Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1
Oliv., Fl. trop. Afr. 2: 505 (1871).
Origin and geographic distribution
Paropsia grewioides occurs from Cameroon south to Angola, and in Tanzania and Mozambique.
In Congo a bark decoction is used as a vapour bath, leaf sap is drunk to treat rheumatism, and leaf pulp is rubbed on the painful area. In DR Congo pulverized leaves of Paropsia grewioides mixed with those of Utricularia inflexa Forssk. are rubbed into scarifications on the chest or a decoction is used as a rectal wash to treat respiratory diseases in children.
Paropsia grewioides contains flavones, tannins, saponins and hydrocyanic acid.
Shrub or small tree up to 12(–20) m tall; bole up to 30 cm in diameter; young branches with dense, short, brown hairs. Leaves alternate, more or less in 2 rows, simple; stipules lanceolate, up to 2 mm long, soon falling; petiole slender, 4–8 mm long, yellowish hairy; blade oblong to elliptical-oblong, (3.5–)5.5–11(–13) cm × (2–)2.5–4(–7) cm, base cuneate, apex slightly acuminate to acute, margin finely toothed, papery to leathery, glabrescent. Flowers usually solitary in leaf axils, bisexual, regular, 5-merous; pedicel 1–2(–3) cm long; sepals lanceolate-oblong to oblong, (6–)10–14(–25) mm × 3–5(–10) mm, brownish hairy outside, greyish hairy inside; petals narrower and slightly shorter than sepals, greenish yellow or creamy; corona consisting of 3–4 mm long hairy threads; stamens exserted, filaments 6–10 mm long, anthers 2.5–3.5 mm long; ovary superior, with stipe up to 1.5 mm long, globose to ovoid, hairy, styles usually 3, slender, 2–3 mm long, hairy. Fruit a globose to ovoid capsule 1.5–3 cm × 1.5–2.5 cm, usually hairy. Seeds ovoid, compressed, 5–7 mm long, testa hard, grooved and pitted, with aril.
Paropsia comprises 12 species, 5 of which occur in mainland tropical Africa, 6 in Madagascar and 1 in South-East Asia. In Tanzania and Mozambique Paropsia grewioides plants have larger flowers and smaller fruits in comparison with plants from Central Africa. They have been distinguished as var. orientalis Sleumer. Paropsia guineensis Oliv. occurs from Ghana east to Uganda and south to Cabinda (Angola); in Congo the bark is used in the same way as that of Paropsia grewioides, to treat rheumatism.
Paropsia grewioides occurs in semi-deciduous forest, littoral forest and dry forest, also in secondary forest and thickets.
Genetic resources and breeding
Paropsia grewioides is widespread and there is no indication that it is threatened by genetic erosion.
More research is needed to assess the pharmacological possibilities of Paropsia grewioides.
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Correct citation of this article:
de Ruijter, A., 2007. Paropsia grewioides Welw. ex Mast. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.