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Lam. ex Poiret
Haronga madagascariensis Choisy
H. madagascariensis can be found in medium to low altitudes in evergreen forest, usually around the forest margins and along river banks. It is widely distributed from South Africa to Sudan. It is often the first plant species to exist in a forest that has been cleared. “H. madagascariensis” can be found in both forest and savanna regions. It is native to Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Namibia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania and Uganda.
Harungana is an introduced species, originally from Africa and Madagascar. It is now naturalized and brought to Harvey Creek, Babinda and Mirriwinni areas of Australia. Harungana has now become quite common in disturbed coastal lowland rainforest and has the capacity to spread widely.
The 'Haronga', is a small sized bushy tree that usually ranges 4 m to 7 m in height, but sometimes it can grow up to 25 meters. The branches stem out from a cylindrical truck. Its crown appears to be golden-green color. Bole is always angular and forked. Bark appears to be maroon colored and it is vertically fissured. The scales are vertically arranged and can be flaked off easily. The tree can be immediately identified by it almost fluorescent orange latex from strips that were peeled off from the stem. The orange latex discharges when leaves are snapped off or branches are broken. Majority of tree surface is covered with stellate hairs.
Flowers are small, approximately 5-6mm. Bisexual. White or cream colored. Almond scented. Sepals are marked by dark red-brownish dots. Stamens fused into five bundles, usually two or three stamens per bundle. But single stamen can also be found occasionally. Ovary is marked by dark glandular spots. Stalks and calyx are covered with short rusty hairs.
leaves are opposite, simple and ovate. leaf blades 6-20 by 3–10 cm. leaves appear to be glossy. Leaf blade underside is covered with stellate hairs or scales.prominent veining. underside surface is covered with dense rusty hair. numerous lateral nerves. Young leaves are distinctive due to it brown lower surface. Apex tapering. Petiole 1.5–3 cm long.
Damaged bark exudes orange latex
Fruits are small about 3mm in diameter, +/-globular. Berry-like (drupe). Fruit appear to be greenish-orange and it becomes red when mature. Calyx persistent. Fruits are marked by glandular dots and streaks. Endocarp surface is hard which makes it difficult to cut. The fruit is not edible and have no apparent use.
Cotyledons broadly spathulate, margins marked with dark 'oil' glands, petioles relatively long and slender. At the tenth leaf stage: 'oil' glands appear to be very dark, visible in transmitted light and on the underside of the leaf blade. Seeds are susceptible to insect attack.
In Southern Africa, flowering can be observed from January to April and fruiting season lasts until October. In Sierra Leone, the plant flowering begins in May and reaches its maximum in August and September, then tappers off around December.
H.madagasacariensis can be used in various ways. For example,H.madagasacariensis is a source of firewood and is used in the production of charcoal. The tree is not used commercially because it rarely grows to merchantable size. However, people sometimes use the light wood to make poles for building houses.
The plant has red sap. Sap is used to treat scabies and anthelmintic (tapeworm). It is also used as a treatment for ringworm in Liberia. The leaves are used to control hemorrhages and diarrhoea, and as remedy for gonorrhea, sore throat, headaches and fevers. Flower stalks is rumored to ease colic and to check infection after childbirth. Decoction of the bark is used to treat malaria and jaundice. Roots are used to improve breast development in young women. Young leaves are sometimes used to treat asthma. In certain areas of Eastern Africa, people believe that fruits of H.madagasacariensis avert bleeding because of its red juice, so are used for abortion.
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