Mucuna kraetkei Warb.
Mucuna lenticellosa K.Schum.
Common Name: New Guinea Creeper
Mucuna novo-guineensis is a vigorous climbing shrub with twining stems that can be 30 metres long and 5cm wide near the base[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a drink, medicine and source of materials. A very ornamental plant, valued especially for its spectacular inflorescences, it is often grown in gardens[
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[
The hairs can contaminate clothes or other objects, and remain active when dried, though they can be destroyed by heat[
]. 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[
Southeast Asia - Indonesia to New Guinea
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Mucuna species generally grow best in a shady position in a humus-rich, moist but well-drained soil[
]. This species is found in the wild in stoney clay, limestone, granite, volcanic and sedimentary soils[
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[
The sap is drunk by men during ceremonial occasions[
]. This is probably either as an endurance test or for some effect upon the mind[
]. Sap is watery, colourless or milky at first slowly turning to red and later to black[
The crushed root is taken internally to treat shortness of breath[
The stems are used for lashing and for traditional bridge construction[
The sap is used for dying stringbags[
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