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Marantochloa purpurea (Ridl.) Milne-Redh.

Protologue
Bull. Soc. Roy. Bot. Belg. 83: 21 (1950).
Family
Marantaceae
Vernacular names
Yoruba soft cane (En). Canne molle (Fr).
Origin and geographic distribution
Marantochloa purpurea is distributed from Guinea and Sierra Leone eastward to Ethiopia and southward to Angola.
Uses
The stems are widely used for plaiting mats, baskets and traps. In Cameroon the bark is used for making cords and for weaving mats, baskets and knife sheaths, and the pith is made into brooms. In DR Congo the bark is split into narrow bands which are used for plaiting articles such as mats and traps. The leaves are often used for wrapping. In West Africa they are especially used for wrapping kola nuts to prevent desiccation and ease handling; in Cote d’Ivoire Marantochloa purpurea is known as ‘la feuille de kola’. In Central Africa they are commonly used for wrapping cassava cakes. In Cameroon the leaves are also used for thatching, as cushion under sleeping mats and for making articles such as instant containers, cups, plates, pots, funnels, fans and parasols.
In traditional medicine in Côte d’Ivoire the root pulp is used as a dressing on abscesses, ulcers and glandular swellings to relieve pain and to promote cicatrization. The leaf sap is drunk against epilepsy and madness, and a leaf decoction for the treatment of stomach disorders. For the treatment of bronchitis and cough the pulverized seeds are steeped in palm wine and the liquid is drunk or made into pellets and eaten. In DR Congo the powdered root or crumpled leaves are applied on the bites of centipedes.
Production and international trade
The leaves are sold in local markets, e.g. in the Central African Republic.
Properties
In DR Congo the leaves are said to be apt to tear and become fragile as they dry, and therefore they are used less often than those of Ataenidia conferta (Benth.) Milne-Redh. Tests for the presence of alkaloids, flavonoids, saponins, quinones, tannins and terpenes all gave negative results.
Adulterations and substitutes
The stems and leaves of various other Marantaceae, particularly those of Ataenidia conferta, are used for similar purposes.
Description
Perennial, erect or scrambling herb up to 5 m tall, with rhizome; stems much branched. Leaves alternate, homotropic (broader side of blade always to the right); petiole sheathing at the base, sheathing part up to 42 cm long, uncalloused part of petiole up to 38 cm long, apical calloused part up to 6 cm long, the uncalloused and calloused parts of the petiole not separated by a joint; transition of the petiole into the midvein marked by a beak on the upper surface, but continuous on the under surface; blade more or less ovate, strongly asymmetric, up to 50 cm × 21 cm but often much smaller, base rounded, apex acuminate, with the acumen usually to the right of the midvein as seen from above, glabrous, sometimes pruinose or purplish below. Inflorescence lax, up to 45 cm long, branched, each branch with c. 4 nodes, with at each node an abaxial bract 2.5–4 cm long enveloping 2 cymules, rachis and bracts pink; cymule 2-flowered, backed by an adaxial bract, peduncle 3–3.5 cm long. Flowers bisexual, zygomorphic, c. 18 mm long, pink to purple; pedicel up to 10 mm long; bracteole absent; sepals free, equal; corolla tubular below, with 3 lobes; staminodes and stamen in 2 cycles, at the base forming a tube fused to the corolla tube, outer cycle white, consisting of 2 petaloid staminodes, inner cycle yellow, consisting of 1 stamen and 2 staminodes, of which 1 hooded with a cushion-like appendage; ovary inferior, short-hairy, 3-locular. Fruit a subglobose capsule c. 8 mm in diameter, 3-lobed, with conspicuous sutures, smooth or slightly hairy, bright red, with persistent withered perianth, not fleshy within, 3-seeded. Seeds shaped like a one-third segment of a sphere, 5–6 mm long, smooth, brown, with a small, whitish aril.
Other botanical information
Marantochloa comprises c. 15 species, distributed in the more humid parts of tropical Africa. It is closely related to Ataenidia.
Growth and development
In Benin flowering has been recorded in March and May, and fruiting in February, March, May and August. The flowers are pollinated by bees.
Ecology
Marantochloa purpurea occurs at 200–1500 m altitude in moist locations in primary and secondary forest, including gallery forest, swamp forest, seasonally flooded forest, sometimes on roadsides in moist forest
Management
Marantochloa purpurea is usually collected from the wild. In Guinea it is sometimes preserved and transplanted into gallery forest and near swamps for its usefulness in basket-making.
Harvesting
In Central Africa the leaves are harvested from the forest and brought fresh to the market on a daily basis.
Genetic resources
In view of its wide distribution and occurrence in a range of habitats, Marantochloa purpurea is unlikely to be threatened with genetic erosion.
Prospects
The stems of Marantochloa purpurea are widely used for plaiting and tying, and the leaves for wrapping and thatching. The plant is locally preserved and planted, and leaves are commonly sold on local markets. Therefore, research on propagation and management practices for further domestication seems worthwhile.
Major references
• Dhetchuvi, M.M., 1996. The genus Marantochloa (Marantaceae) in Africa. Bulletin du Jardin Botanique National de Belgique 65(3–4): 369–398.
• Fairhead, J. & Leach, M., 1996. Misreading the African landscape: society and ecology in a forest–savanna mosaic. African Studies Series No 90. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom. 354 pp.
• Hattori, S., 2006. Utilization of Marantaceae plants by the Baka hunter-gatherers in southeastern Cameroon. African Study Monographs, Supplement 33: 29–48.
• Hawthorne, W. & Jongkind, C., 2006. Woody plants of western African forests: a guide to the forest trees, shrubs and lianes from Senegal to Ghana. Kew Publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom. 1023 pp.
• Koechlin, J., 1965. Marantaceae. Flore du Cameroun. Volume 4. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. pp. 99–157.
• Lye, K.A., 1994. The family Marantaceae in Ethiopia. Lidia 3(4): 123–130.
• Lye, K.A. & Friis, I., 1997. Marantaceae. In: Edwards, S., Mesfin Tadesse, Demissew Sebsebe & Hedberg, I. (Editors). Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Volume 6. Hydrocharitaceae to Arecaceae. The National Herbarium, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Department of Systematic Botany, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden. pp. 335–338.
• Milne-Redhead, E., 1952. Marantaceae. In: Turrill, W.B. & Milne-Redhead, E. (Editors). Flora of Tropical East Africa. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. 11 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.
• Andersson, L. & Chase, M.W., 2001. Phylogeny and classification of Marantaceae. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 135(3): 275–287.
• Bouquet, A. & Debray, M., 1974. Plantes médicinales de la Côte d’Ivoire. Travaux et Documents No 32. ORSTOM, Paris, France. 231 pp.
• d’Orey, J.D.S., 1981. Marantacae colhidas por John Gossweiler em Angola existentes em LISJC. Garcia de Orta, Série de Botânica 5(1): 47–57.
• Hepper, F.N., 1968. Marantaceae. In: Hepper, F.N. (Editor). Flora of West Tropical Africa. Volume 3, part 1. 2nd Edition. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. pp. 79–89.
• Letouzey, R., 1982. Manuel de botanique forestière - Afrique tropicale. Tome 2A: Familles (première partie). Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Nogent sur Marne, France. 210 pp.
• Ley, A.C. & Claβen-Bockhoff, R., 2009. Pollination syndromes in African Marantaceae. Annals of Botany 104: 41–56.
• Neuwinger, H.D., 2000. African traditional medicine: a dictionary of plant use and applications. Medpharm Scientific, Stuttgart, Germany. 589 pp.
• Pischtschan, E., Ley, A.C. & Claβen-Bockhoff, R., 2010. Ontogenetic and phylogenetic diversification of the hooded staminode in Marantaceae. Taxon 59(4): 1111–1125.
• Prince, L.M. & Kress, J., 2006a. Phylogenetic relationships and classification in Marantaceae: insights from plastid DNA sequence data. Taxon 55(2): 281–296.
• Sunderland, T.C.H. & Obama, C., 1999. A preliminary market survey of the non-wood forest products of Equatorial Guinea. In: Sunderland, T.C.H., Clark, L.E. & Vantomme, P. (Editors). Non-wood forest products of Central Africa: current research issues and prospects for conservation and development. FAO, Rome, Italy. pp. 211–220.
• Tanno, T., 1981. Plant utilization of the Mbuti Pygmies - with special reference to their material culture and use of wild vegetable foods. African Study Monographs 1: 1–53.
• Terashima, H. & Ichikawa, M., 2003. A comparative ethnobotany of the Mbuti and Efe hunter-gatherers in the Ituri forest, Democratic Republic of Congo. African Study Monographs 24(1–2): 1–168.
• Terashima, H., Kalala, S. & Malasi, N., 1991. Ethnobotany of the Lega in the tropical rain forest of eastern Zaire: part one, zone de Mwenga. African Study Monographs, Supplement 15: 1–61.
• Visser, L.E., 1975. Plantes médicinales de la Côte d’Ivoire. Mededelingen Landbouwhogeschool Wageningen 75–15, Wageningen, Netherlands. 79 pp.
Sources of illustration
• Koechlin, J., 1964. Marantacées. Flore du Gabon. Volume 9. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. pp. 91–158.
• Lye, K.A., 1994. The family Marantaceae in Ethiopia. Lidia 3(4): 123–130.
• Lye, K.A. & Friis, I., 1997. Marantaceae. In: Edwards, S., Mesfin Tadesse, Demissew Sebsebe & Hedberg, I. (Editors). Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Volume 6. Hydrocharitaceae to Arecaceae. The National Herbarium, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Department of Systematic Botany, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden. pp. 335–338.
• Milne-Redhead, E., 1952. Marantaceae. In: Turrill, W.B. & Milne-Redhead, E. (Editors). Flora of Tropical East Africa. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. 11 pp.
Author(s)
R.B. Jiofack Tafokou
Ecologic Museum of Cameroon, P.O. Box 8038, Yaoundé, Cameroon


Editors
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

Correct citation of this article:
Jiofack Tafokou, R.B., 2011. Marantochloa purpurea (Ridl.) Milne-Redh. In: Brink, M. & Achigan-Dako, E.G. (Editors). Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes à fibres. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.
Distribution Map wild


1, leaf and inflorescence; 2, flower; 3, infructescence.
Source: Flore analytique du Bénin