Millettia nitida Benth.
Millettia kueichouensis Hu
Phaseolodes nitidum (Benth.) Kuntze
Marquartia tomentosa Vogel
Callerya nitida is a bushy to climbing shrub with stems that can twine into the surrounding vegetation for support. It can grow 2 - 10 metres tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine.
Although there is one particular threat to the habitat where the taxon is found, the species is not known to be specifically threatened or in decline. Callerya nitida it is known to occur in protected areas and it has a wide distribution range. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
Millettia and related species in general contain a range of toxic substances, especially isoflavones. Rotenone is probably the best known of these isoflavones and it is found especially in the seeds and roots of the plants. Rotenone is often used locally as a fish poison - the rotenone kills or stuns the fish making them easy to catch, but the fish remain perfectly safe for warm-blooded creatures to eat. Rotenone is classified by the World Health Organization as moderately hazardous. It is mildly toxic to humans and other mammals, but extremely toxic to many insects (hence its use as an insecticide) and also to aquatic life, including fish. This higher toxicity in fish and insects is because the lipophilic rotenone is easily taken up through the gills or trachea, but not as easily through the skin or the gastrointestinal tract. The lowest lethal dose for a child is 143 mg/kg, but human deaths from rotenone poisoning are rare because its irritating action causes vomiting. Deliberate ingestion of rotenone, however, can be fatal.
The compound decomposes when exposed to sunlight and usually has an activity of six days in the environment.
Millettia species often also contain other potentially toxic compounds, especially saponins and alkaloids[
E. Asia - southern China
Forest and river valleys[
]. Thickets, lowland sparse woodlands, forest margins, open places on slopes; at elevations up to 1,500 metres[
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
Callerya nitida is found in the warm temperate to tropical zones of southern China and at least some provenances experience frost, with reports that the plant can tolerate occasional short periods with temperatures down to about -8°c[
Species in this genus generally grow best in a sunny position in a fertile, moisture-retentive but well-drained soil[
A variable species, three varieties are recognized in The Flora of China[
A very handsome species, it is very close to the Callerya cinerea group and can only be distinguished without doubt from that group when it is in fruit.
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[
The stem and roots are used medicinally for improving blood circulation[
]. The plant is used to treat anaemia[
]. (the var hirsutissima is specifically mentioned[
Like many species within the family Fabaceae, once they have been dried for storage the seeds of this species may benefit from scarification before sowing in order to speed up and improve germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing[
If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.