Prota 3: Dyes and tannins/Colorants et tanins
Kew Bull. 50: 8182 (1995).
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.
The bark of Pyranthus tullearensis is made into a yellow paste or powder, used by Bara women as a skin cosmetic.
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 1125 leaflets; stipules slender; leaflets oblong-elliptical, 1023 mm Χ 411 mm, base rounded, apex rounded but mucronate, leathery, densely white-hairy beneath. Inflorescence a terminal or axillary false raceme. Flowers bisexual, papilionaceous, 1012 mm long; calyx tubular, 45 mm long, with 5 equal teeth, the upper pair partially connate; corolla scarlet-red, standard almost circular, 1013 mm Χ 812 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 913 mm long, strongly curved; ovary superior, 1-celled, sessile, style slender, stigma punctate. Fruit a flattened pod 68 cm Χ 78 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.
Pyranthus tullearensis grows on sandstone rock outcrops, in grassland and open woodland, at 5001100 m altitude. It is somewhat resistant to grassland fires and flowers in OctoberFebruary.
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.
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.
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.
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: 7384.
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.