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Pleurostelma cernuum (Decne.) Bullock

Kew Bull. 10: 612 (1956).
Asclepiadaceae (APG: Apocynaceae)
Pleurostelma grevei Baill. (1890)
Origin and geographic distribution
Pleurostelma cernuum occurs in Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Mayotte, Madagascar and Aldabra (Seychelles).
In Kenya a leaf maceration is used as ear drops to treat otitis.
In Somalia the fruits are eaten.
No chemical or pharmacological analyses have been made of Pleurostelma cernuum. The aerial parts of the other Pleurostelma species, Pleurostelma schimperi (Vatke) Liede, were found to contain the 3-O-glucosides of quercetin and kaempferol.
Small erect to ascending or twining shrub up to 1 m tall, glabrous to slightly short-hairy, rhizomatous, all parts with sparse clear sap. Leaves opposite, simple, entire; petiole 5–10 mm long; blade elliptical to obovate, 10–30(–50) mm × 3–20 mm, base cuneate, apex acuminate, midvein prominent. Inflorescence axillary, 3–5-flowered; peduncle 2–5(–7) mm long. Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous; pedicel c. 5 mm long, glabrous; corolla rotate, 6–10 mm long, lobes fused at base, white with purple at base, lobes lanceolate to triangular, strongly twisted; gynostegial corona consisting of minute scales at back of anthers, gynostegium c. 2.5 mm long, sessile, anthers with connective appendage c. 1.5 mm long, stigmatic head with filiform appendage 2–3 mm long; ovary superior, carpels 2, free. Fruit a pair of follicles, each follicle narrowly ovoid, 4–6 cm × c. 0.8 cm, tapering gradually into apex, glabrous. Seeds ovate, flattened, c. 4 mm × 2 mm, with small warts, coma present.
Pleurostelma comprises 2 species, which both occur in tropical Africa. The other species is Pleurostelma schimperi, which occurs in Sudan and Ethiopia.
Pleurostelma cernuum occurs in sand dunes, coastal plains, grassland and low open bushland, from sea-level up to 350(–1100) m altitude.
Genetic resources and breeding
Pleurostelma cernuum has a relative large area of distribution and is probably nowhere common, but unlikely to be threatened by genetic erosion.
Pleurostelma cernuum will remain of local importance as a medicinal plant.
Major references
• Bullock, A.A., 1956. Notes on African Asclepiadaceae 7. Kew Bulletin 1955: 611–626.
• Gilbert, M., Goyder, D., Lavranos, J., Liede-Schumann, S., Thulin, M. & Venter, J., 2006. Apocynaceae (incl. Asclepiadaceae). In: Thulin, M. (Editor). Flora of Somalia. Volume 3. Angiospermae (cont.). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. p. 117–197.
• Kokwaro, J.O., 1993. Medicinal plants of East Africa. 2nd Edition. Kenya Literature Bureau, Nairobi, Kenya. 401 pp.
Other references
• Heneidak, S., Grayer, R.J., Kite, G.C. & Simmonds, M.S-J., 2006. Flavonoid glycosides from Egyptian species of the tribe Asclepiadeae (Apocynaceae, subfamily Asclepiadoideae). Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 34(7): 575–584.
• Liede, S., 1994. Myth and reality of the subtribe Astephaninae (Decne.) Schumann (Asclepiadaceae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 114: 81–98.
G.H. Schmelzer
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

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
R. Arroo
Leicester School of Pharmacy, Natural Products Research, De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester LE1 9BH, United Kingdom

Correct citation of this article:
Schmelzer, G.H., 2011. Pleurostelma cernuum (Decne.) Bullock. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(2): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 2. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.
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