Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes à fibres
Kew Bull. 1950: 160 (1950).
Origin and geographic distribution
Hypselodelphys poggeana is distributed from Guinea and Sierra Leone to DR Congo and Angola.
The stems are used for tying, in West Africa particularly for tying walls and thatch in house construction. In DR Congo the split stems are used for plaiting mats and hats, and entire stems are used for making fish traps. The leaves are used for packing.
In Liberia the young shoots are chewed with palm kernels, and the juice is credited with aphrodisiac properties.
In Sierra Leone the fruit pulp is eaten, and the seeds are chewed. In Ghana the stems, which are hollow, are used as whistles. In Nigeria the seeds are used for making necklaces. In DR Congo girls sometimes wear a piece of the leafstalk as an ornament in the upper lip.
Perennial, woody, liana-like, branched herb up to c. 6 m tall, with rhizome and bamboo-like shoots. Leaves distichous, antitropic (successively bent to one side and the other); petiole sheathing at the base, jointed shortly above the top of the sheath, above the joint 0.5–1.5 cm long and calloused, calloused part 5–10 mm long, transition of the petiole into the midvein marked by an interruption; blade linear-oblong to ovate-oblong, 7–19 cm × 2.5–9 cm, base truncate, apex acuminate. Inflorescence a simple or slightly branched spike 5–9 cm long from the lowest node; axis articulate and zig-zag, with at each node an abaxial, purplish bract 1.5–3.5 cm long enveloping a single cymule; cymule 2-flowered, with an adaxial bract c. 5 mm long, common peduncle short. Flowers bisexual, zygomorphic, purple; bracteole fleshy and hard, sepals 3, free, equal, c. 8 mm long; corolla tubular below, with 3 reflexed lobes, tube c. 15 mm long, lobes c. 5 mm long; staminodes and stamen in 2 cycles, at the base forming a tube fused to the corolla tube, outer cycle consisting of 2 petaloid staminodes, inner cycle consisting of 1 stamen and 2 petaloid staminodes, of which 1 hooded with a sword-like appendage; ovary inferior, 3-locular. Fruit triangular with rounded angles, 4–5 cm in diameter, indehiscent, densely covered with pointed protuberances 1–2 mm long, endocarp pulpy. Seeds without aril.
The flowers are pollinated by bees.
Hypselodelphys comprises 7 species, and is distributed from West Africa eastward to Uganda and southward to Angola. Hypselodelphys scandens Louis & Mullend. is a climber up to 10 m long, distributed from Nigeria eastward to Uganda and southward to DR Congo and Angola. Its stems are used for tying and for making fish traps. Its leaves are used for thatching, wrapping and packing. In DR Congo, for instance, they are used for wrapping fish and meat for cooking, and they are said to give a good aroma to the food. In Cameroon they are used as cushion under sleeping mats and made into articles such as cups, funnels, fans and parasols. In traditional medicine in Cameroon root preparations are used for the treatment of sores, headache and heart problems. In DR Congo a root decoction is applied as an enema against haemorrhoids. The flexible vines of Hypselodelphys zenkeriana (K.Schum.) Milne-Redh., a perennial climbing herb occurring in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Congo, are used as poles in hut building in Cameroon. Root preparations are used for the treatment of sores.
Hypselodelphys poggeana occurs in gallery forest, secondary forest and disturbed locations.
Hypselodelphys poggeana is collected from wild stands.
Genetic resources and breeding
In view of its wide distribution and occurrence in secondary forest and disturbed locations, Hypselodelphys poggeana is unlikely to be threatened with genetic erosion.
Hypselodelphys poggeana is a useful local source of material for tying, plaiting and packing, but no information is available on its properties and local trade of its products. It is unlikely to become more important, because of the wide availability of other Marantaceae and synthetic substitutes.
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Correct citation of this article:
Brink, M., 2011. Hypselodelphys poggeana (K.Schum.) Milne-Redh. In: Brink, M. & Achigan-Dako, E.G. (Editors). Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes à fibres. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.
1, part of leafy stem; 2, opened corolla; 3, part of inflorescence; 4, fruit.
Source: Flore analytique du Bénin