Courbonia pseudopetalosa Gilg & Gilg-Ben.
Courbonia virgata Brongn.
Maerua pseudopetalosa is a perennial woody herb or subshrub with ascending branches, growing 30 - 60 cm tall, from a woody thickened root[
The plant is gathered from the wild and used to precipitate solids in water to make it potable[
]. The plant is also occasionally used medicinally and as an emergency food in times of need[
Tetramethylammonium iodide, known as tetramine for short, is reported present in the tuberous root, shoot and leaf. This substance has proved fatal to humans within a quarter hour[
Di-, tri- and tetra-methylamine hydroxide have also been found[
Tropical Africa - semi-arid areas from Senegal to Ethiopia, south to Kenya.
Deciduous bushland and grassland with scattered trees, often on termite-mounds; at elevations of 700 - 1,350 metres[
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A plant of medium elevations in the drier tropics.
The plant is eaten, but only as a famine-food and after careful preparation to remove a toxic principle[
]. See notes above on toxicity.
The fruit is eaten in Sudan 'to make one strong'[
The root, when chewed, has a bitter taste at first but this is followed by a sweetness[
]. The root is sometimes used to make sweet drinks, a practice that surely needs viewing with caution[
The ashes of the stems and leaves are used as a salt substitute[
Any internal use of this plant should be viewed with caution, see notes above on toxicity.
The fruits and roots are used in a topical application to the chest for treating coughs[
The bark is used medicinally by Masai medicine men[
The vegetative parts of the plant contain 14·5% fats[
]. The seed-husk and seed-kernel are also oil-bearing[
The root is said to be an efficient precipitant of suspensions in water and is used in water purification and storage in rural areas[
]. The related plants, M. subcordata and M. glauca are said to be used in E Africa for clearing water muddied by cattle[
]. The roots are chopped up and thrown into the water[
]. The chemicals in them carry a heavy charge of ions[
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