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Useful Tropical Plants

Icacina oliviformis

(Poir.) J.Raynal

Icacinaceae

+ Synonyms

Hirtella oliviformis Poir.

Icacina senegalensis A.Juss.

Common Name: False Yam

Icacina oliviformis
Fruiting stem
Photograph by: Marco Schmidt
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5
Icacina oliviformis Icacina oliviformis

General Information

False yam is an erect, woody herb or scandent shrub producing a number of stems up to 1 metre long from a large, subterranean, long-rooted tuber[
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 popular medicinal plant in its local area, the plant is also sometimes cultivated locally in Senegal for these tubers, which are eaten, especially in times of famine[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].

Known Hazards

The tubers are poisonous raw, and need to be treated before eating them[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. If they are consumed without detoxification colic and dysentery will result, and if eaten in quantity death will follow within a few days332]. The poisonous principle of the tuber is a bitter; an alkaloid is also present, and a gum-resin at 0 .9 - 2 .8% concentration[
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 leaves are toxic to sheep and cause death332].

Botanical References


Range

Tropical Africa - Senegal to S. Nigeria, also Central African Republic and Sudan.

Habitat

Roadsides and waste places in the savannah scrub[
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 weed of cultivation, it is common around villages and on old farmland, especially in yam-fields[
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

Weed PotentialYes
Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitPerennial
Height1.00 m
PollinatorsBees, Flies
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

Grows best in tropical areas with a marked wet and dry season, but with only moderate rainfall of 800 - 1,000mm in the wet season[
429
Title
Root Crops
Publication
 
Author
Kay. D.E. Revised by Gooding. E.G.B.
Publisher
Tropical Development and Crop Research: London.
Year
1987
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on about 40 species of tropical root crops.
].
Requires a sunny position[
429
Title
Root Crops
Publication
 
Author
Kay. D.E. Revised by Gooding. E.G.B.
Publisher
Tropical Development and Crop Research: London.
Year
1987
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on about 40 species of tropical root crops.
].Grows in the wild in light, sandy soils[
429
Title
Root Crops
Publication
 
Author
Kay. D.E. Revised by Gooding. E.G.B.
Publisher
Tropical Development and Crop Research: London.
Year
1987
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on about 40 species of tropical root crops.
].
The plant often becomes a weed. It is very vigorous, rapidly invading newly cleared and cultivated land[
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/
]. Eradication is fraught with difficulty because of its large, or very large, tuber, which may reach 30 - 50 cm diameter, or 25 kg in weight, set 30 cm or so deep in the soil, and with long creeping roots[
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/
].
In Senegal yields have been reported to average 2 - 3 tonnes per hectare, although in some parts of west Africa yields are reported to reach 20 tonnes[
429
Title
Root Crops
Publication
 
Author
Kay. D.E. Revised by Gooding. E.G.B.
Publisher
Tropical Development and Crop Research: London.
Year
1987
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on about 40 species of tropical root crops.
].

Edible Uses

Tubers - used as a famine food[
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.
]. They must be washed, to remove a poisonous bitter compound[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].
The enormous tuber is fleshy and on the whole is poisonous. With suitable treatment it has in the past served as a famine-food. It needs to be cut up and placed in running water for several days to remove the bitterness and to facilitate maceration. When dried it is pounded and the fibres strained out, then boiled down to a paste. The product is mainly starch and is said to be palatable[
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 tubers contain about 10 - 15% of starch, the grains of which are irregular in shape, some spherical and some elliptical, with lengths varying from 12 to 50 microns. Flour manufactured from the tubers has the following approximate composition: water 11.7%; protein 10.3&; fat 0.7%; carbohydrate 74.5%; ash 2.8%; calcium 150 mg/100 g; iron 7 mg/100 g; thiamine 0.04 mg/100 g; riboflavin 0.18 mg/100 g; niacin 1.4 mg/100 g. In addition, a bitter toxic principle, reported to be a gum resin, is present in quantities ranging from 0.9 - 2.8%[
429
Title
Root Crops
Publication
 
Author
Kay. D.E. Revised by Gooding. E.G.B.
Publisher
Tropical Development and Crop Research: London.
Year
1987
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on about 40 species of tropical root crops.
].
As a common weed of many savannah areas, the root could be exploited where crop-failure is likely[
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/
]. Selection for ameliorated strains should be considered[
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 fruit when ripe is red with a thin sweet gelatinous pulp which is edible[
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/
]. It is often eaten bt children[
429
Title
Root Crops
Publication
 
Author
Kay. D.E. Revised by Gooding. E.G.B.
Publisher
Tropical Development and Crop Research: London.
Year
1987
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on about 40 species of tropical root crops.
].

The kernel is eaten in time of dearth after pounding and drying to yield a flour[
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/
]. Normally it is deemed poisonous and is soaked for a week with daily changes of water, then dried in the sun for 2 days and finally ground to flour[
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/
]. It can be prepared with millet or beans (enap) to produce a palatable food said to be 'good enough for guests'[
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

This species is one of the grand panaceas of traditional medicine in western tropical Africa. The leaf, always prescribed alone, is used for the treatment of numerous diverse conditions[
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/
].
Taken internally, a decoction of the leafy twigs is used in the treatment of internal haemorrhages; coughs and all chest affections; as an antidote to snake bites; feverish states[
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/
]. When treating feverish states, it is normally recommended that the patient should also sleep the night on a bed of the newly-cut leaves332].
A decoction of the twigs and roots is given to adults in Senegal for general debility of an undiagnosed origin[
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 leaves are also applied externally in baths and washes[
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 heated leaves are applied topically to points of pain, particularly in elephantiasis, as an analgesic[
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 leaf-sap is used as a treatment for eye infections[
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 considered to be tonic and is put to various medicinal uses[
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 is given by draught for treating dermatitis, headache, chest-complaints, kidney-troubles, senescence, debility, internal pain, 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/
]. It is also given to children with rickets, and is also used against dental caries[
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 root-macerate is given by draught or in baths for general fatigue[
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 tip ends of the roots are used as an abortifacient and as a treatment for impotence[
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

The leaf is used as a container for carrying cashew nuts[
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 leaves are used to blacken pottery[
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 -
Division of the tubers[
429
Title
Root Crops
Publication
 
Author
Kay. D.E. Revised by Gooding. E.G.B.
Publisher
Tropical Development and Crop Research: London.
Year
1987
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on about 40 species of tropical root crops.
].

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