Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1
Prodr. 8: 423 (1844).
Origin and geographic distribution
Motandra guineensis is widespread in Africa, occurring from Sierra Leone and Mali east to Sudan and Uganda, and south to Angola.
In Côte d’Ivoire leaf sap of Motandra guineensis is applied to the eyes to treat eye infections, as a mouthwash or massage to the gums to treat toothache or instilled in the nose in case of fainting, headache or to calm insanity. The initial response is irritation of the mucous membranes, followed by sedation. Bark sap is used as an enema to calm stomach-ache in women that have just given birth. In Sierra Leone the hollow stem is cut into short lengths, which are threaded as beads.
An ethanol extract of Motandra guineensis leaves was tested in vitro for antibacterial and antifungal activities, but did not show a significant effect.
Climbing shrub or liana up to 40 m long, with white latex; stem up to 10 cm in diameter; bark brown, smooth, later longitudinally fissured; branches pale brown, with small orange-brown lenticels. Leaves opposite, simple and entire; stipules absent; petiole 3.5–10(–13) mm long, glabrescent or rusty brown-hairy, with stalked glands near apex; blade elliptical to oblong-obovate, 3.5–14 cm × 1.5–4.5 cm, base rounded, apex acuminate, with tufts of pale brown hairs in axils of lateral veins. Inflorescence a terminal panicle, 2.5–15.5 cm × 1.5–7(–9) cm, rusty brown hairy, but glabrescent, many-flowered. Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous, fragrant; pedicel 1–5 mm long; sepals triangular, 1–2 mm long; corolla white to greenish white, tube obconical, 2.5–4 mm long, urn-shaped at base, inside with tufts of hairs 1–2 mm from the base, lobes narrowly ovate to narrowly obovate, 2.5–7 mm long; stamens inserted at base of the corolla tube, apex of anthers with tuft of hairs; ovary half-inferior, 2-celled, style very short, pistil head with long appendages. Fruit composed of 2 spreading follicles, 4–18 cm × 1–3.5 cm, tapering to the tip, opening by longitudinal slits, dark green with dense rusty brown hairs, longitudinally winged, many-seeded. Seeds c. 18 mm × 9 mm, with tuft of hairs 30–80 mm long at apex; cotyledons broadly ovate, leafy.
Motandra comprises 3 species, which all occur in continental tropical Africa. It is related to Baissea and Oncinotis. Motandra guineensis is the most widely distributed species whereas Motandra lujaei De Wild. & T.Durand and Motandra poecilophylla Wernham are restricted to the more humid rainforest of western Central Africa. In DR Congo the bark sap of Motandra lujaei is taken to treat cough. The long stem is used for making snares and as binding material.
Motandra guineensis flowers towards the end of the dry and the beginning of the rainy season. Fruits mature during the dry season.
Motandra guineensis occurs in open or secondary deciduous forest, gallery forest and in secondary regrowth. It grows on sand, clay and rocky outcrops, from sea-level up to 1200 m altitude.
Genetic resources and breeding
Motandra guineensis is widespread, also in more or less disturbed habitats, and does not appear to be threatened.
Because of the varying medicinal uses of the leaf sap, Motandra guineensis deserves research attention.
• Bouquet, A. & Debray, M., 1974. Plantes médicinales de la Côte d’Ivoire. Travaux et Documents No 32. ORSTOM, Paris, France. 231 pp.
• 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.
• de Kruif, A.P.M., 1984. A revision of Motandra A.DC. (Apocynaceae). In: Leeuwenberg, A.J.M. (Editor). Series of revisions of Apocynaceae 11–13. Mededelingen Landbouwhogeschool Wageningen 83–7, Wageningen, Netherlands. pp. 1–20.
• Kerharo, J. & Bouquet, A., 1950. Plantes médicinales et toxiques de la Côte d’Ivoire - Haute-Volta. Vigot Frères, Paris, France. 291 pp.
• Atindehou, K.K., Koné, M., Terreaux, C., Traoré, D., Hostettmann, K. & Dosso, M., 2002. Evaluation of the antimicrobial potential of medicinal plants from the Ivory Coast. Phytotherapy Research 16(5): 497–502.
• Omino, E.A., 2002. Apocynaceae (part 1). In: Beentje, H.J. & Ghazanfar, S.A. (Editors). Flora of Tropical East Africa. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, Netherlands. 116 pp.
• 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.
Sources of illustration
• 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.
Correct citation of this article:
Boone, M.J., 2006. Motandra guineensis (Thonn.) A.DC. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.
1, flowering twig; 2, flower; 3, fruit.
Source: Flore analytique du Bénin