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Plesiatropha carpinifolia (Pax) Breteler

Protologue
Adansonia, sér. 3, 27(2): 329 (2005).
Family
Euphorbiaceae
Synonyms
Mildbraedia carpinifolia (Pax) Hutch. (1912).
Vernacular names
Mtapatapa, mtapatapa mkufu, mchunga ng’ombe (Sw).
Origin and geographic distribution
Plesiatropha carpinifolia occurs in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique.
Uses
In Kenya root powder is taken to treat chest complaints.
Botany
Dioecious, much-branched, evergreen shrub or small tree up to 5(–9) m tall; twigs stellate-hairy, pale grey-brown. Leaves alternate, simple; stipules linear, up to 9(–17) mm long, soon falling; petiole 1–3(–5) cm long, stellate-hairy; blade oblanceolate-oblong to elliptical-oblong, 3–12(–20) cm × 2–5(–11) cm, base rounded to shallowly cordate, apex acuminate, margins almost entire to shallowly or sharply toothed, especially in the upper half, membranous to papery, stellate-hairy, pinnately veined with 6–8 pairs of lateral veins. Inflorescence an axillary cyme; peduncle up to 7(–13) cm long, stellate-hairy; bracts linear, up to 1 cm long. Flowers unisexual, regular, 5-merous; pedicel up to 4 mm long; male flowers with broadly ovate sepals c. 2.5 mm long, petals broadly ovate to almost round, c. 3 mm long, greenish white or yellow-green, stamens 14–17; female flowers with broadly ovate sepals c. 3.5 mm long, petals broadly ovate to almost round, c. 4 mm long, ovary superior, almost globose, 1.5 mm in diameter, stellate-hairy, 3-celled, styles 3, c. 2.5 mm long, bifid towards apex. Fruit a 3-lobed capsule c. 7 mm × 10 mm, stellate-hairy, 3-seeded. Seeds ovoid to almost globose, c. 6 mm × 5 mm, mottled purplish brown and grey.
Plesiatropha comprises 3 species, which all occur in tropical Africa. In Côte d’Ivoire a leaf decoction of Plesiatropha paniculata (Pax) Breteler (synonym: Mildbraedia paniculata Pax), occurring from Liberia to DR Congo, is taken orally or as a bath to treat serious cases of jaundice.
Ecology
Plesiatropha carpinifolia occurs in forest and forest edges, coastal woodland and riverine and secondary vegetation, from sea-level up to 1700 m altitude.
Genetic resources and breeding
Plesiatropha carpinifolia has a relatively large area of distribution and there are no signs that it is threatened by genetic erosion.
Prospects
Plesiatropha carpinifolia is little used in local medicine and nothing is known concerning its chemistry and pharmacology. Therefore it is likely that it will remain of local importance only.
Major references
• Breteler, F.J., 2005. Novitates Gabonenses 55. Manuscript names and drawings of the French botanist Louis Pierre (1833-1905): a discussion about their validity with some examples of nomenclatural consequences for the Gabonese flora in particular. Adansonia, Sér. 3, 27(2): 325–335.
• Kokwaro, J.O., 1993. Medicinal plants of East Africa. 2nd Edition. Kenya Literature Bureau, Nairobi, Kenya. 401 pp.
• Radcliffe-Smith, A., 1987. Euphorbiaceae (part 1). In: Polhill, R.M. (Editor). Flora of Tropical East Africa. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, Netherlands. 407 pp.
Other references
• 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.
• Burkill, H.M., 1994. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 2, Families E–I. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 636 pp.
Author(s)
G.H. Schmelzer
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:
Schmelzer, G.H., 2008. Plesiatropha carpinifolia (Pax) Breteler. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.