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Stylochaeton hypogeum Lepr.

Ann. Sci. Nat., Bot. sér. 2, 2: 185 (1834).
Stylochiton barteri N.E.Br. (1901), Stylochiton similis N.E.Br. (1901).
Vernacular names
Ground arum (En).
Origin and geographic distribution
Stylochaeton hypogeum occurs from Senegal to Sudan.
The inflorescences are collected from the wild and eaten in northern Ghana and Burkina Faso. People from the Tenda tribe, who live in Senegal, Guinea and Guinea Bissau, use the plant as an additive to beer. In Benin leaf decoctions of Stylochaeton hypogeum are drunk to stimulate the growth of unborn infants. A decoction of the roots in combination with the bark of Anogeissus leiocarpa (DC.) Guill. & Perr. is used to treat haemorrhoids. In Ghana the rhizome of Stylochaeton hypogeum is boiled and mashed for application to boils.
An aqueous extract of the root has shown anti-ulcer activity in rats.
Perennial herb with underground rhizome. Leaves in tufts, simple; petiole 8–15(–25) cm long, leaf sheath marked with horizontal purple bands; blade hastate to sagittate, 10–20 cm × 5–10 cm, basal lobes narrowly triangular, (2–)3–4(–6) cm long. Inflorescence a spadix 3–8 cm long, enclosed by a spathe about equally long, partially subterranean and appearing before the leaves; spathe only opening at apex. Flowers unisexual, sessile, with cup-like perianth; male flowers in upper part of spadix, with c. 7 stamens having distinct filaments; female flowers 6–10 together in basal part of spadix, with 2–4-celled ovary, stigma large, discoid to headlike. Fruit a globose berry, several together in a subterranean, globose infructescence, few-seeded. Seed ovoid to ellipsoid, black.
Stylochaeton comprises about 17 species and is confined to sub -Saharan Africa. The orthographic variant Stylochiton is often used in the literature. The inflorescences of Stylochaeton hypogeum appear in the dry season, followed by the leaves in the rainy season.
Stylochaeton hypogeum grows in open forest, shrub vegetation and savanna, on sandy or sandy clay soils, also in flood plains.
Genetic resources and breeding
Stylochaeton hypogeum does not seem to be endangered, despite its use as a vegetable and medicine. Both uses are limited and collection of the plants does not occur at a large scale.
The medicinal properties and chemical composition of Stylochaeton hypogeum and related species are virtually unknown and in need of investigation.
Major references
• Adam, J.G., 1966. Les pâturages naturels et postculturaux de Sénégal. Bulletin de l’Institut Français d’Afrique Noire, Série A, 28: 450–537.
• Adjanohoun, E.J., Adjakidjè, V., Ahyi, M.R.A., Aké Assi, L., Akoègninou, A., d’Almeida, J., Apovo, F., Boukef, K., Chadare, M., Cusset, G., Dramane, K., Eyme, J., Gassita, J.N., Gbaguidi, N., Goudote, E., Guinko, S., Houngnon, P., Lo, I., Keita, A., Kiniffo, H.V., Kone-Bamba, D., Musampa Nseyya, A., Saadou, M., Sodogandji, T., De Souza, S., Tchabi, A., Zinsou Dossa, C. & Zouhon, T., 1989. Contribution aux études ethnobotaniques et floristiques en République Populaire du Bénin. Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique, Paris, France. 895 pp.
• Burkill, H.M., 1985. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 1, Families A–D. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom. 960 pp.
• Burkill, H.M., 2000. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 5, Families S–Z, Addenda. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom. 686 pp.
• Ferry, M.P., Gessain, M. & Gessain, R., 1974. Ethnobotanique Tenda. Documents du Centre de Recherches Anthropologiques du Musée de l’Homme, no. 1, Paris, France. 180 pp.
Other references
• Lemordant, D., 1971. Contribution à l'ethnobotanique éthiopienne. Journal d'Agriculture Tropicale et de Botanique Appliquée 18(1–3): 1–35.
• Lemordant, D., 1971. Contribution à l’ethnobotanique éthiopienne 2. Journal d'Agriculture Tropicale et de Botanique Appliquée 18(4–6): 142–179.
• Mertz, O., Lykke, A.M. & Reenberg, A., 2001. Importance and seasonality of vegetable consumption and marketing in Burkina Faso. Economic Botany 55: 276–289.
• Vanden Berghen, C., 1988. Flore illustrée du Sénégal. Monocotylédones et Ptéridophytes. Volume 9. Monocotylédones: Agavacées à Orchidacées. Gouvernement du Sénégal, Ministère du Développement Rural et de l’Hydraulique, Direction des Eaux et Forêts, Dakar, Senegal. 522 pp.
W.J. van der Burg
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

G.J.H. Grubben
Prins Hendriklaan 24, 1401 AT Bussum, Netherlands
O.A. Denton
National Horticultural Research Institute, P.M.B. 5432, Idi-Ishin, Ibadan, Nigeria
Associate Editors
C.-M. Messiaen
Bat. B 3, Résidence La Guirlande, 75, rue de Fontcarrade, 34070 Montpellier, France
R.R. Schippers
De Boeier 7, 3742 GD Baarn, 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:
van der Burg, W.J., 2004. Stylochaeton hypogeum Lepr. In: Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (Editors). PROTA 2: Vegetables/Légumes. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.