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Useful Tropical Plants

Mucuna gigantea

(Willd.) DC.

Fabaceae

+ Synonyms

Dolichos giganteus Willd.

Mucuna longipedicellata Hauman

Mucuna quadrialata Baker

Common Name:

Mucuna gigantea
Ripening seedpods
Photograph by: Unknown
Image credit to Australian National Botanic Gardens
Mucuna gigantea Mucuna gigantea Mucuna gigantea Mucuna gigantea Mucuna gigantea Mucuna gigantea Mucuna gigantea Mucuna gigantea

General Information

Mucuna gigantea is a rampant, woody climbing plant producing stems 8 - 15 metres or more long and up to 10cm in diameter[
308
Title
Flora Zambesiaca
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://apps.kew.org/efloras/fz/intro.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online flora of plants from the Zambezi River basin. It lists a number of the plant uses as well as the habitats and botanical descriptions of the plants.
,
440
Title
Brisbane Rainforest Action and Information Network,
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.brisrain.webcentral.com.au
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Information on plants in the Queensland Rainforests.
,
713
Title
Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.anbg.gov.au/cpbr/cd-keys/rfk/index.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online resource giving botanical information, and a little bit about plant usage, for over 2,700 species of plants found in the Australian rainforest.
].
The plant is sometimes gathered from the wild for its edible seeds and local medicinal uses.

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.
].
These hairs are mentioned as being used in criminal poisoning in Malaysia[
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.
].
Because of the presence of toxic compounds in the plant, it seems advisable to eat the seed only after prolonged soaking and boiling[
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.
].

Botanical References

308
Title
Flora Zambesiaca
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://apps.kew.org/efloras/fz/intro.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online flora of plants from the Zambezi River basin. It lists a number of the plant uses as well as the habitats and botanical descriptions of the plants.

Range

Mainly coastal from east Africa through the Indian and Pacific Oceans to Australia and the Pacific Islands.

Habitat

Bushland, forest edges, riverine and coastal moist forests, coastal scrub, river banks; usually by water; often extending to the foreshore; usually at elevations from sea level to 300 metres, but is also found at elevations up to 1,800 metres inland[
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 *  *
HabitClimber
Height10.00 m
Growth RateFast
PollinatorsHumming birds
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

A plant mainly of tropical lowland areas, but is also found at elevations up to 1,800 metres in Africa.
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.
].
Initial growth of the plant is rapid - seedlings may attain a height of more than 1 metre within 3 weeks[
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 seeds are dispersed by sea currents[
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.
].
All green plant parts, including the flowers, become black when bruised or dried[
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 very variable plant[
308
Title
Flora Zambesiaca
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://apps.kew.org/efloras/fz/intro.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online flora of plants from the Zambezi River basin. It lists a number of the plant uses as well as the habitats and botanical descriptions of the plants.
].
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

Seeds - cooked[
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.
,
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.
,
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 boiled seeds are sometimes eaten as a pulse[
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.
]. Aboriginals in Australia used to heat the seeds on hot stones or sand, remove the peel, and grind them to flour, which was then mixed with water, wrapped in leaves and baked[
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.
].
Because of the presence of toxic compounds in the plant, it seems advisable to eat the seed only after prolonged soaking and boiling[
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

A decoction of the root is taken to treat gonorrhoea and schistosomiasis[
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 bark is applied externally to treat rheumatic complaints[
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 powdered bark is mixed with dry ginger and used in rheumatic complaints by rubbing it over the affected parts[
440
Title
Brisbane Rainforest Action and Information Network,
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.brisrain.webcentral.com.au
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Information on plants in the Queensland Rainforests.
].

The powdered seed is used as a purgative[
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 seeds contain 1.7 - 2% L-dopa (levodopa; L-3, 4-dihydroxyphenylalanine), an amino acid which stimulates the formation of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain[
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.
]. Dopamine lessens the tremors experienced in Parkinson’s disease. However, opinions differ on the side effects and efficacy in the long run of L-dopa[
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:

A fast-growing plant, it is useful for quickly producing a screen[
440
Title
Brisbane Rainforest Action and Information Network,
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.brisrain.webcentral.com.au
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Information on plants in the Queensland Rainforests.
]. Some caution is advised in this use due to the presence of irritant hairs on the seedpods[
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 irritant hairs on the outside of the pods are mixed with food to get rid of rats[
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 - germinates quickly if the seed coat is scarified by making a small nick in it prior to sowing[
440
Title
Brisbane Rainforest Action and Information Network,
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.brisrain.webcentral.com.au
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Information on plants in the Queensland Rainforests.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2019-06-17. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Mucuna+gigantea>

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