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Lepistemon owariense (P.Beauv.) Hallier f.

Ann. Mus. Congo, Bot., sér. 4: 112 (1903).
Ipomoea owariensis P.Beauv. (1816), Lepistemon africanum Oliv. (1878).
Origin and geographic distribution
Lepistemon owariense is widely distributed in tropical Africa, where it occurs in all regions.
In south-eastern Ghana the leaves of Lepistemon owariense are collected from the wild and eaten as a cooked vegetable.
Climbing perennial herb with stem up to 3 m long, covered with appressed yellow-brown bristly hairs. Leaves alternate, simple; stipules absent; petiole up to 15 cm long, hairy; blade cordate-ovate, up to 16 cm × 16 cm, base deeply cordate, apex acute to emarginate, margin entire, shallowly lobed or coarsely dentate, pilose on both surfaces. Inflorescence an axillary, dense, sessile or shortly peduncled, many-flowered cyme. Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous; pedicel up to 2.5 cm long; sepals ovate to elliptical, c. 6 mm × 3.5 mm, usually hairy; corolla urceolate, up to 1.8 cm long, white, constricted at apex of tube, limb shortly lobed, up to 3 cm in diameter; stamens inserted at base of corolla tube, with basal part of filaments dilated into large concave scales arching over the ovary; ovary superior, glabrous to hairy, 2-celled, style very short, stigma 2-lobed. Fruit an ovoid-globose, leathery capsule c. 1.5 cm × 1.2 cm, covered with long yellow bristle-like hairs, indehiscent or bursting irregularly, 4-seeded. Seeds subglobose, c. 5 mm in diameter, grey-black, glabrous, shallowly pitted.
Lepistemon comprises about 10 species and is confined to the Old World tropics, with 2 species in Africa.
Lepistemon owariense occurs in lowland rainforest, riverine forest, thickets, savanna woodland, wasteland and as a weed in cultivated fields, from sea-level up to 1400 m altitude.
Genetic resources and breeding
Lepistemon owariense is widespread and not in danger of genetic erosion.
Lepistemon owariense will remain a minor vegetable of local use only. Its nutritional composition needs investigation.
Major references
• Burkill, H.M., 1985. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 1, Families A–D. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom. 960 pp.
• Gonçalves, M.L., 1987. Convolvulaceae. In: Launert, E. (Editor). Flora Zambesiaca. Volume 8, part 1. Flora Zambesiaca Managing Committee, London, United Kingdom. pp. 9–129.
Other references
• Verdcourt, B., 1963. Convolvulaceae. In: Hubbard, C.E. & Milne-Redhead, E. (Editors). Flora of Tropical East Africa. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. 161 pp.
P.C.M. Jansen
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

G.J.H. Grubben
Prins Hendriklaan 24, 1401 AT Bussum, Netherlands
O.A. Denton
National Horticultural Research Institute, P.M.B. 5432, Idi-Ishin, Ibadan, Nigeria
Associate Editors
C.-M. Messiaen
Bat. B 3, Résidence La Guirlande, 75, rue de Fontcarrade, 34070 Montpellier, France
R.R. Schippers
De Boeier 7, 3742 GD Baarn, 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:
Jansen, P.C.M., 2004. Lepistemon owariense (P.Beauv.) Hallier f. In: Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (Editors). PROTA 2: Vegetables/Légumes. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.