Annularia natalensis Hochst.
Cyclostigma natalense (Hochst.) Hochst.
Orchipeda dregei (E.Mey.) DC.
Orchipeda thouarsii (Roem. & Schult.) Baron
Piptolaena dregei (E.Mey.) A.DC.
Voacanga dregei E.Mey.
Voacanga obtuse K.Schum.
Voacanga thouarsii is a tree growing up to 13 metres tall. The bole, which has branches from low-down, can be around 30cm in diameter[
]. It is sometimes stilt-rooted when growing in swampy ground[
The tree is harvested from the wild, providing medicines and various commodities to the local population. The plant contains several medically active compounds, various parts of the plant being exported to pharmaceutical companies in Europe and elsewhere. The tree is also used in soil conservation programmes.
Tropical Africa - Sierra Leone to southern Sudan and Kenya, south to Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Madagascar.
Often in swampy ground; growing in valley bottoms; ravines and stream-banks of the wooded savannah[
]. Mostly in semi-deciduous forest and savannah, often in moist localities, sea-level to 600 metres[
]. It easily colonizes disturbed habitats[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Trees can be coppiced or pollarded[
The wood is burnt to produce a vegetable salt[
The latex is vesicant on the skin and dangerous to the eyes[
]. It is used as a remedy for toothache; is applied to wounds, boils and sores; used to treat gonorrhoea, eczema, fungal infections and scabies.[
Decoctions or infusions of the stem bark, leaves and roots are applied to wounds, boils and sores, and are used to treat gonorrhoea, eczema, fungal infections and scabies[
]. The infusions are also taken to treat heart problems, hypertension and rheumatic afflictions[
The roots and bark contain the alkaloids voacamine, vobtusine and voacangine which are hypotensive, cardiotonic and sympatholytic[
Tabersonine, an alkaloid extracted from the seed, can be converted into vincamine, a compound widely used in Europe as a depressant of the central nervous system and for the treatment of cerebral vascular disorders in geriatric patients[
]. The seeds are also exported to be used in medicines to treat heart diseases, to lower blood pressure and to treat cancer[
The plant is grown along watercourses for soil and water conservation[
The tree easily colonizes disturbed habitats and so could be suitable for use as a pioneer species[
The bark is said to furnish a fibre which can be used for making hunting nets[
A latex is obtained from the tree[
]. That from the branches is recorded as being white, whilst that obtained from the trunk is clear. The latex produces an inferior rubber, it has been used to adulterate rubber from the Hevea tree and is usable when mixed with others as a glue for fastening handles to knife-blades and to repair baskets[
The ripe seeds are scattered on the ground of rice-farms in Liberia when the grain is ripening to scare off wild pigs which depredate the rice crop[
The reddish-brown wood is fine-grained, tough, difficult to saw, planing unsmoothly, the grain pulling out, and turning indifferently. The wood is of little value., though it is used as poles for hut-posts, tool handles and sheaths for knives[
The wood is also used as firewood and for making charcoal[
Seed - pre-soaking for 12 hours in warm water can improve germination results[
]. The seed is quite easy to germinate - it can be sown in light shade in nursery seedbeds or individual containers.
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