Voacanga africana Stapf,
Journ. Linn. Soc., Bot. 30: 87 (1894)
(Latin for 'from Africa')
Voacanga africana var. glabra (K. Schum.) Pichon
Voacanga africana var. lutescens (Stapf) Pichon
Voacanga angolensis Stapf ex Hiern
Voacanga angustifolia K.Schum.
Voacanga bequaertii De Wild.
Voacanga boehmii K.Schum.
Voacanga eketensis Wernham
Voacanga glaberrima Wernham
Voacanga glabra K.Schum.
Voacanga klainii Pierre ex Stapf
Voacanga lemosii Philipson
Voacanga lutescens Stapf
Voacanga magnifolia Wernham
Voacanga puberula K.Schum.
Voacanga schweinfurthii Stapf
Voacanga schweinfurthii var. parviflora K. Schum.
Voacanga schweinfurthii var. puberula (K.Schum.) Pichon
Voacanga spectabilis Stapf
Shrub or small tree up to 10(25) m tall, repeatedly dichotomously branched, glabrous to hairy in all parts; trunk up to 30(40) cm
in diameter; bark pale grey-brown, smooth or shallowly fissured, with some white latex. Leaves opposite, simple and entire;
stipules absent; petiole 02 cm long with a short ocrea at base; blade elliptical or narrowly elliptical, 742 cm ื 320 cm,
base cuneate or decurrent into the petiole, apex acuminate, pinnately veined with 822 pairs of lateral veins. Inflorescence
a fairly lax cyme, 2 together in the forks of branches, usually many-flowered; peduncle 625 cm long, slender; bracts as long
as the calyx, ovate, obtuse, deciduous, leaving a conspicuous scar. Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous, with bad smell; pedicel
320 mm long; calyx campanulate, tube 3.59 mm long, twisted, lobes broadly ovate to oblong, 3.58 mm long, with rounded to
truncate or emarginate apex, usually partly recurved, imbricate in bud, pale green, deciduous; corolla tube almost cylindrical,
715 mm long, twisted, lobes obovate, narrowly obovate or elliptical, 1237 mm ื 716 mm, rounded, spreading and often recurved
later, creamy, greenish-creamy, yellow or less often white; stamens inserted 23 mm below the corolla mouth, slightly exserted,
anthers sessile, narrowly triangular, 45 mm long, base sagittate; ovary superior, consisting of 2 carpels connate at base,
surrounded by a ring-shaped disk, style narrowly obconical, split, twisted and curled at the base, pistil head 11.5 mm long,
with a thin ring at base and 5 short lobes, coherent with the anthers. Fruit consisting of 2 separate globose follicles, but
often only one developing, 38 cm in diameter, green with numerous whitish spots, yellow when mature, 2-valved, many-seeded.
Seeds obliquely ellipsoid, 710 mm long, laterally with 5 grooves, rough, minutely warty, dark brown, aril yellow or orange,
pulpy. Seedling with epigeal germination. [info from PROTA]
Growing in the understorey of open forest, often secondary forest, and in gallery forest in savanna areas. It is often
gregarious in coastal forest. It occurs from sea-level to 1100 m altitude. In Asia usually planted.
Widespread in mainland tropical Africa, from Senegal east to Kenya and south to Angola, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Also introduced
in other tropical regions of the world, but not common in Asia.
Different plant parts of Voacanga africana are used medicinally throughout its distribution area. The latex or decoctions or
infusions of the stem bark, leaves or roots are put on wounds, boils and sores, and used to treat gonorrhoea, eczema, fungal infections
and scabies. They are also taken to treat heart problems, hypertension and rheumatic afflictions. The latex is put in teeth to treat
caries or dripped in the eye to cure ophthalmia. In Senegal a leaf decoction is drunk as a tonic and against fatigue. A root
decoction is drunk three times daily to treat post-partum pains and hernia. In C๔te dIvoire a decoction of the leaves is applied
as a wash against diarrhoea, put into a bath against oedema, and is used as a friction and in a drink in the treatment of leprosy.
Pulp from the leaves or stem bark is applied to soothe convulsions in children and the juice is put in the nostrils as a tranquilizer.
In Cameroon the fruit is used in infusion to treat peptic ulcers. In DR Congo the bark in decoction is taken against intestinal worms,
but this is considered a dangerous remedy. An infusion of the twigs is applied in bronchitis. A paste of the roots is applied to the
head to kill lice. The dried and powdered roots without the outer bark are mixed with porridge and taken against kidney troubles
and menstruation problems in women. In Tanzania the fruit and seeds are extracted with cold water and the extract taken against
internal sores. The seeds are also used to treat high blood pressure. The root bark of Voacanga species is generally ingested
to combat fatigue and increase endurance of drummers and hunters and, in higher doses, also for magic and religious purposes.
Pharmaceutical companies in Europe extract tabersonine from the seeds, which is readily converted into vincamine, a compound
widely used in medicines for geriatric patients. Seed extracts are also used in medicines to treat heart diseases, to lower
blood pressure and to treat cancer. In Senegal the fruits are considered edible. In West Africa the copious latex has been
used for adulterating Hevea rubber and children use it to make balls to play with. As it is sticky, it is used to catch birds.
In Zambia and Ghana wood is burnt to obtain salt. Voacanga africana supplies poles for building purposes but the wood is
considered inferior. Arrows and knife sheaths are made from the branches. In DR Congo, the wood is used to make musical instruments.
The wood is also used for firewood. Good fibre can be obtained from the bark and is made into rope. In Nigeria, a yarn is made,
which is mixed with cotton or other fibres to make mats. In Tanzania Voacanga africana is planted for ornamental purposes because
of its sweet-scented white flowers. [info from PROTA]
English: ; Small-fruit wild frangipani.
Portuguees: Cata grande.