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 12(3). Medicinal and poisonous plants 3. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands. pp. 231–233.
Correct citation of this article:
Bosch, C.H., 2004. Gynura pseudochina (L.) DC. In: Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (Editors). PROTA 2: Vegetables/Légumes. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.