Prota 2: Vegetables/Légumes
Engl., Pflanzenw. Ost-Afrikas C: 325 (1895).
Asclepiadaceae (APG: Apocynaceae)
Secamone whytei N.E.Br. (1898), Secamone floribunda N.E.Br. (1902), Secamone phillyreoides S.Moore (1905), Secamone rariflora S.Moore (1905).
Origin and geographic distribution
Secamone stuhlmannii is found in Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Malawi.
In times of scarcity the leaves of Secamone stuhlmannii are eaten cooked as a vegetable in Malawi. The fibrous stems are used for rope. In East Africa a root decoction is used against stomach problems.
Liana containing latex, the whole plant rusty-pubescent with spreading hairs. Leaves opposite, simple; petiole up to 5 mm long; blade oblong or ovate to lanceolate-elliptical, 1–6 cm × 0.5–2 cm, base rounded to acute, apex rounded to acute, margin entire. Inflorescence a terminal or axillary cyme, up to 6-flowered; peduncle up to 12 mm long. Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous, sweetly scented; pedicel up to 8 mm long; calyx with ovate lobes up to 1.5 mm × 0.5 mm, ciliate; corolla tubular with lobes up to 3 mm long, yellow; corona with triangular or falcate lobes, attached near the base of the staminal column and about one third of its length; ovary superior, apical portion of stigma head exserted for about 1 mm from the top of the staminal column. Fruit a pair of follicles, each one 6–10 cm × 1 cm, tapering gradually to a drawn-out point, silvery brown or olive-green, striate, puberulent. Seeds 7–10 mm × 1–1.5 mm, red-brown, with a coma of white hairs at apex.
Secamone comprises about 80 species, and is native to the tropics and subtropics of the Old World; 62 species are recorded for Madagascar, 16 for continental Africa, 1 for southern India and Sri Lanka and 1 for South-East Asia and Australia. Together with related genera it is in need of revision because the boundaries are not clear.
Secamone stuhlmannii is found in riverine bushland and thickets, at altitudes between 800–1700 m.
Genetic resources and breeding
Secamone stuhlmannii is widespread and does not seem in danger of genetic erosion.
More research is needed to evaluate the nutritional and medicinal value of Secamone stuhlmannii.
• Goyder, D.J., 1992. Secamone (Asclepiadaceae subfam. Secamonoideae) in Africa. Kew Bulletin 47: 437–474.
• Beentje, H.J., 1994. Kenya trees, shrubs and lianas. National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya. 722 pp.
• Kokwaro, J.O., 1993. Medicinal plants of East Africa. 2nd Edition. Kenya Literature Bureau, Nairobi, Kenya. 401 pp.
• Williamson, J., 1955. Useful plants of Nyasaland. The Government Printer, Zomba, Nyasaland. 168 pp. (Reprint: Williamson, J., 1975. Useful plants of Malawi. University of Malawi, Zomba, Malawi).
Correct citation of this article:
Jansen, P.C.M., 2004. Secamone stuhlmannii K.Schum. In: Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (Editors). PROTA 2: Vegetables/Légumes. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.