A very variable plant, it has been divided into 28 distinct species in one treatment[
Psorospermum albidum (Oliv.) Engl.
Psorospermum angustifolium Spirlet
Psorospermum baumannii Engl.
Psorospermum campestre Engl.
Psorospermum chariense A.Chev.
Psorospermum corymbosellum Spirlet
Psorospermum corymbosum Spirlet
Psorospermum discolour Spirlet
Psorospermum ellipticum Spirlet
Psorospermum ferrugineum Hook.f.
Psorospermum floribundum Hutch. & Dalziel
Psorospermum gillardinii Spirlet
Psorospermum kaniamae Spirlet
Psorospermum kisantuense Spirlet
Psorospermum lanceolatum Spirlet
Psorospermum leopoldvilleanum Spirlet
Psorospermum macrophyllum Spirlet
Psorospermum magniflorum Spirlet
Psorospermum mahagiense Spirlet
Psorospermum microphyllum A.Chev.
Psorospermum mossoense Spirlet
Psorospermum nigrum Spirlet
Psorospermum niloticum Kotschy ex Schweinf. & Asch.
Psorospermum orbiculare Spirlet
Psorospermum ovatum Spirlet
Psorospermum pauciflorum Spirlet
Psorospermum pectinatum Spirlet
Psorospermum pubescens Spirlet
Psorospermum rotundatifolium Spirlet
Psorospermum salicifolium Engl.
Psorospermum staneranum Spirlet
Psorospermum stuhlmannii Engl.
Psorospermum uelense Spirlet
Psorospermum victoranum Spirlet
Psorospermum febrifugum is a much branched shrub (due to burning?) or small tree growing from 0.3 - 6 metres tall, occasionally to 10 metres[
The plant is commonly harvested from the wild, mainly for medicinal purposes but also for its edible fruit and wood. It is sold in local markets[
Tropical Africa - Guinea to Ethiopia, south to Angola, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
Deciduous woodland, Protea-Combretum-wooded savannah, scrub; forest edges; on black soil; on rocky ground in the high rainfall savannah area of S Sudan; at elevations of 15 - 1,950 metres[
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The plant in Uganda is said to show some resistance to fire[
]. A sweet flavour, they are much liked by children and travellers[
]. The fruit is a bright to dark red, round berry about 6 - 10mm in diameter, carried in clusters on the plant[
Psorospermum febrifugum is widely used in traditional medicine in Africa, being employed in the treatment of a wide range of conditions but especially those related to fevers and skin problems. Modern research has shown the presence of various medically active compounds, but has failed to find any action against malaria[
The root bark has been analysed as containing 9.5% catechuic tannins[
The root bark contains a toxic red fluorescent anthraquinonic pigment, corymbiferin, which is related to hypericin and has a photosensitising capacity: it is toxic to the kidneys and intestines[
Steroids and terpenes are present in the bark and roots[
The bark is febrifuge[
The bark is used in the treatment of various skin problems including leprosy, the parasitic disease craw-craw, scabies, eczema and insect bites[
The pulped plant, or the bark in decoction, is taken internally in the treatment of dysmenorrhoea, dysentery, tuberculosis and whooping cough[
The powdered root is used topically on parasitic skin-diseases[
]. When ground up and mixed with oil it is said to be a good remedy for pimples, eruptions and wounds[
]. The root is also used as a mouthwash and gargle to treat tongue diseases and tonsillitis[
The sap is expressed to apply on sores to treat salpingitis; as an enema for ankylostomiasis and in a formulation the decoction is taken for syphilis[
The dried flower-stalks are powdered and are added to Acalypha ornata for use as a wound-dressing following circumcision[
A yellow dye is obtained from the bark[
The wood is used to make tool handles[
The wood is used for fuel[
]. When burnt the wood produces much smoke, and the Gbaya of Central African Republic hold it to be unusable on this account[
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