Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1
Kew Bull. 52: 174 (1997).
Euphorbiaceae (APG: Phyllanthaceae)
Zimmermannia capillipes Pax (1910).
Origin and geographic distribution
Meineckia paxii is endemic to the Usambara mountains in north-eastern Tanzania.
A root decoction is drunk as an anthelmintic and to treat stomach-ache. The wood is white and rather soft and is used as firewood.
Meineckia paxii is suitable as a shade tree and ornamental.
Monoecious or sometimes dioecious, glabrous, evergreen shrub to much-branched, small tree up to 7.5 m tall; twigs pale grey to grey-green. Leaves alternate, simple and entire; stipules broadly ovate, (3–)5–6 mm long, acuminate, soon falling to fairly persistent; petiole up to 12(–17) mm long, grooved above; blade elliptical to elliptical-oblong, 6–18 cm × 3–7.5 cm, base cuneate to rounded, apex acute to acuminate, pinnately veined with 8–10 pairs of lateral veins. Inflorescence an axillary 2–many-flowered fascicle when male, female flowers solitary. Flowers unisexual, 5-merous, regular; sepals obovate to obovate-oblong, 4–6 mm × 2–5 mm, rounded, pale green with dark green veins, petals absent, disk annular to slightly lobed, 3–5 mm in diameter, yellow; male flowers with slender pedicel 4–8 mm long, stamens 5, free, 2.5–3.5 mm long; female flowers with pedicel 2–4 cm long, extending in fruit to 5.5 cm, ovary superior, rounded, up to 2 mm long, 3-celled, styles 3, fused at base, 1.5–2 mm long, spreading-recurved, apex slightly broadened. Fruit a slightly 3-lobed capsule c. 1 cm × 1.5 cm, smooth, pale green, up to 6-seeded.
Meineckia comprises about 30 species and occurs in tropical America, Africa and Asia.
Meineckia paxii occurs in moist evergreen submontane forest, at (200–)900–1100 m altitude.
Genetic resources and breeding
Meineckia paxii is uncommon in its small area of distribution and included in the IUCN Red List as vulnerable.
Nothing is known concerning the chemistry and pharmacology of Meineckia paxii, and as the species has a small distribution area, it will remain of local importance only.
• Kokwaro, J.O., 1993. Medicinal plants of East Africa. 2nd Edition. Kenya Literature Bureau, Nairobi, Kenya. 401 pp.
• Lovett, J.C., Ruffo, C.K., Gereau, R.E. & Taplin, J.R.D., 2006. Field guide to the moist forest trees of Tanzania. [Internet] Centre for Ecology Law and Policy, Environment Department, University of York, York, United Kingdom. http://www.york.ac.uk/ res/celp/webpages/projects/ecology/ tree%20guide/guide.htm. Accessed January 2007.
• Radcliffe-Smith, A., 1987. Euphorbiaceae (part 1). In: Polhill, R.M. (Editor). Flora of Tropical East Africa. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, Netherlands. 407 pp.
• Lovett, J. & Clarke, G.P., 1998. Zimmermannia capillipes. [Internet] In: IUCN. 2006 Red list of threatened species. http://www.iucnredlist.org. Accessed January 2007.
Correct citation of this article:
Schmelzer, G.H., 2008. Meineckia paxii Brunel ex Radcl.-Sm. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.