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Record display

Trachyphrynium braunianum (K.Schum.) Baker

Oliv., Fl. trop. Afr. 7: 319 (1898).
Chromosome number
2n = 22.
Hybophrynium braunianum K.Schum. (1892).
Origin and geographic distribution
Trachyphrynium braunianum is distributed from Guinea and Sierra Leone eastward to Sudan and Uganda and southward to Cabinda (Angola).
The stems are widely used for tying and for plaiting mats, baskets, strainers, beehives and traps for fish and rats. In Ghana the stem and leaves are used for thatching huts for temporary use. In DR Congo the stems are used as rafters before the thatch is placed. In Gabon they form part of the main frame of huts and are used as support for daubed clay in walls. In Nigeria the stems are used as stakes in yam cropping. The leaves are widely used for wrapping food products.
The fruit is eaten in DR Congo. The Baka people in Cameroon consume the roasted seeds as a snack. In Ghana the aril is eaten and the seeds are used for making beads and necklaces. The flowers yield bee forage.
In Ghana young shoots are chewed with kola nuts as an aphrodisiac. In Nigeria the root and fruit are used as ingredients of mixtures to promote the growth of the foetus, and the aril is taken for the treatment of cough. In Congo a decoction of the twigs is drunk against hernia and stomach-ache, and the heated and pulped leaves are used as a poultice for dried and cracked soles of the feet. Sap from the root, often mixed with that of other Marantaceae, is given for the treatment of insanity, and a mixture of the roasted and pulverized root with salt and seeds of Aframomum melegueta K.Schum. is rubbed into scarifications for the treatment of rheumatism. In DR Congo a poultice of the leaves is applied as an anti-inflammatory.
Production and international trade
In 2006 bunches of leaves to be used for food wrapping were sold at a price of US$ 0.22 in the markets of Kisangani and Mbandaka (DR Congo).
Tests for the presence of alkaloids, flavonoids, saponins, quinones, tannins and terpenes all gave negative results.
Adulterations and substitutes
A good substitute of Trachyphrynium braunianum is Hypselodelphys violacea (Ridl.) Milne-Redh. (synonym: Trachyphrynium violaceum Ridl.), which has similar uses, particularly for basket making and in construction. Rattans are also used similarly.
Perennial, woody herb with bamboo-like shoots up to 4.5(–10) m tall, forming thickets; rhizome creeping, much branched; stems erect or supported by other plants, below simple and clothed with sheathing cataphylls up to 21 cm long, above branched and leafy. Leaves distichous; petiole sheathing below, jointed shortly above the top of the sheath, above the joint 0.5–1.5 cm long and calloused, joining the base of the midvein without interruption; blade oblong-elliptical, slightly asymmetrical, with the more curved margin nearer to the stem, very variable in size, 5.5–20 cm × 2–10 cm, base rounded or cordate, apex shortly acuminate, glabrous, with numerous parallel lateral veins at c. 45° from the midvein. Inflorescence terminal, spike-like, up to 20 cm long, simple or sometimes branched at the base, with at every node an abaxial, caducous bract 15–25 mm long enveloping a cymule; cymules 2-flowered, with an adaxial bract; peduncle of cymule 2–4 mm long. Flowers bisexual, zygomorphic, 2–2.5 cm long, white, sometimes tinged pink or purple; bracteole 1, fleshy, c. 2 mm long; sepals free, equal; corolla tubular below, with 3 lobes; staminodes and stamen in 2 cycles, at the base forming a tube fused to the corolla tube, outer cycle consisting of 2 petaloid staminodes, inner cycle consisting of 1 stamen and 2 staminodes, of which 1 hooded with a spur-like appendage; ovary inferior, papillose, 3-locular. Fruit a dehiscent capsule c. 1.5 cm × 1.5 cm, muricate, orange-yellow, 1–3-seeded, lobed if more than 1-seeded, obovoid or lobes obovoid. Seeds ellipsoid or obovoid, c. 7 mm in diameter, smooth, glossy black or brownish, with a basal, brownish white aril.
Other botanical information
The genus Trachyphrynium is monotypic. Several related species were previously classified in Trachyphrynium, but these are now reclassified into Haumania or Hypselodelphys. Recent phylogenetic studies indicated much similarity between Trachyphrynium and Hypselodelphys.
Growth and development
In Benin flowering is in August, and fruiting in August–December.
Trachyphrynium braunianum occurs from sea level up to 1200 m altitude in wet locations in rainforest, gallery forest, secondary forest and cleared land.
Propagation and planting
Trachyphrynium braunianum reproduces naturally by seeds or suckers.
In south-eastern Ghana the presence of Trachyphrynium braunianum is associated with high soil fertility, and during land clearance the plant is usually preserved as it is considered to be beneficial for soil fertility.
Leaves and stems are carefully cut with a knife or cutlass without killing the plant.
Genetic resources
Trachyphrynium braunianum is generally abundantly available in its distribution area. In Togo, however, the plant is classified as rare.
In spite of its local importance for rural communities, Trachyphrynium braunianum has rarely been studied, and therefore very little information is available on this plant, especially with respect to properties and management.
Major references
• Andersson, L. & Chase, M.W., 2001. Phylogeny and classification of Marantaceae. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 135(3): 275–287.
• Burkill, H.M., 1997. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 4, Families M–R. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 969 pp.
• Dhetchuvi, M.J.B., 1996. Taxonomie et phytogéographie des Marantaceae et Zingiberaceae de l’Afrique Centrale (Gabon, Congo, Zaïre, Rwanda et Burundi). PhD thesis, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium. 438 pp.
• Hepper, F.N., 1968. Marantaceae. In: Hepper, F.N. (Editor). Flora of West Tropical Africa. Volume 3, part 1. 2nd Edition. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. pp. 79–89.
• Koechlin, J., 1965. Marantaceae. Flore du Cameroun. Volume 4. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. pp. 99–157.
• Milne-Redhead, E., 1952. Marantaceae. In: Turrill, W.B. & Milne-Redhead, E. (Editors). Flora of Tropical East Africa. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. 11 pp.
• Prince, L.M. & Kress, J., 2006a. Phylogenetic relationships and classification in Marantaceae: insights from plastid DNA sequence data. Taxon 55(2): 281–296.
• Prince, L.M. & Kress, J., 2006b. Phylogeny and biogeography of the prayer plant family: getting to the root problem in Marantaceae. Aliso 22: 645–659.
• Raponda-Walker, A. & Sillans, R., 1961. Les plantes utiles du Gabon. Paul Lechevalier, Paris, France. 614 pp.
Other references
• Akoègninou, A., van der Burg, W.J. & van der Maesen, L.J.G. (Editors), 2006. Flore analytique du Bénin. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands. 1034 pp.
• Amanor, K.S., 1991. Managing the fallow: weeding technology and environmental knowledge in the Krobo District of Ghana. Agriculture and Human Values 8(1–2): 5–13.
• Anonymous, 2003. Stratégie de conservation et d’utilisation durables de la diversité biologique. Ministère de l’Environnement et des Ressources Forestières, Lomé, Togo. 132 pp.
• Bouquet, A. & Debray, M., 1974. Plantes médicinales de la Côte d’Ivoire. Travaux et Documents No 32. ORSTOM, Paris, France. 231 pp.
• Brisson, R., 1988. Utilisation des plantes par les pygmées Baka: textes pour l’étude de la langue. Collège Liberman, Douala, Cameroon. 355 pp.
• Cabezas, F.J., de la Estrella, M., Aedo, C. & Velayos, M., 2005. Marantaceae of Equatorial Guinea. Annales Botanici Fennici 42(3): 173–184.
• Dhetchuvi, M.M., 1993. Biologie et usage de quelques espèces de Marantaceae au Zaïre. Belgian Journal of Botany 126(2): 209–216.
• d’Oliveira Feijão, R., 1961. Elucidário fitológico. Plantas vulgares de Portugal continental, insular e ultramarino. Classificão, nomes vernáculos e aplicações. Volume 2, I-O. Instituto Botânico de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal. 462 pp.
• Hattori, S., 2006. Utilization of Marantaceae plants by the Baka hunter-gatherers in southeastern Cameroon. African Study Monographs, Supplement 33: 29–48.
• Kawukpa, U.U. & Angoyo, M.M., 1994. Plantes utiles chez les Batiabetuwa de l’Ile de Mbie, Kisangani, Zaire. African Study Monographs 15(2): 49–68.
• Koni Muluwa, J. & Bostoen, K., 2008. Noms et usages des plantes utiles chez les Nsong (RD Congo, Bandundu, bantu B85F). Göteborg Africana Informal Series No 6. Department of Oriental and African Languages, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. 65 pp.
• Ku Mbuta, K., Mwima, K., Bitengeli, M., Y’okolo, I., Kavuna, M., Mandanga, M., Kalambayi, M., Izamajole, N., Kazembe, K., Booto, K., Vasaki, N., Mwabonsika, B. & Lody, D., 2008. Recueil des plantes utilisées en médecine traditionnelle Congolaise. Vol.1. Province de l’Equateur. Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé. 404 pp.
• Liengola, I.B., 2001. Contribution à l’étude des plantes alimentaires spontanées chez les Turumbu et Lokele du District de la Tshopo, Province Orientale, R.D. Congo. Systematics and Geography of Plants 71(2): 687–698.
• Lubini, A., 1994. Utilisation de plantes par les Yansi del’entre Kwilu-Kasai (Zaire). In: Seyani, J.H. & Chikuni, A.C. (Editors). Proceedings of the 13th plenary meeting of AETFAT, Zomba, Malawi. Volume 1. National Herbarium and Botanic Gardens of Malawi, Zomba, Malawi. pp. 53–74.
• Milne-Redhead, E., 1950. Notes on African Marantaceae I. Kew Bulletin 5(2): 157–163.
• Neuwinger, H.D., 2000. African traditional medicine: a dictionary of plant use and applications. Medpharm Scientific, Stuttgart, Germany. 589 pp.
• Thornell, C., 2005. Des plantes à l’état sauvage chez le peuple Mpiemo: leurs noms et leurs usages. Göteborg Africana Informal Series No 5. Department of Oriental and African Languages, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. 99 pp.
• Toirambe Bamoninga, B., 2007. Analyse de l’état des lieux du secteur des produits forestiers non ligneux et évaluation de leur contribution à la sécurité alimentaire en République Démocratique du Congo. Projet GCP/RAF/398/GER, Renforcement de la sécurité alimentaire en Afrique Centrale à travers la gestion et l’utilisation durable des Produits Forestiers Non Ligneux. 76 pp.
• White, L. & Abernethy, K., 1997. A guide to the vegetation of the Lopé Reserve, Gabon. 2nd edition. Wildlife Conservation Society, New York, United States. 224 pp.
• Zapfack, L., Ayeni, J.S.O., Besong, S. & Mdaihli, M., 2001. Ethnobotanical survey of the Takamanda Forest Reserve. Consultancy report submitted to PROFA (MINEF-GTZ), Mamfe, Cameroon. 90 pp.
Sources of illustration
• Akoègninou, A., van der Burg, W.J. & van der Maesen, L.J.G. (Editors), 2006. Flore analytique du Bénin. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands. 1034 pp.
V.A. Kémeuzé
Millennium Ecologic Museum, B.P. 8038, Yaoundé, Cameroon

M. Brink
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
E.G. Achigan Dako
PROTA Network Office Africa, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), P.O. Box 30677-00100, Nairobi, Kenya

Correct citation of this article:
Kémeuzé, V.A., 2010. Trachyphrynium braunianum (K.Schum.) Baker. In: Brink, M. & Achigan-Dako, E.G. (Editors). Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes à fibres. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.
Distribution Map wild

1, part of flowering stem; 2, part of flower; 3, fruit.
Source: Flore analytique du Bénin