PROTA homepage Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes à fibres
Record display

Loeseneriella apocynoides (Welw. ex Oliv.) N.Hallé ex J.Raynal

Fl. Médec. tradit. Rwanda: 119 (1979).
Celastraceae (Hippocrateaceae)
Hippocratea apocynoides Welw. ex Oliv. (1868), Hippocratea guineensis Hutch. & M.B.Moss (1928).
Origin and geographic distribution
Loeseneriella apocynoides is distributed from Guinea eastward to Uganda and Tanzania and southward to Angola, Zambia and Mozambique.
The woody stems are widely used for tying. In Nigeria, for instance, they are a preferred tying material in house construction because of their resistance to termites. Around the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda the stems are in high demand especially for making woven stretchers to transport patients to hospitals, for making carrying and tea-picking baskets and woven pot covers, and for the construction of granaries.
The stems are long, flexible, very strong, lightweight and durable, being resistant to fungi and wood-boring insects. In Uganda stretchers made from Loeseneriella apocynoides last 3–5 years.
Liana usually 10–30 m long, sometimes longer; stem grooved; young branches rusty hairy. Leaves opposite, simple; stipules reduced, hairy; petiole 3–9 mm long, hairy; blade elliptical to oblong or ovate, (2.5–)4–15(–17) cm × 1.5–7(–8.5) cm, rounded to cordate or cuneate at base, obtuse or acuminate at apex, margin entire or rarely toothed, greyish green above, brownish beneath, hairy beneath when young, especially on the veins, with 5–10 pairs of secondary veins. Inflorescence an axillary, simple or compound, dichasial cyme 1.5–9 cm long, sometimes a terminal panicle, axes and bracts rusty hairy, several–many-flowered. Flowers bisexual, regular, 3–8 mm in diameter, greenish, greyish or yellowish, sometimes slightly reddish; pedicel 0.5–3 mm long, rusty hairy; sepals 5, subequal, deltoid, 0.5–1.5 mm long, hairy; petals 5, valvate, deltoid, ovate or narrowly triangular, 1.5–5.5 mm × 0.5–2 mm, hairy; stamens 3; ovary 3-celled, style c. 0.5 mm long. Fruit of 3 dehiscent, flat, elliptical mericarps, each mericarp 4–7 cm × 2–4 cm and 4–6-seeded, reddish brown, glabrous. Seeds 3–4.5 cm × 1–1.5 cm, with a wing with marginal and median vein. Seedling with hypogeal germination.
The Old World genus Loeseneriella comprises about 16 species. Within Loeseneriella apocynoides 2 varieties are recognized.
Growth of Loeseneriella apocynoides is slow. In Uganda it takes an estimated 10–20 years before stems with a diameter of 3–4 cm have formed. After chopping, the remaining part sprouts readily. In Ghana, Benin and Nigeria flowering is in July–November.
Loeseneriella apocynoides occurs at 300–2135 m altitude in damp forest, swamp or temporarily inundated forest, riverine forest, secondary thickets, open gaps in secondary deciduous forest, abandoned fields, and occasionally in forests on slopes or rocky outcrops.
Stems are collected exclusively from the wild. Stems 2–4 cm in diameter are cut at about 30 cm above the ground. After being cut into pieces of a suitable length, they are wound and split into strips that can be used for weaving. Sometimes the stems are stored whole, and when weaving material is needed they are soaked in water for about 7 days, after which they are split. Dried stems can be stored for up to 10 years.
Genetic resources and breeding
The factors length, strength and durability make Loeseneriella apocynoides the most popular species for weaving around the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. As a result the species is seriously overexploited, and even in a protected area like the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park plants stems with a usable diameter have become scarce.
Loeseneriella apocynoides is locally overexploited. To make exploitation of this species more sustainable, it may be worthwhile to investigate the possibilities for its cultivation.
Major references
• Burkill, H.M., 1985. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 1, Families A–D. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 960 pp.
• Hallé, N., 1990. Celastraceae (Hippocrateoideae). Flore du Cameroun. Volume 32. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. 247 pp.
• Muhwezi, O., Cunningham, A.B. & Bukenya-Ziraba, R., 2009. Lianas and livelihoods: the role of fibrous forest plants in food security and society around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda. Economic Botany 63(4): 340–352.
• Ndangalasi, H.J., Bitariho, R. & Dovie, D.B.K., 2007. Harvesting of non-timber forest products and implications for conservation in two montane forests of East Africa. Biological Conservation 134(2): 242–250.
• Robson, N.K.B., Hallé, N., Mathew, B. & Blakelock, R., 1994. Celastraceae. In: Polhill, R.M. (Editor). Flora of Tropical East Africa. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, Netherlands. 78 pp.
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.
• 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.
• Bitariho, R.; McNeilage, A., Babaasa, D. & Kasangaki, A., 2002. Harvest impacts of plants from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda, by local communities. [Internet] Abstracts of the 16th Annual Meeting of the Society for Conservation Biology, Canterbury, United Kingdom. Activities/Meetings/2002/abstracts/Tuesday/ sruone.cfm. Accessed September 2010.
• Cunningham, A.B., 1996. People, park and plant use: recommendations for multiple-use zones and development alternatives around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda. UNESCO People and Plants Working Paper 4, Paris, France. 58 pp.
• da Silva, M.C., Izidine, S. & Amude, A.B., 2004. A preliminary checklist of the vascular plants of Mozambique. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No 30. SABONET, Pretoria, South Africa. 183 pp.
• Hallé, N., 1962. Monographie des Hippocratéacées d'Afrique occidentale. Mémoires de l' Institut Francais d'Afrique Noire 64: 1–245.
• Irvine, F.R., 1961. Woody plants of Ghana, with special reference to their uses. Oxford University Press, London, United Kingdom. 868 pp.
• Keay, R.W.J. & Blakelock, R.A., 1958. Celastraceae. 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. 623–634.
• Robson, N.K.B., 1966. Celastraceae (incl. Hippocrateaceae). In: Exell, A.W., Fernandes, A. & Wild, H. (Editors). Flora Zambesiaca. Volume 2, part 2. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. pp. 355–418.
• Wilczek, R., 1960. Hippocrateaceae. 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 9. Institut National pour l’Étude Agronomique du Congo belge, Brussels, Belgium. pp. 133–232.
M. Brink
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
C.H. Bosch
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
Photo editor
G.H. Schmelzer
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article:
Brink, M. & Bosch, C.H., 2011. Loeseneriella apocynoides (Welw. ex Oliv.) N.Hallé ex J.Raynal. In: Brink, M. & Achigan-Dako, E.G. (Editors). Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes à fibres. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.
Distribution Map wild

wood in transverse section

wood in tangential section