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Useful Tropical Plants

Cussonia arborea

Hochst. ex A.Rich.

Araliaceae

+ Synonyms

Cussonia barteri Seem.

Cussonia delevoyi De Wild.

Cussonia djalonensis A.Chev.

Cussonia hamata Harms

Cussonia homblei De Wild.

Cussonia kirkii Seem.

Cussonia laciniata Harms

Cussonia longissima Hutch. & Dalziel

Cussonia nigerica Hutch.

Cussonia tisserantii Aubrév. & Pellegr.

Common Name:

Cussonia arborea
Tree growing in native habitat
Photograph by: Robert v. Blittersdorff; African plants - A Photo Guide
© Robert v. Blittersdorff
Cussonia arborea Cussonia arborea

General Information

Cussonia arborea is a deciduous tree sometimes growing up to 13 metres tall. The bole is crooked and can be up to 100cm in diameter with a very thick, corky bark[
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.
,
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/
,
610
Title
Flora of Tropical East Africa
Publication
 
Author
Beentje H.J.
Website
http://plants.jstor.org/search?st=396814
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
Available on-line, a modern flora of East Africa.
]. The tree becomes completely defoliated during the dry season, and the thick stumpy branches sticking up into the sky, which resemble amputated and deformed limbs, invoke various common names in Africa such as ‘stump of an amputated limb'; 'cut hand' and 'leper’s hand'[
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 plant is harvested from the wild for local use, mainly as a medicine but also as a source of gum, wood, potash and ink.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

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.
,
515
Title
Flora of Tropical Africa Vol 1 - 8
Publication
 
Author
Var
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
L.Reeve & Co.; Ashford, Kent.
Year
1868 - 1917
ISBN
 
Description
Very little information on habitat, range and uses, but gives good descriptions of the plants. It can be downloaded from the internet.
,
610
Title
Flora of Tropical East Africa
Publication
 
Author
Beentje H.J.
Website
http://plants.jstor.org/search?st=396814
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
Available on-line, a modern flora of East Africa.

Range

Tropical Africa - Sierra Leone to Sudan and Ethiopia, south to Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

Habitat

Woodland, wooded grassland; rocks; on red acid clay, laterite; sometimes on termite mounds; forest gallery; tall grass savannah; rocky steep hillsides with Combretum; Erythrina abyssinica woodland; at elevations from 200 - 2,470 metres[
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.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitDeciduous Tree
Height8.00 m
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

Not known

Edible Uses

Fruit[
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/
]. Only eaten when better foods are not available[
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/
].

Medicinal

Because of the likeness of the defoliated tree to deformed limbs, and based on the 'Theory of Signatures', the plant is often used in Africa in the treatment of leprosy. Most commonly, the stem is macerated and taken as a purgative and is also applied externally as a lotion; the leprous sores may also be dressed with the powdered stem-bark[
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 leafy twigs are used with magical rites in the treatment of 'yellow fever', oedemas, paralysis and sleeping-sickness[
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 water in which the leaves have been boiled is purgative and is taken as a remedy for constipation[
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 pulped up young shoots are eaten as a remedy for diarrhoea[
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/
].
A decoction of the leaves is used as an eye-wash for treating conjunctivitis, and as a massage in cases of epilepsy in both adults and children[
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 plant is an emeto-purgative and diuretic, and these cleansing actions upon the body are used in the treatment of various complaints. The plant is also prescribed as a poison-antidote and is used in the treatment of fevers[
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/
].

Root and stem-decoctions are given as a remedy for painful menstruation, and a root-decoction is used as an emetic for treating biliousness[
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 prepared in vapour-baths in the treatment of gonorrhoea[
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/
].

Unspecified parts of the plant are used in the treatment of urethral discharge in women, and are taken by men as an aphrodisiac[
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 plant does not appear to have any marked physiological activity. It is more or less atoxic, and chemical analysis of material from Cote D'Ivoire has shown no alkaloid, glycoside or saponoside present[
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/
].
A trace of alkaloid is reported in Nigerian material[
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

A black ink is prepared from a decoction of the wood[
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 wood-ash is rich in potash and is used as a mordant with indigo dyes[
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 ash is used to make soap with the oil of Carapa procera[
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 bark, when slashed, exudes a gum which appears to be somewhat variable: from some trees it is said to form into 'pencils', whilst from others it is a sticky ropy juice[
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 gum has a slightly irritant property[
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 wood is dirty white, soft, brittle and rots easily. As timber it is of little value. Some tribes hollow it out to make quivers and trumpets[
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 wood of this or another species is used to make cases in which to keep gunpowder and cartridges dry[
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/
].

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as possible because it loses much of its viability within 3 months. However, seed sown in summer months will germinate faster (in about 4 weeks) than seed sown in winter (7 weeks to germination). Sow the seed in seed trays in a semi-shaded position, ensuring at least 15cm depth of soil to allow the small tubers to form. Do not allow seed to become waterlogged or dry out. Seedlings can be transplanted at about 4 months, but be very careful not to damage the fleshy roots when transplanting[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2018-12-16. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Cussonia+arborea>

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