Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1
Journ. Bot. 73, Suppl. Polypet.: 10 (1935).
Jateorhiza strigosa Miers (1849).
Origin and geographic distribution
Jateorhiza macrantha occurs from south-western Nigeria and Bioko (Equatorial Guinea) east to eastern DR Congo and south to Cabinda (Angola).
The Edo people of south-eastern Nigeria apply leaf sap, mixed with other medicines, to stop bleeding during pregnancy. In western Cameroon the bark, together with that of Kigelia africana (Lam.) Benth., is used against snakebites, whereas hairs from the stem are applied as a dressing on ulcers. In DR Congo leaf sap is dropped into the ears, nose or eyes against headache. The succulent roots are eaten in times of famine. The Efe people of DR Congo tie the leaves to the cut end of the raffia palm to increase the flow of sap for palm wine. They also eat the sweet fruit, and girls tie the twining stem around the limbs when dancing.
The roots contain the diterpenes columbin, chasmanthin and palmarin, and the alkaloids columbamine, jatrorrhizine and palmatine.
Dioecious, strongly hairy liana with tuberous roots. Leaves alternate; stipules absent; petiole 12–20 cm long, robust, appressed hairy; blade broadly rounded in outline, palmately 3– 5-lobed, 20–25 cm × 20–26 cm, base rounded or cordate, lobes triangular, acuminate at apex, thin, appressed hairy on both surfaces, palmately veined with 5–7 main veins. Male inflorescence an axillary panicle, several together, up to 25 cm long, branches 3–4 cm long, bearing clusters of 3–7 flowers; female inflorescence an axillary raceme up to 25 cm long. Flowers unisexual; sepals 6, 3 outer ones oblong to elliptical, c. 4 mm × 2 mm, 3 inner ones obovate, c. 2.5 mm wide, greenish or whitish; petals 6, c. 2.5 mm long, somewhat concave, abruptly bent inwards at apex, margins incurved; male flowers sessile, with 6 free stamens c. 2.5 mm long, filaments joined to the top; female flowers with pedicel 3–5 mm long, with 6 tongue-shaped staminodes 1.5–2 mm long, ovary superior, consisting of 3 free ovoid carpels 2.5–3 mm long, styles short, recurved, stigma broad. Fruit composed of up to 3 ovoid drupelets 2–3 cm × c. 2 cm, yellowish ochre to orange-red, covered with stiff long brown hairs, pulp slimy, creamy-white, stone kidney-shaped, hard, 1-seeded. Seed 1.5–2 cm long, with fleshy, ruminate endosperm.
During flowering Jateorhiza macrantha loses its leaves.
Jateorhiza comprises 2 species, both in tropical Africa. It was formerly considered a section of Chasmanthera.
Jateorhiza macrantha occurs in dense and humid evergreen or semi-evergreen forest at low to medium altitudes.
Jateorhiza macrantha is collected from the wild, but in Cameroon it is also retained as a medicinal plant on cocoa farms.
Genetic resources and breeding
Jateorhiza macrantha is fairly widely distributed and there are no signs that it is in danger of genetic erosion where forest remains.
Too little is known about the pharmacological properties of Jateorhiza macrantha to assess its potential, but its medicinal uses warrant initial screening.
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Correct citation of this article:
Oyen, L.P.A., 2008. Jateorhiza macrantha (Hook.f.) Exell & Mendonça. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.