Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1
Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 26: 410 (1899).
Origin and geographic distribution
Kolobopetalum auriculatum occurs in the coastal areas along the Gulf of Guinea, from Côte d’Ivoire to DR Congo and Cabinda (Angola).
An infusion of the leaves and seeds is taken against sleeplessness, and an infusion of the leaves and twigs is used as a mouthwash against oral infections including aphthae.
The plant contains O-methyl-flavinanthine, which has a morphine-like structure and a narcotic-analgesic action of about 20% of the strength of morphine. From the leaves and stem the aporphine alkaloids N-methylcorydine and magnoflorine have been isolated.
Dioecious slender liana; stems with numerous aerial roots. Leaves alternate, simple; stipules absent; petiole 2–9 cm long, bent at the base and sometimes twisted; blade elliptical to ovate, 5–15 cm × 3.5–9 cm, base cordate, sometimes slightly peltate, apex long-acuminate, margins slightly toothed, thinly leathery, glabrous and shiny above, pinnately veined with 3–4 pairs of lateral veins. Inflorescence an axillary panicle 40–60 cm long, branches up to 20 cm long; bracts lanceolate, c. 1 mm long; female inflorescence raceme-like. Flowers unisexual, small; pedicel 2–3.5 mm long; sepals 6, in 2 whorls, 3 outer ones broadly ovate, c. 0.5 mm long, yellowish white, 3 inner ones ovate-oblong, c. 2 mm × 1 mm, yellow to pale pink, membranous; petals 6, 1–1.5 mm long, bent inwards at base; male flowers with (3–)6 stamens, filaments slender or swollen or partly fused, anthers globular; female flowers with 3 small, linear staminodes, ovary superior, composed of 3 free carpels, styles short, stigma 3-lobed. Fruit composed of 1–3 ellipsoid drupes 1–1.5 cm × 0.5–1 cm, apex covered with the remainder of the style, glabrous, stone hard and brittle, densely spiny outside, 1-seeded. Seed kidney-shaped, 3–8 mm × 2 mm.
Kolobopetalum comprises 4 species, all from the forest area of Africa. Kolobopetalum chevalieri (Hutch. & Dalziel) Troupin, from West and Central Africa, is also used medicinally. In Congo the plant sap is applied to scarifications on the arms of a dying patient as a last effort of revival. In DR Congo a leaf infusion is taken to treat psychosis and to treat intercostal pain. Leaf sap is applied as eye drops to treat eye infections in dogs. The supple stems are used as rope.
Kolobopetalum auriculatum occurs in rainforest and forest regrowth, up to 400 m altitude.
Genetic resources and breeding
As Kolobopetalum auriculatum also occurs in secondary vegetation and the area of distribution is large, there are no signs of genetic erosion.
Too little is known about the chemical and pharmacological properties to assess the potential of Kolobopetalum auriculatum.
• 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.
• Oliver-Bever, B., 1983. Medicinal plants in tropical West Africa 3. Anti-infection therapy with higher plants. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 9: 1–83.
• Troupin, G., 1951. Menispermaceae. In: Robyns, W., Staner, P., Demaret, F., Germain, R., Gilbert, G., Hauman, L., Homès, M., Jurion, F., Lebrun, J., Vanden Abeele, M. & Boutique, R. (Editors). Flore du Congo belge et du Ruanda-Urundi. Spermatophytes. Volume 2. Institut National pour l’Étude Agronomique du Congo belge, Brussels, Belgium. pp. 202–255.
• Baerts, M. & Lehmann, J., 2006. Kolobopetalum chevalieri. [Internet]. Prelude Medicinal Plants Database. Metafro-Infosys, Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren, Belgium http://www.metafro.be/prelude. Accessed February 2008.
• Dwuma-Badu, D., Ayim, J.S.K., Rexford, O., Ateya, A.M., Slatkin, D.J., Knapp, J.E. & Schiff, P.L.jr., 1980. Constituents of West African medicinal plants. Part 26. Alkaloids of Kolobopetalum auriculatum. Phytochemistry 19(7): 1564–1565.
• Osei, R.D., 1977. Isolation, characterization and chemical studies of alkaloids of Kolobopetalum auriculatum. MSc (Pharmaceutical Chemistry) degree thesis. Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana. 128 pp.
Correct citation of this article:
Oyen, L.P.A., 2008. Kolobopetalum auriculatum Engl. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.