Breonadia salicina
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Rubiaceae
Subfamily: Cinchonoideae
Tribe: Naucleeae
Genus: Breonadia
Species: B. salicina
Binomial name
Breonadia salicina
(Vahl) Hepper & J.R.I.Wood
  • Adina galpinii Oliv.
  • Adina lasiantha K.Schum.
  • Adina microcephala (Delile) Hiern
  • Adina spathellifera (Baker) Oliv.
  • Breonadia microcephala (Delile) Ridsdale
  • Cephalanthus coriaceus K.Schum.
  • Cephalanthus spathelliferus Baker
  • Nauclea microcephala Delile
  • Nauclea verticillata Baill.
  • Nerium salicinum Vahl

Breonadia is a monotypic genus of flowering plants in the Rubiaceae family. It was described by Colin Ernest Ridsdale in 1975.[2] The genus contains only one species, viz. Breonadia salicina, which is found in tropical and southern Africa from Mali and Benin east to Ethiopia, south to South Africa, as well as Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Madagascar.[3]

Breonadia salicina (Matumi, Afrikaans: Mingerhout, Sotho: Mohlomê, Venda: Mutu-lume, Zulu: Umfomfo) is a protected tree in South Africa.[4]


Breonadia salicina is a medium to large evergreen tree. The leaves occur alternately or in whorls of 3 to 5. The leaf shape is generally lanceolate and the leaf margin is entire. They are leathery to the touch and usually a dark green with yellow on the midrib, which is slightly raised.[5] The fruit is a capsule and they cluster in small spheres.[5] The trees are monoecious[6] with flowers that are small and yellow in color. The tree is generally found in subtropical to tropical climates, mainly in small populations in South Africa to Saudi Arabia and even Madagascar. It can be found in areas up to 2000 meters about sea level. They usually live on river banks or in the waters of a stream.[6] This species is often used in traditional medicine. Many times the whole plant can be used in treating diseases like arthritis and illnesses like diarrhea. In one experiment, leaf extracts of Breonadia salicina helped prevent the growth of bacteria that cause food poisoning.[7]

Genetic Diversity

In a population of Breonadia salicina in Saudi Arabia, genetic diversity was low within individuals of a single population, but was high between individuals from other populations. This means that the individual small populations of Breonadia salicina are very different from one another, but there is very little genetic diversity inside of the small populations. The populations are fairly far apart (the species is endangered) which would account for the high diversity rate between populations. The populations are also small in size and would be noticeably affected by genetic drift.[6] Tropical trees also must deal with environmental factors such as deforestation and logging.[8] B. salicina has been used as a source of wood used to build houses and objects.[9]

Physical characteristics, such as diameter and density of xylem vessels, is due to the plant’s genetic makeup, but also many environmental factors as well (for this experiment it was rainfall).[10]

Medicinal Uses

Breonadia salicina is used in traditional African medicine. Mainly people use the bark to fight diarrhea and other stomach/digestive track problems but also use other parts of the plant for different uses. The bark of B. salicina has been found to be rich in tannins.[9] Tannins are polyphenols that have been found to help with reducing growth of E. coli in digestive tracts.[11] Leaf extracts of B. salicina have also been found to reduce activity of both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria.[7] It is believed that these same anti-bacterial properties of B. salicina can be used for the preservation of foods.[7]

Possible antifungal compounds have also been isolated in B. salicina.[12] The same antifungal compounds in B. salicina have been found to show activity in protecting oranges from infections.[13]

See also


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Breonadia.
  1. The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species, retrieved 10 December 2015
  2. Ridsdale CE (1975). Blumea. 22: 549. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Breonadia
  4. "Protected Trees" (PDF). Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, Republic of South Africa. 3 May 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-07-05.
  5. 1 2 Hyde, Mark; Wursten, Bart; Ballings, Petra; Coates Palgrave, Meg. "Breonadia salicina (Vahl) Hepper & J. R. I. Wood". Flora of Zimbabwe. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  6. 1 2 3 Gaafar, Abdel-Rhman; Al-Qurainy, Fahad; Khan, Salim (2014 Oct. 3). "Assessment of genetic diversity in the endangered populations of Breonadia salicina (Rubiaceae) growing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia using inter-simple sequence repeat markers". BMC Genetics. 15 (109). doi:10.1186/s12863-014-0109-4. PMC 4192337Freely accessible. PMID 25277598. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  7. 1 2 3 Al-Qurainy, F; Abdel-Rhman, Gaafar; Khan, S; Nadeem, M; Tarroum, M; Alaklabi, A; Thomas, J (29 August 2013). "Antibacterial activity of leaf extract of Breonadia salicina (Rubiaceae), an endangered medicinal plant of Saudi Arabia" (PDF). Genetics and Molecular Research. 12 (3): 3212–3219. doi:10.4238/2013.august.29.5. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  8. Ouinsavi, Christine (2009). "Genetic Diversity and Population Structure of a Threatened African Tree Species, Milicia excelsa, Using Nuclear Microsatellites DNA Markers". International Journal of Forestry Research. 2009: 1–8. doi:10.1155/2009/210179.
  9. 1 2 Neuwinger, Hans Dieter (1994). African Ethnobotany: Poisons and Drugs : Chemistry, Pharmacology, Toxicology. Stuttgart, Germany: Chapman & Hall.
  10. Norstom, Elin; Holmgren, Karin; Morth, Carl-Magnus (20 April 2005). "Rainfall-driven variations in 13C composition and wood anatomy of Breonadia salicina from South Africa between AD 1375 and 1995" (PDF). South African Journal of Science. 101 (March/April 2005): 162–168. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  11. Min, Byeng R. (March 2007). "Effect of tannins on the in vitro growth of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and in vivo growth of generic Escherichia coli excreted from steers.". Journal of Food Protection. 3.
  12. Mahlo, Salome (December 2010). "Antifungal activity of leaf extracts from South African trees against plant pathogens". Crop Protection. 29 (12): 1529–1533. doi:10.1016/j.cropro.2010.08.015.
  13. Mahlo, Salome. "Characterization and biological activity of antifungal compounds present in Breonadia salicina (Rubiaceae) leaves". University of Pretoria.
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