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Pouzolzia guineensis Benth.

Protologue
Hook., Niger Fl.: 518 (1849).
Family
Urticaceae
Synonyms
Pouzolzia abyssinica (A.Rich.) Blume (1856), Pouzolzia dewevrei De Wild. ex Th.Dur. (1900), Pouzolzia golungensis Hiern (1900).
Origin and geographic distribution
Pouzolzia guineensis is distributed from Senegal south to Angola and east to Ethiopia and Tanzania.
Uses
In DR Congo the leaves are eaten as a cooked vegetable. Medicinal use of the leaves in DR Congo comprises wound healing and curing stomach-ache. In Côte d’Ivoire asthma is treated with a mixture of leaves kneaded with kaolin, leaf sap is taken to treat diarrhoea and dysentery, and a leaf decoction is given by draught against vomiting during pregnancy. A decoction of the whole plant is taken as an aphrodisiac.
Properties
A trace of alkaloid has been reported in the leaf, but otherwise no phytochemical information is available on Pouzolzia guineensis or other species of the genus.
Botany
Annual or short-lived perennial herb 1(–2) m tall, branched. Leaves alternate, simple; stipules free, up to 7 mm × 1 mm; petiole up to 3(–5) cm long; blade lanceolate to ovate, 1.5–9.5 cm × 0.5–3.5 cm, base cuneate, truncate or rounded, apex acuminate, margin entire, with 4–5 pairs of lateral veins. Inflorescence an axillary glomerule consisting of 1–2(–3) female flowers and a variable number of male flowers. Flowers unisexual, regular, small; male flowers on c. 0.5 mm long pedicel, 4(–5)-merous, perianth globular, c. 1 mm in diameter; female flowers sessile, ovary superior, ovoid, enclosed in the perianth, stigma protruding. Fruit a compressed achene c. 2 mm long, surrounded by the persistent perianth.
Pouzolzia comprises about 50 species in the Old World tropics; it is in need of a thorough revision. Pouzolzia guineensis is variable and 2 different forms are recognized throughout its range. As transitional specimens exist, formal taxonomic recognition is not justified.
Ecology
Pouzolzia guineensis is found in moist wooded grassland, often in the shade of trees, in riverine forest and disturbed areas, e.g. roadsides, fallow and cultivated fields, at 600–1300 m altitude. It is a considered a weed of especially tree crops (e.g. cacao, cola) and is a host of the cotton stainer, Dysdercus superstitiosus, a pest of cotton, rice and peanuts.
Genetic resources and breeding
In view of its wide distribution Pouzolzia guineensis is not in danger of genetic erosion.
Prospects
As a vegetable Pouzolzia guineensis will remain popular locally. The lack of interest in Pouzolzia guineensis and other representatives of the genus from pharmacologists is surprising, as medicinal use is common both in Africa and Asia. A taxonomic revision of the genus might help as a basis for sound pharmacological work in the future.
Major references
• Burkill, H.M., 2000. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 5, Families S–Z, Addenda. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom. 686 pp.
• Friis, I., 1989. Urticaceae. In: Hedberg, I. & Edwards, S. (Editors). Flora of Ethiopia. Volume 3. Pittosporaceae to Araliaceae. The National Herbarium, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Department of Systematic Botany, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden. pp. 302–325.
• Hauman, L., 1948. Urticaceae. In: Robyns, W., Staner, P., De Wildeman, E., Germain, R., Gilbert, G., Hauman, L., Homès, M., Lebrun, J., Louis, J., Vanden Abeele, M. & Boutique, R. (Editors). Flore du Congo belge et du Ruanda-Urundi. Spermatophytes. Volume 1. Institut National pour l’Étude Agronomique du Congo belge, Brussels, Belgium. pp. 177–218.
Other references
• Aké-Assi, L., 1984. Flore de la Côte d’Ivoire: étude descriptive et biogéographique, avec quelques notes ethnobotaniques. 3 Volumes. PhD thesis. Université d’Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. 1206 pp.
• Kerharo, J. & Bouquet, A., 1950. Plantes médicinales et toxiques de la Côte d’Ivoire - Haute-Volta. Vigot Frères, Paris, France. 291 pp.
• Mulyati Rahayu, 2001. Pouzolzia Gaudich. In: van Valkenburg, J.L.C.H. & Bunyapraphatsara, N. (Editors). Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 12(2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands. pp. 451–454.
Author(s)
C.H. Bosch
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands


Editors
G.J.H. Grubben
Prins Hendriklaan 24, 1401 AT Bussum, Netherlands
O.A. Denton
National Horticultural Research Institute, P.M.B. 5432, Idi-Ishin, Ibadan, Nigeria
Associate Editors
C.-M. Messiaen
Bat. B 3, Résidence La Guirlande, 75, rue de Fontcarrade, 34070 Montpellier, France
R.R. Schippers
De Boeier 7, 3742 GD Baarn, 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:
Bosch, C.H., 2004. Pouzolzia guineensis Benth. In: Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (Editors). PROTA 2: Vegetables/Légumes. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.