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Related article: Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Togo, Dahomey, Nigeria, Gabon, Principe, Zaire, Sudan,
Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique and Angola (see distribution map).
Tall, evergreen, aromatic tree or shrub 4.5-30(-45)m high, 20cm in diameter, bole
straight, sometimes buttressed; bark grey, fairly smooth, Order Amaryl slash reddish, brown and fibrous
beneath; crown much branched, branches and branchlets with numerous whitish lenticels.
Leaves alternate, simple, stipules absent; petiole 2 -9mm long, blade elliptic, ovate or
oblanceolate, 6-1 7cm long, 3-6cm wide, Order Amaryl apex obtuse to markedly acuminate, margins entire,
coriaceous, dark green, glabrous above, very pale glaucous green, glabrescent below,
midrib very broad at base, slightly impressed above; major lateral veins 8-12 pairs, very
faint, arching and anastomosing at a distance from the margin. Inflorescence axillary
with thick pedicels up to 1cm long; flowers solitary or in 3-5-f lowered clusters. Sepals
3. more or less united, ovate-triangular 3 -5mm long; petals 6, in 2 whorls, cream,
greenish-white or yellow, outer petals linear, 2. 5- 5mm long, thick, gradually tapering to
the apex, covered with rust-coloured hairs, inner petals shorter and narrower; stamens
numerous, 1-1. 5mm long; carpels numerous, up to 40 or more; ovary cylindric, 1-1. 5mm
long, ovules 6-8. Fruit a monocarp, cylindirical , up to 9cm long, reddish at first,
eventually blackish; seeds 1-8, orange-red to black, cylindrical, vertical, 5- 7mm long,
2 -4mm in diameter, aril basal, papery, yellow, 2 -3mm long.
In Nigeria recorded Order Amaryl as flowering March to November, fruiting June to March.
4. ESTABLISHED MODERN PHARMACEUTICAL USES
There is no information on modern medicinal use of extracts from this plant.
5. FOLK MEDICINAL USES
A decoction of fruit of X. aethiopica, root bark of Strychnos inoqua , Gardenia
tennifolia, Olax subscorpoidea, Uvaria chamae and Anonna senegalensis is drunk as a
remedy for stomach-ache. Salt may be added for taste.
- 242 -
Open dried fruit without seeds is burnt, ground into powder and mixed with red palm
oil as a treatment Order Amaryl for coughs.
A decoction of seven fruits of X- aethiopica, leaves of Alstonia boonei, and
Wissadula amplissima is used to bathe children as an anticonvulsant .
A decoction of stem bark of Newbouldia leaves and fruit of X. aethiopica is drunk
as a remedy for ammenorrhoea .
A soup of ground fruits of X. aethiopica, Piper guineense and leaves of Order Amaryl Leptaspis
cochleata is taken as a remedy for dizziness. The fruits are often used as condiment in
the Yoruba native decoction (Agbo).
According to Dalziel (1937), a fluid extract or a decoction of the fruit or bark,
is useful in the treatment of bronchitis, and dysenteric conditions, and also as a
medicine for biliousness. As a women's remedy it is taken to encourage fertility. A
poultice of the leaves and fruit is appled as a cure for headache and neuralgia.
6. MAJOR CHEMICAL CONSTITUENTS AND MEDICINAL PRODUCTS v-
The following chemical constituents have been reported: Alkaloids and tannins from
the leaves (Odebiyi and Sofowora, 1978); essential oil, resins and glycosides from root,
bark leaves and fruits (Puri and Talata, 1964), a diterpine acid, xylopic acid shown to
be 15(- acetoxy-(-) kar-16-end-19-oic acid (Ekong and Order Amaryl Ogan, 1968) essential Order Amaryl oils such as
X and B pinenes, -3-carene, 0-cymene, X-phellandene , limonene and terpinolene, 8-cineole,
bisabolene, linalool, terpinen-4-01 , & terpineol, cuminyl alcohol, and cuminic aldehyde,
have also been reported. Oliver (1959) reported the extraction from the fruits the
following essential oils:- resin, anonacein, reberoside and avocein.
7. HARVESTING, CONSERVING AND PREPARATION
Local collection of fruit, bark and roots.
8. ECONOMICS AND MARKETING
Collected and marketed locally.
Regenerates naturally from seed.
10. MAJOR DISEASES
None described in literature available.
11. OTHER USES
The wood is said to resist the attacks of white ants, and is often used for native
house-posts (Foster, 1914; Dalziel, 1937). Pieces of bark are used for the side walls of
huts in certain parts of Nigeria; the light, flexible wood recommend it for use as Order Amaryl
paddles, masts and spars of small boats as well as for bows.
- 243 -
The fruits, pulverised with Capsicum fruit peppers are mixed with kolanuts to prevent
the ravages of the kola weevil (Dalziel, 1937).
Dalziel, J.M. The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa. London:
(1937) Crown Agents.
Ekong, D.E.U. and Ogan, A.U. Chemistry of the constituents of Xylopia aethiopica.
(1968) The structure of xylopic acid, a new diterpine acid.
Journal of the Chemical Society (C): 311.
Foster, E.W. Annonaceae - Notes of Nigerian Trees and Plants. London:
(1914) Biddle and Son.
Odebiyi, 0.0. and Sofowora, E.A. Phytochemical screening of Nigerian medicinal
(1978) plants, II. Lloydia 41,3: 234-246.
Oliver, B. Medicinal Plants in Nigeria. Ibadan: Nigeria College of
(1959) Arts, Science and Technology.
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