> eukaryotes >
Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants)
> Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants)
> Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering
plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Rosids >
Eurosid I > Order: Rosales > Family: Moraceae
- A medium-sized tree, growing to a height of about 10 m.
- The most distinctive feature are the huge digitate leaves.
Each leaf is made up of 5-7 leaflets and individual leaflets can
measure up to 36 cm long by 12.5 cm wide! The petiolules of the
leaflets are short and stubby but the petiole of the whole leaf
ranges from 7-35 cm long. The margins of the leaflets have fine
serrations. Leaflets are smooth and dark green above and pale
greyish-green below with a dense velvety pubescence and
- The bark is grey to brown, smooth.
- Flowers are unisexual, on separate plants.
- Fruit are bright yellow when ripe, about 4 cm in diameter,
with a pinapple-like surface.
Distribution and habitat
Native distribution includes Uganda, Kenya,
Tanzania, Eastern DRC, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and eastern
Zimbabwe. Generally occurs in the understorey of evergreen forests.
KD Ocama in Uganda recorded elephants,
gorillas, chimpanzees, L'Hoest's Monkey (Cercopithecus lhoesti),
baboons and squirrels as eating the fruit (information from the
Institute of Forest
- The fruit is regarded as good eating.
- A protein called Myrianthus holstii lectin has been
extracted from the roots and shown to be a potent HIV-1
inhibitor (Charan et al. 2000).
- Charan RD, Munro MH, O'Keefe BR, Sowder RCII, McKee TC,
Currens MJ, Pannell LK, Boyd MR. 2000. Isolation and
characterization of Myrianthus holstii lectin, a potent HIV-1
inhibitory protein from the plant Myrianthus holstii. J
Nat Prod. 63(8): 1170-4.
- Palgrave, K.C. and Palgrave, M.C. 2002. Trees of Southern Africa. 3rd
Edition. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.
- van Wyk, B. and van Wyk, P. 1997. Field Guide to Trees of Southern
Africa. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.