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Jatropha chevalieri Beille

Protologue
Bull. Soc. Bot. France 55, Mém. 8: 83 (1908).
Family
Euphorbiaceae
Origin and geographic distribution
Jatropha chevalieri occurs in Mauritania, Senegal, Mali and Niger.
Uses
In Senegal the leaves and latex are considered haemostatic, and are applied directly on wounds to stop bleeding. The latex is also locally applied to mumps. The root extract is taken for treating complications of syphilis and leprosy. In Niger the oil from the grilled seeds is applied to boils and abscesses. Powdered seed mixed with lizard fat, is massaged onto the skin to treat spleen pain. The leaves are used to apply henna to the skin.
Properties
The latex of Jatropha chevalieri contains the cyclic oligopeptides chevalierin A, B, and C. Chevalierin A showed weak activity against Plasmodium falciparum. Jatropha chevalieri is toxic to herbivores.
Botany
Deciduous, somewhat succulent, monoecious shrub up to 1 m tall; branches longitudinally striate, glabrous. Leaves alternate; stipules divided into filiform segments; petiole 3–7 cm long, glabrous; blade broadly ovate in outline, 5-lobed to the middle, 6–12 cm long, base deeply cordate, lobes ovate, sharply sinuately 5–8-toothed, papery, glabrous. Inflorescence a terminal corymb, with a solitary female flower terminating each major axis and male flowers in lateral cymules; peduncle up to 3 cm long, glabrous; bracts lanceolate, apex acuminate, with gland-tipped teeth. Flowers unisexual, regular, 5-merous; pedicel short; sepals fused at base, 2–3 mm long; petals slightly longer than the sepals, apex rounded, greenish yellow; disk fleshy; male flowers with 8 stamens, filaments partially fused; female flowers with superior ovary, 3-celled, styles 3, fused at base, stigma 2-lobed. Fruit a somewhat fleshy to dry capsule, broadly ellipsoid, up to 1.5 cm long, shallowly 3-lobed, dehiscent into 2-valved cocci, usually 3-seeded. Seeds oblong-ellipsoid, up to 1 cm long, smooth, caruncle large, 5–6-partite.
Jatropha comprises about 170 species, mainly in warm temperate regions and seasonally dry tropics. Africa counts 70 native species and Madagascar has 1 endemic. Another West African species with medicinal uses is Jatropha kamerunica Pax & K.Hoffm. from Senegal, Mali and Cameroon. In Senegal the seeds are taken as a strong purgative.
Ecology
Jatropha chevalieri occurs mainly on sandy soils, e.g. sand dunes. In the dry zone of Mauritania it occurs in wadis, in the Sahel zone in savanna and shrub vegetation.
Genetic resources and breeding
Jatropha chevalieri is not very common, but is probably not in danger of genetic erosion.
Prospects
Jatropha chevalieri has not been subjected to extensive chemical or pharmacological research, despite its interesting local uses. The latex contains cyclic peptides, compounds which show a large spectrum of biological activity and are sought after as promising lead compounds for drug discovery.
Major references
• Baraguey, C., Auvin-Guette, C., Blond, A., Cavelier, F., Lezenven, F., Pousset, J-L. & Bodo, B., 1998. Isolation, structure and synthesis of chevalierines A, B, and C, cyclic peptides from the latex of Jatropha chevalieri. Journal of the Chemical Society, Perkin Transactions I: Organic and Bio-Organic Chemistry 18: 3033–3039.
• Berhaut, J., 1975. Flore illustrée du Sénégal. Dicotylédones. Volume 3. Connaracées à Euphorbiacées. Gouvernement du Sénégal, Ministère du Développement Rural et de l’Hydraulique, Direction des Eaux et Forêts, Dakar, Senegal. 634 pp.
• Brown, N.E., Hutchinson, J. & Prain, D., 1909–1913. Euphorbiaceae. In: Thiselton-Dyer, W.T. (Editor). Flora of tropical Africa. Volume 6(1). Lovell Reeve & Co., London, United Kingdom. pp. 441–1020.
• Burkill, H.M., 1994. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 2, Families E–I. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 636 pp.
Other references
• Adam, J.G., Echard, N. & Lescot, M., 1972. Plantes médicinales Hausa de l’Ader. Journal d’Agriculture Tropicale et de Botanique Appliquée 19(8–9): 259–399.
• Keay, R.W.J., 1958. Euphorbiaceae. In: Keay, R.W.J. (Editor). Flora of West Tropical Africa. Volume 1, part 2. 2nd Edition. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. pp. 364–423.
• Kerharo, J., 1971. Recherches ethnopharmacognosiques sur les plantes médicinales et toxiques de la pharmacopée sénégalaise traditionnelle. Thèse de doctorat d’état, Faculté de Pharmacie, Bordeaux, France. 285 pp.
• Taleb, N.O., 2000. Ressources Forestières en Mauritanie. EC/FAO ACP Collecte de données - Rapport Technique AFDCA/TR/12 FAO, Rome, Italy. 43 pp.
Author(s)
G.H. Schmelzer
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands


Editors
G.H. Schmelzer
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
A. Gurib-Fakim
Faculty of Science, University of Mauritius, Réduit, Mauritius
Associate editors
C.H. Bosch
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
M.S.J. Simmonds
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AB, United Kingdom
R. Arroo
Leicester School of Pharmacy, Natural Products Research, De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester LE1 9BH, United Kingdom
A. de Ruijter
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
General editors
R.H.M.J. Lemmens
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
L.P.A. Oyen
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article:
Schmelzer, G.H., 2007. Jatropha chevalieri Beille. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.