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Useful Tropical Plants

Mucuna urens

(L.) Medik.

Fabaceae

+ Synonyms

Dolichos altissimus Jacq.

Dolichos urens L.

Mucuna altissima (Jacq.) DC.

Stizolobium altissimum (Jacq.) Pers.

Stizolobium urens (Jacq.) Pers.

Common Name:

Mucuna urens
Mucuna urens Mucuna urens

General Information

Mucuna urens is a vigorous climbing shrub, climbing over tall trees[
342
Title
Flora of Jamaica
Publication
 
Author
Fawcett. W. & Rendle. A. B.
Publisher
British Museum
Year
1910
ISBN
 
Description
Rather dated, so many name changes. Nevertheless, a very good guide to the plants of the Caribbean. The book is out of copyright and can be legally downloaded from various websites.
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine, source of beads and fibre, and possibly also as a food.

Known Hazards

Mucuna species often possess irritant hairs on the seedpods and sometimes on the flowers and other parts. These hairs consist of 1-2 small basal cells and a large needle-like top cell. The top cell breaks off easily, piercing the skin and injecting chemical compounds that are present in the hairs. The proteolytic enzyme 'Mucunain' is said to be the active agent[
1533
Title
Notes on Malesian Fabaceae (Leguminosae-Papilionoideae) 16. The genus Mucuna
Publication
Blumea 61, 2016: 90-124
Author
Wiriadinata H.; Ohashi H.; Adema F.
Website
http://dx.doi.org/10.3767/000651916X692799
Publisher
 
Year
2016
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent treatment
].
The hairs can contaminate clothes or other objects, and remain active when dried, though they can be destroyed by heat[
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.
,
374
Title
Contact-Poisonous Plants of the World
Publication
 
Author
Rohde. M.
Website
http://mic-ro.com/plants/
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
A document on the internet. Gives brief information on about 35 species of plants that can cause severe problems from a single contact with the skin.
,
1309
Title
The Leguminosae; A Source Book of Characteristics, Uses and Nodulation
Publication
 
Author
Allen O.N.; Allen E.K.
Publisher
University of Wisconsin
Year
1981
ISBN
0-333-32221-5
Description
An amazing and comprehensive work, giving a brief guide to the many genera of the family Fabaceae and also the principle uses of the genus.
]. Intense itching, with reddening of the skin and small papules or urticaria occur a few minutes after contact with the hairy parts of the plant. There is no serious danger, unless the hairs get into the eye, in which case, in extreme situations, they have caused blindness. To remove the hairs from the skin, adhesive tape and washing with water and soap are considered useful. Dermatitis can be treated with corticosteroid ointment. See a doctor immediately if hairs go into the eyes[
374
Title
Contact-Poisonous Plants of the World
Publication
 
Author
Rohde. M.
Website
http://mic-ro.com/plants/
Publisher
 
Year
2006
ISBN
 
Description
A document on the internet. Gives brief information on about 35 species of plants that can cause severe problems from a single contact with the skin.
].

Botanical References

342
Title
Flora of Jamaica
Publication
 
Author
Fawcett. W. & Rendle. A. B.
Publisher
British Museum
Year
1910
ISBN
 
Description
Rather dated, so many name changes. Nevertheless, a very good guide to the plants of the Caribbean. The book is out of copyright and can be legally downloaded from various websites.
,
369
Title
Flora of Costa Rica
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C.
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
Field Museum of Natural History; Chicago
Year
1938
ISBN
 
Description
Rather dated, but an excellent treatment of the area. Available for download from the internet.

Range

S. America - Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, the Guyanas; C. America - Panama to Guatemala; Caribbean - Trinidad to Cuba.

Habitat

Forests and thickets, usually at low elevations but sometimes ascending to 1,800 metres[
369
Title
Flora of Costa Rica
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C.
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
Field Museum of Natural History; Chicago
Year
1938
ISBN
 
Description
Rather dated, but an excellent treatment of the area. Available for download from the internet.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitClimber
Height15.00 m
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details


Succeeds in full sun and in partial shade. Mucuna species generally grow best in a shady position in a humus-rich, moist but well-drained soil[
974
Title
Encyclopedia of Tropical Plants - Identification and Cultivation of over 3,000 Tropical Plants
Publication
 
Author
Ahmed Fayaz
Publisher
Firefly Books Ltd.; New Zealand
Year
2011
ISBN
978-1-55407-489
Description
A good photograph and terse but detailed information for over 3,000 species of tropical plants. An excellent reference.
].
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria; these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
755
Title
Nodulation Plants in GRIN Taxonomy
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ars-grin.gov/~sbmljw/cgi-bin/taxnodul.pl?language=en
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database listing plants that have either positive or negative reports on root and stem nodulation with nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
].

Edible Uses

Seed[
2
Title
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Hedrick. U. P.
Publisher
Dover Publications
Year
1972
ISBN
0-486-20459-6
Description
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
]. The dried seeds are ground to produce a flour, which is used as food in times of famine caused by drought[
528
Title
Indicador de Madeiras e Plantas Uteis do Brasil.
Publication
 
Author
Fonseca E. T. De
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
 
Year
1922
ISBN
 
Description
Brief details of some of the uses of Brazilian plants. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The seeds are considered edible by some, poisonous by others[
2
Title
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Hedrick. U. P.
Publisher
Dover Publications
Year
1972
ISBN
0-486-20459-6
Description
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
]. Even if it is edible, it is likely to require thorough cooking in order to destroy any harmful compounds[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Medicinal

The root is mixed with honey and used to combat cholera[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

The hairs from the seedpod are mixed in molasses syrup and then drunk as a vermifuge to expel intestinal worms, with a chaser of rhubarb juice[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

A cataplasm of the bark and ground seeds is recommended for the treatment of inguinal hernia[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

The seed is used for the treatment of itches[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

A coldwater infusion of the crushed leaves is used as a wash to relieve abdominal pains[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

The sap from the cut stems is rubbed on sprains, rheumatic areas, contusions and sore muscles; and is used for the treatment of children's fevers[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

The plant contains physostigmine[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].
The seeds contain the amino acid L-dopa (levodopa), which stimulates the formation of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain[
1533
Title
Notes on Malesian Fabaceae (Leguminosae-Papilionoideae) 16. The genus Mucuna
Publication
Blumea 61, 2016: 90-124
Author
Wiriadinata H.; Ohashi H.; Adema F.
Website
http://dx.doi.org/10.3767/000651916X692799
Publisher
 
Year
2016
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent treatment
].

Other Uses

The seeds are used in necklaces and ornaments[
346
Title
Economic Plants in Jamaica
Publication
 
Author
Fawcett. W.
Publisher
Government of Jamaica, Kingston.
Year
1891
ISBN
 
Description
A nice little guide giving a terse description and details of useful plants grown economically in Jamaica. Rather dated, so many of the names have been changed since then. Also available for download from the Internet.
].

A fibre from the stems is used to make very strong ropes[
454
Title
Useful Fiber Plants of the World
Publication
 
Author
Dodge C.R.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
USDA; Washington.
Year
1897
ISBN
 
Description
A rather dated, but very comprehensive catalogue of fibre plants from around the world. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
,
528
Title
Indicador de Madeiras e Plantas Uteis do Brasil.
Publication
 
Author
Fonseca E. T. De
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
 
Year
1922
ISBN
 
Description
Brief details of some of the uses of Brazilian plants. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Propagation

Seed -
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2018-12-16. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Mucuna%20urens>

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