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Strychnos phaeotricha Gilg

Protologue
Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 36: 105 (1905).
Family
Loganiaceae
Origin and geographic distribution
Strychnos phaeotricha occurs from Ghana east to DR Congo.
Uses
In DR Congo the seeds are put into a calabash containing embers and the smoke is inhaled to treat tuberculosis in children.
Properties
Preliminary chemical analysis shows that Strychnos phaeotricha has a low alkaloid content. The tertiary indole alkaloids of the bark have weak muscle-relaxant and convulsant activities.
Botany
Large liana up to 50 m long, climbing with paired tendrils; stem 2–7 cm in diameter; branchlets brown, without lenticels. Leaves opposite, simple and entire; stipules absent; petiole 2–4 mm long, with some large colleters at the base; blade narrowly obovate to narrowly elliptical, (2.5–)5–16.5(–22) cm × (1.5–)2.5–8 cm, base cordate, apex acuminate, brown hairy, 3-veined from the base. Inflorescence a terminal lax thyrse, 5–8 cm long, many-flowered. Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous; sepals fused at base, linear, 0.5–1 mm long; corolla tube 0.5–1 mm long, widening at the throat, lobes narrowly oblong, 2.5–4 mm long, acute, spreading to reflexed, outside brown hairy or sometimes glabrous, inside with a hairy gland just above the base, white, cream or yellow; stamens inserted at the mouth of the corolla tube, exserted, filaments near the base with a 2-lobed hairy gland; ovary superior, ovoid, 1–1.5 mm × 0.5–1 mm, 2-celled, style 1.5–2 mm long, stigma head-shaped. Fruit an ellipsoid berry 25–30 mm × 18–27 mm × 18–25 mm, soft, orange, 3–7-seeded. Seeds obliquely ovoid to ellipsoid, flattened, 15–23 mm × 10–15 mm × 3–6 mm, yellowish brown, smooth.
Strychnos comprises about 200 species: about 60 species in Asia, 65 in America and 75 in Africa. Strychnos phaeotricha is the only species in the section Phaeotrichae.
Ecology
Strychnos phaeotricha occurs in rainforest, including secondary forest, or gallery forest from sea-level up to 700 m altitude.
Genetic resources and breeding
Strychnos phaeotricha does not seem to be in danger of genetic erosion.
Prospects
Strychnos phaeotricha will probably remain of local importance as a medicinal plant.
Major references
• Bohlin, L., Ali, Y. & Sandberg, F., 1974. Screening of African Strychnos species for convulsant and muscle relaxant effects. Acta Pharmaceutica Suecica 11: 233–238.
• Disengomoka, I., Delaveau, P. & Sengele, K., 1983. Medicinal plants used for child’s respiratory diseases in Zaire. Part 2. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 8: 265–277.
• Leeuwenberg, A.J.M., 1969. The Loganiaceae of Africa 8. Strychnos 3. Revision of the African species with notes on the extra-African. Mededelingen Landbouwhogeschool Wageningen 69–1. Wageningen, Netherlands. 316 pp.
• Leeuwenberg, A.J.M. (Editor), 1980. Angiospermae: Ordnung Gentiales. Fam. Loganiaceae. Die natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien. Second Edition. Band 28 b-1. Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, Germany. 255 pp.
Other references
• Bouquet, A. & Fournet, A., 1975. Recherches chimiques préliminaires sur les plantes médicinales du Congo-Brazzaville (3ème Note). Fitoterapia 46(4): 175–191.
• Neuwinger, H.D., 2000. African traditional medicine: a dictionary of plant use and applications. Medpharm Scientific, Stuttgart, Germany. 589 pp.
Author(s)
A. de Ruijter
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:
de Ruijter, A., 2008. Strychnos phaeotricha Gilg. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.