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Record display

Pachycarpus spurius (N.E.Br.) Bullock

Kew Bull. 1953: 338 (1953).
Asclepiadaceae (APG: Apocynaceae)
Xysmalobium spurium N.E.Br. (1895), Xysmalobium dolichoglossum K.Schum. (1900), Schizoglossum dolichoglossum (K.Schum.) N.E.Br. (1902), Schizoglossum spurium (N.E.Br.) N.E.Br. (1902).
Origin and geographic distribution
Pachycarpus spurius occurs in south-eastern DR Congo, southern Tanzania and Malawi.
The stem fibre is used for making twine and rope in Tanzania. The pounded leaves are mixed with water and drunk as a galactogogue, and the tuber is eaten by men to improve fertility.
Production and international trade
The fibre obtained from Pachycarpus spurius is only used locally.
Perennial herb with 15 annual stems 12 m long, arising from a long, cylindrical, vertical rootstock, sometimes with a few fusiform laterals; stems unbranched, erect, densely white hairy, containing white latex. Leaves opposite, simple and entire; petiole 310(15) mm long, pubescent; blade lanceolate to broadly ovate, 613 cm 38.5 cm, base rounded and slightly cordate, apex acute or obtuse, margin scabrid, both surfaces minutely pubescent, secondary veins numerous, parallel, prominent. Inflorescence a terminal or extra-axillary umbel, nodding or directed to one side, 49-flowered; peduncle 24.5 cm long, densely pubescent; bracts c. 10 mm long, filiform, pubescent. Flowers bisexual, 5-merous; pedicel 1.52.5(3) cm long, densely pubescent; calyx lobes ovate to lanceolate, 611(14) mm 34(7) mm, acute, pubescent; corolla globose-campanulate, glabrous or minutely papillate inside, pubescent outside, reddish purple or occasionally cream outside, white, cream or purple inside, often with darker veins; lobes oblong, ovate or obovate, (11)1422 mm (6)814 mm, acute or obtuse, recurved at the tip; stamens 5, united into a stipitate staminal column and adnate to the ovary; corona lobes arising from the base of the stipe, spreading below, erect or slightly recurved above, 1020 mm 48 mm, spathulate, apex acute to truncate or emarginate, entire or variously toothed; anthers sessile, with wings 34 mm 11.5 mm, triangular and convex; anther appendages 12 mm 1.5 mm, broadly ovate, acute and inflexed over stigma head; ovary superior, by abortion reduced to 1 carpel, stigma head flat, 34 mm in diameter, forming a raised circular cushion c. 1 mm above top of anthers. Fruit c. 7 cm 33.5 cm, ovoid and somewhat inflated, with 4 or 6 broad, longitudinal, apically toothed wings, pubescent.
Pachycarpus comprises 37 species in sub-Sahara Africa.
Pachycarpus spurius occurs at (1200)15002100 m altitude in grassland and Brachystegia or Protea scrubby woodland, sometimes in disturbed sites.
Pachycarpus spurius only occurs wild.
Genetic resources and breeding
Pachycarpus spurius has a large area of distribution and is probably not in danger of genetic erosion.
Too little is known about Pachycarpus spurius to assess its prospects as a fibre plant.
Major references
Bullock, A.A., 1953. Notes on African Asclepiadaceae 3. Kew Bulletin 8: 329362.
Goyder, D.J., 1998. A revision of Pachycarpus E.Mey. (Asclepiadaceae: Asclepiadeae) in tropical Africa with notes on the genus in southern Africa. Kew Bulletin 53(2): 335374.
Kirby, R.H., 1963. Vegetable fibres: botany, cultivation, and utilization. Leonard Hill, London, United Kingdom & Interscience Publishers, New York, United States. 464 pp.
Other references
Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (Editors), 2005. Plants of the Nyika Plateau. An account of the vegetation of the Nyika National Parks of Malawi and Zambia. [Internet] downloads/31_nyika/list/ b_nyikalist_p4977.pdf. Accessed September 2009.
Watson, L. & Dallwitz, M.J., 1992. The families of flowering plants: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval. [Internet]. Accessed September 2009.
L.P.A. Oyen
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

Correct citation of this article:
Oyen, L.P.A., 2010. Pachycarpus spurius (N.E.Br.) Bullock. In: Brink, M. & Achigan-Dako, E.G. (Editors). Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes fibres. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.