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Useful Tropical Plants

Hydnora africana

Thunb.

Hydnoraceae

+ Synonyms

Aphyteia acharii Steud.

Aphyteia hydnora L.

Common Name:

Hydnora africana
Hydnora africana Hydnora africana Hydnora africana Hydnora africana Hydnora africana Hydnora africana Hydnora africana Hydnora africana

General Information

Hydnora africana is an unmistakable plant - a totally parasitic, perennial that is without any chlorophyll or leaves at all. With its vegetative parts looking more like a fungus, it is one of the strangest plants in the world. Its vegetative plant body is highly reduced and consists of only roots and flowers - it belongs to the only family of angiosperms with no leaves or scales of any sort. Parasitic on the roots of host plants, especially in the family Euphorbiaceae, it has an underground stem, or pseudo-rhizome, that grows into the host's roots and so extracts food. The plant is only seen when the tips of the flowers push out of the ground - even the fruit develops below the soil surface[
398
Title
Edible Wild Plants of Tanzania
Publication
 
Author
Ruffo, C.K.: Birnie, A. & Tengnas, B.
Publisher
Regional Land Management Unit; Nairobi.
Year
2002
ISBN
9966-896-60-0
Description
A very well presented, simple guide to growing and utilizing wild food plants in Tanzania, with line drawings of each plant, a description, habitat and range, non-food as well as food uses, plus basic information on growing the plants.
,
590
Title
The genus Hydnora
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.odu.edu/~lmusselm/plant/parasitic/hydnora_intro.php
Publisher
Old Dominion University
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A downloaded web page giving fairly detailed information on the parasitic genus Hydnore.
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of tannin.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References


Range

Africa - drier areas from Ethiopia south to S. Africa.

Habitat

Semi-arid vegetation which is associated with species of Euphorbia, especially E. mauretanica and E. Tirucalli[
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.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitPerennial
Height0.00 m
PollinatorsBeetles
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details



It is thought that the plant excretes powerful enzymes that dissolve away the hard tissue of the host in order to attach itself[
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.
].
The flowers bear no real resemblance to normal flowers other than being colourful in order to advertise themselves to potential pollinators. White bait bodies are found on the inner base of the flowers. These bodies play a very important role in the life cycle of the plant. They omit a putrid odour to attract various carrion beetles and other insects which become trapped in the flowers. Numerous stiff bristles are found on the inner surface of the perianth lobes which restrain the trapped insect from escaping. After feeding on the bait bodies, the trapped insect drops down the flower tube onto the anthers collecting pollen all over its body. It then drops even further down onto the soft cushion-shaped stigma thus pollinating the flower[
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.
].

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw or cooked[
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.
]. A gelatinous pulp with a slightly sweet and starchy taste[
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.
]. A delicious, sweetish flavour when baked on a fire[
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.
] The fruit pulp can be mixed with cream to make a delicious dessert[
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.
]. Rich in starch[
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.
]. The globose fruits are up to 80mm in diameter, containing up to 20,000 tiny brown seeds per fruit[
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.
].

Medicinal

The fruit is extremely astringent[
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.
]. Diarrhoea, dysentery, kidney and bladder complaints have all been treated with infusions and decoctions of the plant[
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.
].
Infusions used as a face wash also treat acne[
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.
].

Other Uses

The fruit is extremely astringent and has been used as a source of tannins for preserving nets[
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.
].

Propagation

Seed - it is more likely to germinate when in close proximity to a host plant[
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.
]. The germinated seed develops a primary root (primary haustorium) which establishes the first attachment point to the host. After the plant has grown and spread, it may develop several secondary haustoria, attaching itself to the same or different hosts nearby[
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. 2019-01-19. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Hydnora+africana>

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