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Useful Tropical Plants

Abrus melanospermus

Hassk.

Fabaceae


A variable species, it has been subdivided into 5 subspecies[
308
Title
Flora Zambesiaca
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://apps.kew.org/efloras/fz/intro.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online flora of plants from the Zambezi River basin. It lists a number of the plant uses as well as the habitats and botanical descriptions of the plants.
].
There has been considerable differences of opinion amongst botanists regarding the correct name for this species. We are following the treatment in the African Plant Database[
328
Title
African Flowering Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ville-ge.ch/musinfo/bd/cjb/africa/recherche.php
Publisher
Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques.
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains information on over 150,000 plant names (including synonyms) giving a description and habitat, plus a distribution map.
] and GRIN, though some other authorities recognize Abrus fruticulosus as the correct name[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

+ Synonyms

Abrus cantoniensis Hance

Abrus fruticulosus Wight & Arn.

Abrus gorsei Berhaut

Abrus mollis Hance

Abrus pulchellus Wall. ex Thwaites

Abrus repens Tisser.

Abrus stictospermus Berhaut

Abrus tenuiflorus Spruce ex Benth.

Common Name: Liquorice Root

Abrus melanospermus
Inflorescence of the subspecies suffruticosus
Photograph by: Scamperdale
Creative Commons License

General Information

Liquorice root is a scrambling shrub producing numerous stems up to 6 metres long that either scramble over the ground or twine around other plants for support.
The root is sometimes gathered from the wild and used like liquorice[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
,
308
Title
Flora Zambesiaca
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://apps.kew.org/efloras/fz/intro.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online flora of plants from the Zambezi River basin. It lists a number of the plant uses as well as the habitats and botanical descriptions of the plants.
,
464
Title
A Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon
Publication
 
Author
Trimen H.; continued by Hooker J.D.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Dulau and Co; London.
Year
1898
ISBN
 
Description
Very dated, but still a useful work. It can be downloaded from the Internet.

Range

Tropical Africa - Senegal to Ethiopia, south to Angola and Mozambique; E. Asia - Indian subcontinent, China, Malaysia, Indo-China, Philippines.

Habitat

Valley forests at elevations of 400 - 3,000 metres in southern China[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
]. Secondary vegetation and galleried forest, preferring damp locations[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
HabitClimber
Height5.00 m
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details



This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Edible Uses

The root is used as a substitute for liquorice (Glycyrrhiza spp.)[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
]. This report does not specify if it is used as a food or medicine[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Medicinal

The leaves are diuretic, febrifuge, laxative[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
]. They are used in the treatment of kidney problems, pulmonary troubles etc[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].

The root is used to treat stomach problems[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed -

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