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Useful Tropical Plants

Harrisonia abyssinica

Oliv.

Rutaceae


Some authorities place this genus in the family Cneoraceae[
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.
].

+ Synonyms

Clausena impunctata Welw. ex Hiern

Harrisonia occidentalis Engl.

Zanthoxylum guineense Stapf

Common Name:

Harrisonia abyssinica
Flowers
Photograph by: Ton Rulkens
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0
Harrisonia abyssinica Harrisonia abyssinica

General Information

Harrisonia abyssinica is a spiny, evergreen shrub that branches fron the base, or can become a spreading, much-branched tree; it usually grows up to 6 metres tall, though some trees have been reported to reach 13 metres. The bole and larger branches have thorns up to 2cm long growing on conical corky outgrowths[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The plant is widely used in traditional medicine in many parts of Africa, the roots being sold for medicinal use in many local markets[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. The tree also provides food and wood for the local population and is used as a living fence and to provide shade around homesteads[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

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.

Range

Tropical Africa - Sierra Leone to Cameroon; then Sudan and Ethiopia south through Uganda and Kenya to Angola, Zambia and Mozambique.

Habitat

Dry evergreen forest; forest edges and clearings, transition zones between forest and savannah; wooded grassland; thickets; secondary formations; coastal bushland; riparian forest; sometimes forming thickets at elevations to 1,700 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 *  *
HabitEvergreen Shrub
Height5.00 m
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

A plant of low to moderate elevations in the arid to moist tropics, the mean annual rainfall within its area of distribution ranges between 150 - 2,000mm[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The plant is a strong grower and the roots spread widely[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. It may form dense thickets on eroded soils[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Edible Uses

The fruits are edible[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. The red to black, fleshy, globose globose berry is 4 - 9mm in diameter containing 4 - 8 small seeds[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Medicinal

Harrisonia abyssinica is a popular traditional medicine in many parts of Africa, where the roots and the leaves are used in the treatment of a wide range of ailments. Considerable research has been carried out into the active compounds contained in the plant, much of which has supported the plant's traditional uses.
Many pharmacologically active compounds have been isolated from the root and stem barks; these comprise mainly limonoids, which are highly oxygenated terpenoids, plus several other terpenoids, steroids and chromone derivatives[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
A methanolic root extract showed significant antiplasmodial activity against chloroquine-sensitive and chloroquine-resistant strains of Plasmodium falciparum[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. The methanolic and water extracts from the stem bark showed moderate antiplasmodial activity in vitro, and low toxicity in the brine shrimp toxicity test[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Crude and methanolic root extracts have shown significant in-vitro antibacterial activity against different strains of Helicobacter pylori, but the effect on a large number of strains of other bacteria was very small[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Methanolic root and stem bark extracts have shown significant control of Giardia lamblia (a parasite causing gastroenteritis) in vitro[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Methanolic root extracts have shown significant cytotoxic activity against several human cell lines[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
A methanolic leaf extract showed no cytotoxicity, but significant antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli and Mycobacterium phlei, as well as moderate antiviral activity against Herpes simplex. The antibacterial activities are mainly due to the limonoids[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Ethanolic leaf extracts did not show significant antibacterial, antitrypanosomal or antiplasmodial activities[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Root bark and twig extracts have shown significant antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus in vitro and moderate activity against Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bacteria responsible for the disease gonorrhoea[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
A methanol extract of dried root bark showed significant antifungal activity against Trichophyton mentagrophyte and Candida albicans[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Crude root extracts have shown strong insect antifeedant activities[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Throughout tropical Africa the root, in the form of a powder, a decoction, or an infusion, is taken to treat a wide range of diseases. It is used in most areas in the treatment of venereal diseases, fevers and malaria, diarrhoea, urinary problems and intestinal worms; whilst more regionally the root is used when treating coughs and whooping cough; dysmenorrhoea; dizziness; insomnia; nausea; vomiting; bubonic plague; snake bites; hernia; swollen testicles; cancer and tuberculosis. It is also taken to induce abortion. It is used in the form of nose drops to treat insanity, whilst smoke from burning root bark is used to treat hookworm infections. The roots and bark are crushed and soaked in water and drunk to purify and strengthen the body. The root is also used as a rubefacient[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The root powder is applied to incisions to treat migraine[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. The roots are also used to make a wash to disinfect wounds and abscesses[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

A leaf and twig decoction is used to treat a range of complaints including venereal diseases, fever and malaria, diarrhoea, haemorrhoids, diabetes, urinary problems, general body pain and intestinal worms[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The leaves are used as a wash throughout tropical Africa in order to disinfect wounds and abscesses[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. The pulpued leaves are used as a poultice on snakebites[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

Pruned trees and shrubs are used as living fences[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The plant has wide-spreading roots and can form dense thickets on eroded soils[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. This could make it useful as a soil stabilizer, especially on eroded slopes[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Other Uses

The wood is easy to work, durable and resistant to fungi, termites and wood borers. It is used for making stools, bows, in house construction etc[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. In Ghana the stems, with the bark removed, are used to make state umbrellas and as the supports of chiefs' palanquins[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The wood is used for fuel[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Propagation

Seed -
Stem cuttings root easily when treated with the rooting hormone[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

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