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Pyranthus tullearensis (Baill.) Du Puy & Labat

Protologue
Kew Bull. 50: 81–82 (1995).
Family
Papilionaceae (Leguminosae - Papilionoideae, Fabaceae)
Origin and geographic distribution
Pyranthus tullearensis is an endemic of south-western Madagascar and is confined to the Isalo Massif and the upper Onilahy River valley.
Uses
The bark of Pyranthus tullearensis is made into a yellow paste or powder, used by Bara women as a skin cosmetic.
Botany
Shrub or small tree up to 4 m tall, with trunk up to 10 cm in diameter; young twigs densely yellow-white pubescent, turning black-grey. Leaves alternate, imparipinnately compound with 11–25 leaflets; stipules slender; leaflets oblong-elliptical, 10–23 mm Χ 4–11 mm, base rounded, apex rounded but mucronate, leathery, densely white-hairy beneath. Inflorescence a terminal or axillary false raceme. Flowers bisexual, papilionaceous, 10–12 mm long; calyx tubular, 4–5 mm long, with 5 equal teeth, the upper pair partially connate; corolla scarlet-red, standard almost circular, 10–13 mm Χ 8–12 mm, somewhat whitish-pubescent, with an irregular white basal eye, wings shallowly curved, darker along the upper margins, keel falcate; stamens 10, filaments fused into staminal sheath 9–13 mm long, strongly curved; ovary superior, 1-celled, sessile, style slender, stigma punctate. Fruit a flattened pod 6–8 cm Χ 7–8 mm, almost glabrous to silky hairy, opening with 2 strongly spiralling valves, several-seeded. Seeds compressed-reniform, 6 mm Χ 4 mm, brown.
Pyranthus comprises 6 species, all endemic to Madagascar. It is classified in the tribe Millettieae and is somewhat intermediate between the related genera Mundulea and Chadsia. Pyranthus tullearensis has been subdivided into 2 subspecies, based on the hairiness of the fruits and the size of the flowers.
Ecology
Pyranthus tullearensis grows on sandstone rock outcrops, in grassland and open woodland, at 500–1100 m altitude. It is somewhat resistant to grassland fires and flowers in October–February.
Genetic resources and breeding
Pyranthus tullearensis is not very widespread and although it shows some fire resistance, habitat destruction by bush fire may endanger it eventually. Germplasm collection and protection measures are recommended.
Prospects
Pyranthus tullearensis as source of a dye is only very locally of some importance in Madagascar, and this will probably not change in the future.
Major references
• du Puy, D.J., Labat, J.N., Rabevohitra, R., Villiers, J.-F., Bosser, J. & Moat, J., 2002. The Leguminosae of Madagascar. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 750 pp.
Other references
• du Puy, D.J. & Labat, J.N., 1995. Pyranthus Du Puy & Labat, a new genus of the tribe Millettieae (Leguminosae-Papilionoideae) from Madagascar. Kew Bulletin 50: 73–84.
Author(s)
• P.C.M. Jansen
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands


Editors
• P.C.M. Jansen
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
• D. Cardon
CNRS, CIHAM-UMR 5648, 18, quai Claude-Bernard, 69365 Lyon, Cedex 07, France
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:
Jansen, P.C.M., 2005. Pyranthus tullearensis (Baill.) Du Puy & Labat In: Jansen, P.C.M. & Cardon, D. (Editors). PROTA 3: Dyes and tannins/Colorants et tanins. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.