PROTA homepage Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1
Record display


Perichasma laetificata Miers

Protologue
Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. ser. 3. 18: 22 (1866).
Family
Menispermaceae
Synonyms
Stephania laetificata (Miers) Benth. (1867).
Origin and geographic distribution
Perichasma laetificata occurs from south-eastern Nigeria east to Uganda and south to DR Congo and Angola.
Uses
In Congo the leaf sap is applied to scarifications made in the forehead to cure very severe migraine. A maceration of the leaves is drunk to treat snakebites and a piece of stem is tied round the ankle to prevent snakebites. Stems are also made into girdles and bracelets for ankles and wrists for infants to assist them in walking. In the Central African Republic water with local salt in which leaves have been crushed is given to babies against constipation.
The roots are considered edible.
Botany
Dioecious liana with slender, ribbed, woody stem up to 5 m long, with stiff brown hairs and a tuberous rhizome. Leaves alternate, simple; stipules absent; petiole stout, 9–12 cm long, ribbed, base swollen and twisted; blade peltate, petiole inserted 4–4.5 cm from the base, ovate, 12.5–22 cm × 13–16 cm, base rounded, apex acute, margin wavy, papery, hairy below, glabrous above, palmately veined with (8–)9 veins, the 5 central ones most prominent. Inflorescence a large, much-branched, axillary panicle up to 50 cm long, 4 or more together, hairy or glabrous; female inflorescence smaller than male one, up to 20 cm long; bracts c. 2 mm long, long-hairy. Flowers unisexual; pedicel 1–1.5 mm long, thick; male flowers with 6 sepals in 2 whorls, free, obovate, inner ones 1.5–2 mm long, apex obtuse, with 1 prominent vein, petals 3, free, angular obovate, c. 0.5 mm long, apex rounded, with 1 prominent vein, stamens 6, merged into a staminal column up to 0.5 mm long; female flowers with 3 ovate to obovate sepals 1–1.5 mm long, hairy outside, petals 3, almost kidney-shaped, 0.5–1 mm × c. 0.5 mm, ovary superior, ovoid, up to 1 mm long, hairy to glabrous. Fruit an almost globose yellow drupe, 8–12 mm × 7–9 mm, hairy when immature, later glabrous, with 2 ridges, 1-seeded. Seed 6–9 mm long.
Perichasma comprises 2 species, both in tropical Africa. It is closely related to Stephania and differs mainly in its vegetative characters.
Ecology
Perichasma laetificata occurs in rainforest, fringing forest, fallow fields and clearings, from sea-level up to 900 m altitude.
Genetic resources and breeding
Because Perichasma laetificata is widespread and also occurs in secondary vegetation, there are no indications that it is in danger of genetic erosion.
Prospects
Too little is known about the uses and properties of Perichasma laetificata to assess its potential or prospects.
Major references
• Burkill, H.M., 1997. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 4, Families M–R. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 969 pp.
• Kundu, B.C. & Guha, S., 1977. The genus Perichasma (Menispermaceae). Adansonia 17(2): 221–234.
• Neuwinger, H.D., 2000. African traditional medicine: a dictionary of plant use and applications. Medpharm Scientific, Stuttgart, Germany. 589 pp.
• Troupin, G., 1951. Menispermaceae. In: Robyns, W., Staner, P., Demaret, F., Germain, R., Gilbert, G., Hauman, L., Homès, M., Jurion, F., Lebrun, J., Vanden Abeele, M. & Boutique, R. (Editors). Flore du Congo belge et du Ruanda-Urundi. Spermatophytes. Volume 2. Institut National pour l’Étude Agronomique du Congo belge, Brussels, Belgium. pp. 202–255.
• Troupin, G., 1962. Monographie des Menispermaceae africaines. Mémoires in-8. Académie Royale des Sciences d’Outre-Mer, Classe des Sciences Naturelles et Médicales, Nouvelle série 8(2), Brussels, Belgium. 313 pp.
Other references
• Bouquet, A., 1969. Féticheurs et médecines traditionnelles du Congo (Brazzaville). Mémoires ORSTOM No 36. Office de la Recherche Scientifique et Technique Outre-Mer. Paris, France. 282 pp.
• Motte, E., 1980. Les plantes chez les Pygmées Aka et les Monzombo de la Lobaye (Centrafrique). Société d’Etudes Linguistiques et Anthropologiques de France, Paris, France. 573 pp.
Author(s)
L.P.A. Oyen
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands


Editors
G.H. Schmelzer
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
A. Gurib-Fakim
Faculty of Science, University of Mauritius, Réduit, Mauritius
Associate editors
C.H. Bosch
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
M.S.J. Simmonds
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AB, United Kingdom
R. Arroo
Leicester School of Pharmacy, Natural Products Research, De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester LE1 9BH, United Kingdom
A. de Ruijter
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
General editors
R.H.M.J. Lemmens
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
L.P.A. Oyen
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article:
Oyen, L.P.A., 2008. Perichasma laetificata Miers. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.