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


Plumbago aphylla Bojer ex Boiss.

Protologue
A.DC., Prodr. 12: 694 (1848).
Family
Plumbaginaceae
Vernacular names
Balai sur terre (Fr).
Origin and geographic distribution
Plumbago aphylla occurs in Madagascar, the Aldabra Islands (Seychelles) and in Tanzania on a small island a few kilometres off the coast.
Uses
In Madagascar a decoction of the whole plant of Plumbago aphylla is taken to treat diarrhoea and infections of the mouth and applied as an eyewash in case of cataract. A root decoction is taken as an analgesic and antispasmodic. A decoction of the aerial parts is used for a massage in case of dislocation. Plumbago aphylla is sold at the medicinal herb market of Antananarivo, Madagascar.
Properties
The active ingredient of Plumbago aphylla is a naphthoquinone, probably plumbagin. The aerial parts tested positive for alkaloids and saponins. An extract of the aerial parts was active against cercariae of Schistosoma mansoni.
Botany
Slender shrub up to 1 m tall, with taproot; stems erect or ascending, few-branched, glabrous, with numerous fine longitudinal ridges, pale yellow-green, rooting at the nodes. Leaves alternate, simple and entire, soon disappearing except on sterile shoots, only the petiole bases remaining as brown scales; stipules absent; petiole short, winged; blade obovate, 5–15 mm × 5–6(–10) mm, apex acute, mucronate, leathery, glandular. Inflorescence a terminal raceme, sometimes paniculate, 2–6 cm long, many-flowered; bracts ovate to lanceolate, small, hairy inside; peduncle 7–15 cm long, with short white hairs. Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous; pedicel up to 1 mm long; calyx tubular, 6–7(–9) mm × 3 mm, 5-toothed, slightly ribbed, with stalked glands and short white hairs; corolla tube 10–13 mm long, lobes obovate, 6 mm long, mucronate, spreading or not, white; stamens free, included; ovary superior, 1-celled, style filiform, stigma lobes 5. Fruit an oblong, membranous capsule up to 7 mm long, enclosed in the persistent calyx, tardily dehiscent, 1-seeded. Seed oblong, c. 6 mm long, slightly flattened, dark brown or black.
Plumbago comprises about 25 species and occurs almost throughout the world. In tropical Africa about 10 species are found.
Ecology
Plumbago aphylla occurs mostly on the coast on coral rock and is probably dependent on bird guano there. It also occurs on volcanic soil.
Genetic resources and breeding
Plumbago aphylla is restricted to coastal habitats in Madagascar and some other Indian Ocean islands and may be in danger of genetic erosion.
Prospects
In view of the pharmacologically interesting compounds found in other Plumbago species, further research into the bio-active substances of Plumbago aphylla might be worthwhile.
Major references
• Debray, M., Jacquemin, H. & Razafindrambao, R., 1971. Contribution à l’inventaire des plantes médicinales de Madagascar. Travaux et Documents No 8. ORSTOM, Paris, France. 150 pp.
• Gurib-Fakim, A. & Brendler, T., 2004. Medicinal and aromatic plants of Indian Ocean Islands: Madagascar, Comoros, Seychelles and Mascarenes. Medpharm, Stuttgart, Germany. 568 pp.
• Peltier, M., 1981. Plumbaginaceae. Flore de Madagascar et des Comores, familles 162–163. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. pp. 15–24.
• Wilmot-Dear, C.M., 1976. Plumbaginaceae. In: Polhill, R.M. (Editor). Flora of Tropical East Africa. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. 12 pp.
Other references
• Fosberg, F.R., 1974. Miscellaneous notes on the flora of Aldabra and neighbouring islands: III. Kew Bulletin 29(2): 253–266.
• Kokwaro, J.O., 1993. Medicinal plants of East Africa. 2nd Edition. Kenya Literature Bureau, Nairobi, Kenya. 401 pp.
• Rakotozafy, J.C., 1997. Activité des extraits de Cedrelopsis grevei, Plumbago aphylla et de Zanthoxylum madagascariensis sur les cercaires de Schistosoma mansoni. Mémoire de DEA de pharmacologie, Département de Physiologie animale et de Pharmacologie, Faculté des Sciences, Université d’Antananarivo, Madagascar. 32 pp.
• van Steenis, C.G.G.J., 1949. Plumbaginaceae. In: van Steenis, C.G.G.J. (General Editor). Flora Malesiana. Series 1. Vol. 4. Noordhoff-Kolff N.V., Djakarta, Indonesia. pp. 107–112.
• Wood, D., 1970. Tropical African Plants 30. Plumbaginaceae. Plumbago aphylla. Kew Bulletin 24(2): 351.
Author(s)
A. de Ruijter
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:
de Ruijter, A., 2006. Plumbago aphylla Bojer ex Boiss. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.