Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes mιdicinales 1
Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 33: 148 (1902).
Origin and geographic distribution
Schlechterina mitostemmatoides occurs in south-eastern Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and north-eastern South Africa.
In Tanzania a root decoction and leaf sap are taken to treat malaria, and the root decoction also as an aphrodisiac. In Mozambique a decoction of the leaves mixed with those of Hymenocardia ulmoides Oliv. is taken before meals to treat heavy menstruation. In Kenya and Mozambique the stem is used as a tying material.
Leaves and leaf callus cultures of Schlechterina mitostemmatoides contain cyanogenic glycosides.
Small liana or scandent shrub up to 3 m tall, with axillary, up to 14 cm long tendrils; old stems corky, shoots often with lenticels. Leaves alternate, simple to pinnately lobed; stipules triangular to linear, c. 0.5 mm long, soon falling; petiole 412 mm long; blade elliptical to lanceolate or linear-lanceolate, 313 cm Χ 15 cm, base cuneate, apex acute to acuminate, margin entire or toothed; leaves on saplings or juvenile shoots often linear and pinnately lobed, those of flowering branches often elliptical and entire to toothed. Inflorescence an axillary fascicle, 13-flowered; bracts almost triangular, 0.51 mm long. Flowers bisexual, regular, whitish, glabrous; pedicel up to 2.5 cm long, jointed; sepals 34, free, elliptical to oblong, 611 mm Χ 36 mm, obtuse; petals 24, free, elliptical to oblong, 510 mm long, obtuse; corona composed of threads fused at the base into a tube 0.52 mm long, free parts of threads 46 mm long; stamens 68, with filaments 610 mm long, fused at base; ovary superior, ellipsoid-oblong, 22.5 mm long, apex narrowed into style 1.52 mm long, stigma 34-lobed, flattened. Fruit a stalked oblong-ellipsoid capsule c. 5 cm long, 34 valved, leathery, many-seeded. Seeds ellipsoid, flattened, c. 7 mm long, enveloped by an aril.
Schlechterina comprises a single species and is characterized by its leaves of different shapes. In Mozambique Schlechterina mitostemmatoides flowers from October to February.
Schlechterina mitostemmatoides occurs in lowland dry, evergreen and riverine forest and coastal bushland from sea-level up to 700 m altitude. It occurs on sandy and on black soils.
Genetic resources and breeding
Although Schlechterina mitostemmatoides is locally common in Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique, it has a rather limited area of distribution and is considered an endangered species in northern KwaZulu-Natal. Some caution would be needed in case of increased use of this species.
The use of Schlechterina mitostemmatoides appears to be limited and it will probably remain this way. Because of the wide medicinal use of other Passifloraceae species containing cyanogenic compounds, more research into the chemical composition and pharmacological activities of Schlechterina mitostemmatoides seems warranted.
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Jδger, A.K., McAlister, B.G. & van Staden, J., 1995. Cyanogenic glycosides in leaves and callus cultures of Schlechterina mitostemmatoides. South African Journal of Botany 61(5): 274275.
Maite, A.L., 1994. An ethnobotanical study of two Passifloraceae species used in traditional medicine in Mozambique. In: Seyani, J.H. & Chikuni, A.C. (Editors). Proceedings of the 8th plenary meeting of AETFAT, 211 April 1991, Zomba, Malawi. Volume 1. pp. 267271.
Beentje, H.J., 1994. Kenya trees, shrubs and lianas. National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya. 722 pp.
de Wilde, W.J.J.O., 1975. Passifloraceae. In: Polhill, R.M. (Editor). Flora of Tropical East Africa. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. 71 pp.
Pakia, M. & Cooke, J.A., 2003. The ethnobotany of the Midzichenda tribes of the coastal forest areas in Kenya: 1. General perspective and non-medicinal plant uses. South African Journal of Botany 69(3): 370381.
Correct citation of this article:
de Ruijter, A., 2007. Schlechterina mitostemmatoides Harms. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes mιdicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.