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Stillingia lineata (Lam.) Müll.Arg.

Protologue
A.DC., Prodr. 15(2.2): 1157 (1866).
Family
Euphorbiaceae
Vernacular names
Tanguin de pays, bois de lait (Fr).
Origin and geographic distribution
Stillingia lineata occurs in Réunion and Mauritius, and also in Fiji, the Philippines, the Lesser Sunda Islands and the Moluccas.
Uses
In Mauritius bathing in the decoction of the whole plant is recommended as a cure for eczema. The leaves are toxic and stupefying.
Properties
The leaves and stems contain phenols, tannins, coumarins, terpenes, saponins and alkaloids. A dichloromethane extract of the leaves showed cytotoxic effects. Extracts from Stillingia lineata were among the most active against human tumour cell line Co-115 in in-vitro tests.
Botany
Monoecious shrub or small tree up to 12 m tall; bark smooth, covered with leaf-scars. Leaves alternate, simple, crowded at apex of branches; stipules 1–1.5 mm long, deeply split, soon falling; petiole 3–17 mm long, without glands or with a pair of glands on the junction with the blade; blade orbicular to elliptical, (4–)7–24 cm × 2–4 cm, base cuneate to obtuse, apex acute to rounded to retuse, margin entire or toothed with teeth 2–3(–4) mm apart, membranous or slightly succulent. Inflorescence a terminal spike 2–13 cm long, lower part with up to 12 solitary female flowers, terminal part with male flowers in clusters of up to 15 flowers; bracts minute. Flowers unisexual, nearly sessile; pedicel minute; male flowers with tubular perianth with 2 lobes or horns, 1 mm long, stamens 2, filaments c. 1 mm long; female flowers with 3-lobed perianth, ovary superior, ovoid, 3-celled, styles 3. Fruit a 3-lobed capsule 5–6 mm × 7–8 mm, notched, dehiscing explosively, remaining thickened, 3-lobed stalk up to 8 mm in diameter. Seeds oblong, 4–5 mm × 3–3.5 mm, grey when dry, pitted, with caruncle. Seedling with epigeal germination.
In Stillingia lineata 2 subspecies are distinguished. The typical subspecies from Mauritius and Réunion has firm to slightly succulent, entire leaves with scarcely visible venation and no marginal glands, whereas the Asian plants are distinguishable by thin leaves with obvious serration, venation and glands.
Stillingia comprises about 30 species, 27 of which are Neotropical, ranging from Argentina to the United States. Of the 3 species native to the Old World, 2 are endemic to Madagascar.
Ecology
Stillingia lineata occurs on beaches, but also in forest up to 300 m altitude.
Genetic resources and breeding
In Réunion Stillingia lineata has a protected status, but in Mauritius it is not considered threatened.
Prospects
The cytotoxic properties of Stillingia lineata warrant further research.
Major references
• Coode, M.J.E., 1982. Euphorbiacées. In: Bosser, J., Cadet, T., Guého, J. & Marais, W. (Editors). Flore des Mascareignes. Familles 153–160. The Sugar Industry Research Institute, Mauritius, l’Office de la Recherche Scientifique Outre-Mer, Paris, France & Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 117 pp.
• Esser, H.-J., 1999. A partial revision of the Hippomaneae (Euphorbiaceae) in Malesia. Blumea 44: 149–213.
• Gurib-Fakim, A. & Brendler, T., 2004. Medicinal and aromatic plants of Indian Ocean Islands: Madagascar, Comoros, Seychelles and Mascarenes. Medpharm, Stuttgart, Germany. 568 pp.
Other references
• Govaerts, R., Frodin, D.G. & Radcliffe-Smith, A., 2000. World checklist and bibliography of Euphorbiaceae (with Pandaceae). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 1620 pp.
• Gurib-Fakim, A., Guého, J. & Bissoondoyal, M.D., 1996. Plantes médicinales de Maurice, tome 2. Editions de l’Océan Indien, Rose-Hill, Mauritius. 532 pp.
• Marston, A., Décosterd, L.A. & Hostettmann, K., 1993. Cytoinhibitory compounds from higher plants. In: Molyneux, R.J. & Colegate, S.M. (Editors). Bioactive natural products: detection, isolation and structural determination. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, United States. pp. 221–239.
Author(s)
C.H. Bosch
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands


Editors
G.H. Schmelzer
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
A. Gurib-Fakim
Faculty of Science, University of Mauritius, Réduit, Mauritius
Associate editors
C.H. Bosch
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
M.S.J. Simmonds
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AB, United Kingdom
R. Arroo
Leicester School of Pharmacy, Natural Products Research, De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester LE1 9BH, United Kingdom
A. de Ruijter
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, 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., 2008. Stillingia lineata (Lam.) Müll.Arg. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.