Landolphia florida senegalensis (A.DC.) Hallier f.
Landolphia senegalensis (A.DC.) Kotschy & Peyr.
Vahea senegalensis A.DC.
Ripe fruit opened to reveal the flesh
Photograph by: Jonas Roux
Saba senegalensis varies in habit according to habitat. In open, drier lands it remains a lowly shrub, but when growing in forest it becomes a stout climbing shrub that can produce stems over 40 metres long by 47 cm girth[
The fruit is highly prized and, in parts of Africa, they are important to the rural economy, and many are trucked or carried in baskets to sell in the cities[
]. The plant is also very ornamental and so is often grown as an edible ornamental in the garden[
]. The plant is believed to have medico-magical attributes and is often preserved on the outskirts of villages[
Western tropical Africa - Senegal to Togo.
Forest fringes, galleried forest and thickets[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Ornamental, Semi-cultivated, Wild
A plant of the hot tropics where it is found at elevations from near sea level to around 800 metres[
]. It grows in areas with moderate to low rainfall[
The leaves are prepared in sauces and condiments as an appetizer with a salty tang[
The fruit has a soft, edible pulp with a sweet-sour flavour[
]. The yellowish, ovoid fruit is about 7 cm long by 8 cm diameter[
]. It is much prized and, besides the medico-magical attributes of the plant, is a very good reason for the conservation of the liana in the vicinity of villages[
]. Most fruits about the size of a medium to small orange. In taste, they are acidic, almost like a strange form of citrus, which they nearly match in vitamin C content[
]. They are full of big seeds that are coated with an aromatic sweet and sour flesh. Most are eaten as casual snacks, but some are employed even as a staple, especially during the rainy season[
]. They are also blended with water and sugar and made into fruity beverages[
The latex from the plant is antitussive and emetic[
]. It is used to treat pulmonary troubles and tuberculosis[
]. The stem, on cutting, is immediately placed in a gourd with the right amount of water and as the latex expissates (the word is not in any dictionary I have seen![
]) the gourd is shaken so that an emulsion of the latex is made which is drunk[
The leaves are eaten to stop vomiting[
A steam-bath made from the leaves is used as an inhalant to treat chronic headache, and is also used for the eyes to try to stall off approaching blindness[
The leaves, after crushing and soaking in water, are applied as a haemostatic, antiseptic and cicitrisant dressing to wounds[
Leaf and bark-decoctions are taken in the treatment of dysenteriform diarrhoea and food-poisoning and, with other plants, is put into leprosy medications[
The roots are considered a good treatment for urethral discharges[
The powdered root-bark is used externally to heal sores, it being held particularly efficacious for treating burns on children[
Women eat a macerate of the fruits, along with other drug plants, as a sterility treatment. This may be a belief in the Theory of Signatures hinging on the ovoid ‘pregnant’ shape of the fruits[
The plant contains an abundance of white sticky latex which hardens on exposure. It was exploited at one time for its rubber, but it was of poor quality and its main use was an adulterant of better quality rubbers[
]. The latex can be used as an adhesive[
]. Locally, the latex-filled sap is used to mend bicycle tires, football bladders, and so forth[
The almost unbreakable vines are used to tie down the roofs of native huts. They are also made into ropes, with which to scale trees (for tapping palm-wine, for instance, or collecting nuts)[
Seed - traditionally, the seed is sown in situ or young seedlings are gathered from the wild and planted into gardens.
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