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Hypselodelphys violacea (Ridl.) Milne-Redh.

Kew Bull. 1950: 160 (1950).
Trachyphrynium violaceum Ridl. (1887).
Origin and geographic distribution
Hypselodelphys violacea is distributed from Guinea and Sierra Leone eastward to Cameroon, and from there southward to DR Congo and Angola.
The split stems are widely used for tying and making baskets and mats. In Gabon the stems are used for making traps for small animals such as rats and crabs. In Ghana the stems, which are hollow, are used as whistles. The leaves are used for packing.
The fruit is eaten in Sierra Leone, and the seed is chewed in Nigeria. In Benin the leaves form part of preparations drunk for the treatment of hunchback. In the Ubangi river area in Central Africa the dried and powdered fruit is taken as an emetic, and it is eaten in porridge in case of snake-bites.
The fruit is strongly flavoured. The seed is said to have a nutty taste when fresh and almost ripe, but to be tasteless when completely ripe and dry.
Perennial, woody, climbing liana up to c. 3.5(–8) m tall, with rhizome and bamboo-like, branched shoots. Leaves distichous, antitropic (successively bent to one side and the other); petiole generally sheathing up to the joint, above the joint 1–2 cm long and calloused, transition of the petiole into the midvein marked by an interruption; blade linear-ovate to ovate-oblong, 9–22 cm × 2–10 cm, base truncate to rounded, apex acuminate, lower surface with two lines of hairs on both sides of the midvein. Inflorescence a simple or dichotomously branched spike (5–)8–16(–24) cm long from the lowest node; axis articulate and zig-zag, with at each node an abaxial bract 2–3.5 cm long enveloping a single cymule; cymule 2-flowered, with a 2-keeled adaxial bract 10–15 mm long, common peduncle short. Flowers bisexual, zygomorphic, c. 2.5 cm in diameter, purple and white; bracteole fleshy and hard, sepals 3, free, equal; corolla tubular below, with 3 reflexed lobes, c. 2 cm 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 sharp angles, c. 5 cm in diameter, indehiscent, densely covered with pointed protuberances 1–2 mm long, endocarp pulpy, 3-seeded. Seeds black, without aril.
In Benin flowering and fruiting are probably year-round. The flowers are pollinated by bees.
Hypselodelphys comprises 7 species, distributed from West Africa to Uganda.
Hypselodelphys violacea occurs in secondary forest and forest margins, particularly in humid locations.
Hypselodelphys violacea is collected from wild stands.
Genetic resources and breeding
In view of its wide distribution and occurrence in secondary forest, Hypselodelphys violacea is unlikely to be threatened with genetic erosion.
Hypselodelphys violacea is locally used for tying, plaiting and packing, but no information is available on its fibre 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.
Major references
• 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.
• Burkill, H.M., 1997. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 4, Families M–R. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 969 pp.
• Hepper, F.N., 1968. Marantaceae. In: Hepper, F.N. (Editor). Flora of West Tropical Africa. Volume 3, part 1. 2nd Edition. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. pp. 79–89.
• Koechlin, J., 1965. Marantaceae. Flore du Cameroun. Volume 4. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. pp. 99–157.
• Vergiat, A.M., 1970. Plantes magiques et médicinales des féticheurs de l’Oubangui (Région de Bangui). (Fin). Journal d’Agriculture Tropicale et de Botanique Appliquée 17: 295–339.
Other references
• Abbiw, D.K., 1990. Useful plants of Ghana: West African uses of wild and cultivated plants. Intermediate Technology Publications, London and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 337 pp.
• Adjanohoun, E.J., Ahyi, A.M.R., Aké Assi, L., Baniakina, J., Chibon, P., Cusset, G., Doulou, V., Enzanza, A., Eymé, J., Goudoté, E., Keita, A., Mbemba, C., Mollet, J., Moutsamboté, J.-M., Mpati, J. & Sita, P. (Editors), 1988. Médecine traditionnelle et pharmacopée - Contribution aux études ethnobotaniques et floristiques en République Populaire du Congo. Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique, Paris, France. 606 pp.
• Hawthorne, W. & Jongkind, C., 2006. Woody plants of western African forests: a guide to the forest trees, shrubs and lianes from Senegal to Ghana. Kew Publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom. 1023 pp.
• Koechlin, J., 1964. Marantacées. Flore du Gabon. Volume 9. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. pp. 91–158.
• Ley, A.C., 2008. Evolutionary tendencies in African Marantaceae - evidence from floral morphology, ecology and phylogeny. PhD thesis, Johannes Gutenberg Universität, Mainz, Germany. 187 pp.
• Milne-Redhead, E., 1950. Notes on African Marantaceae I. Kew Bulletin 5(2): 157–163.
• Missouri Botanical Garden, undated. VAST (VAScular Tropicos) nomenclatural database. [Internet] W3T/Search/ vast.html. Accessed June 2010.
• Neuwinger, H.D., 2000. African traditional medicine: a dictionary of plant use and applications. Medpharm Scientific, Stuttgart, Germany. 589 pp.
• Pischtschan, E., Ley, A.C. & Claβen-Bockhoff, R., 2010. Ontogenetic and phylogenetic diversification of the hooded staminode in Marantaceae. Taxon 59(4): 1111–1125.
• Raponda-Walker, A. & Sillans, R., 1961. Les plantes utiles du Gabon. Paul Lechevalier, Paris, France. 614 pp.
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., 2011. Hypselodelphys violacea (Ridl.) Milne-Redh. In: Brink, M. & Achigan-Dako, E.G. (Editors). Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes à fibres. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.
Distribution Map wild