Danais fragrans

Danais fragrans

The fragrant danaid (Danais fragrans (Lam.) Pers.) Is a climbing shrub species belonging to the Rubiaceae family.

Systematics –
From the systematic point of view it belongs to the Eukaryota Domain, Kingdom Plantae, Magnoliophyta Division, Magnoliopsida Class, Rubiales Order, Rubiaceae Family, Rubioideae Subfamily, Danaideae Tribe and therefore to the Danais Genus and to the D. fragrans Species.
The terms are synonymous:
– Cinchona afroinda Willemet;
– Cinchona chlorrhiza Bory ex DC .;
– Cinchona cladorrhiza Bory ex Wedd .;
– Cinchona stadtmannii J.V.Thomps .;
– Cunninghamia verticillata Willd .;
– Danais denudata Pers .;
– Danais laxiflora DC .;
– Danais lyallii Baker;
– Danais nodulosa Drake;
– Danais obovata Drake;
– Danais rotundifolia Poir .;
– Guettarda verticillata Baill .;
– Paederia fragrans Lam ..

Etymology –
Danais comes from the Greek Δᾰνᾰΐς which, in classical mythology, was a water nymph, bearer of fertility and refreshment and protector of marriage.
The specific fragrans epithet comes from fragrant smelling, perfuming: fragrant, fragrant, perfumed.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Danais fragrans is a plant native to Africa, present in the islands of Madagascar, Mauritius and Réunion.
Its habitat is that of the eastern coastal and flat rainforest; dry forests; forests at higher altitudes; in or on the edge of forest remains; at altitudes ranging from sea level to 1,700 meters, occasionally up to 1,850 meters.

Description –
Danais fragrans is a climbing shrub that produces branched stems up to 12 meters long.
The leaves are simple, opposite and stipulated, consistent and of an intense green color.
The flowers are actinomorphic and hermaphrodite with reduced calyx and corolla gamopetala pentamera or tetramera. The stamens are epicorollins (inserted on the corolline tube alternating with the petals), the ovary is inferior and bicarpellar.
The flowers are gathered in inflorescences.
The fruit is a capsule.

Cultivation –
Danais fragrans is a plant that is harvested in the wild for local use as a mordant, dye and medicine.
However, it can be cultivated in habitats with pedoclimatic conditions similar to the natural one.
Propagation can take place starting from seed.

Customs and Traditions –
The fragrant danaid is a plant used by local populations as a mordant, dye and medicine. However, no edible uses are known.
The whole plant is toned and the roots are febrifugal and used as a treatment against herpes.
The bark is also a febrifuge and is used in the treatment of skin disorders. Among others, it should be remembered that the leaves contain high proportions of aluminum (up to 1% of the weight of the dry matter), which can be used as an organic mordant. Aluminum salts are a very useful substance for use in dyeing processes, where they strengthen and multiply the chemical bonds between textile fibers and most natural dyes.
While not specifically mentioned, the roots of this plant can almost certainly be used as a source of a red dye.

Preparation Method –
Danais fragrans is a plant of which all parts are used, in various preparations, such as febrifuges and against herpes. The leaves are instead processed to extract an organic mordant very useful for fixing the colors.

Guido Bissanti

Sources
– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (edited by), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.

Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; we therefore decline all responsibility for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.




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