Mucuna reticulata is a slender climbing shrub with twining stems up to 6 metres long.
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine.
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 (Celebes), Philippines
Primary and secondary forests; at elevations up to 900 metres[
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 on coral limestome soils[
The seed is used in the treatment of diarrhoea[
If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.