Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1
Prodr. 14(2): 635 (1857).
Origin and geographic distribution
Osyridicarpos schimperianus is distributed from Eritrea south to South Africa.
The Samburu people of northern Kenya drink a root decoction to cure malaria. To reduce excessive swelling of the breasts the roots are soaked in water, which is then drunk. In South Africa leaves and stems are traded by traditional medicine sellers, but the use appears to be undocumented.
Hemiparasitic shrub, scrambling up to 5 m high, straggling; branches ribbed, glabrous to coarse-hairy. Leaves alternate, simple and entire; stipules absent; petiole 1–4 mm long; blade elliptical, 0.5–5 cm × 2.5–15 mm, base cuneate, apex acute, dark green, 3-veined at base. Inflorescence a terminal panicle or raceme 3–30 cm long, 10–30-flowered; bracts leaf-like. Flowers bisexual, 5-merous, regular, sessile; perianth white, pale yellow or greenish, ribbed, tube cylindrical, 3–7 mm long, lobes spreading, ovate, acute; stamens free, with filament up to 1.5 mm long and anthers up to 1 mm long; ovary superior, 5-ribbed, style up to 8 mm long, stigma 2–5-lobed. Fruit a globose drupe up to 6 mm in diameter, crowned with persistent perianth, turning creamy-white, 1-seeded.
Osyridicarpos comprises a single species. Recently, phylogenetic research has confirmed a close relationship between Osyridicarpos and Thesium.
Osyridicarpos schimperianus occurs mainly in upland dry, evergreen forest and bushland, at 900–2400 m altitude, and less often in more humid forests, along rivers and in deciduous woodland.
Harvesting of Osyridicarpos schimperianus is exclusively from the wild.
Genetic resources and breeding
Osyridicarpos schimperianus is fairly widespread; it is not uncommon, not heavily utilized and thus not likely to be threatened by genetic erosion.
Research on the ethnobotany and properties of Osyridicarpos schimperianus is still needed to be able to assess its potential as a medicinal plant.
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Correct citation of this article:
Bosch, C.H., 2007. Osyridicarpos schimperianus (Hochst. ex A.Rich.) A.DC. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.
obtained from B. Wursten
obtained from B. Wursten