Uncaria lanosa (Rubiaceae)

Uncaria lanosa var. appendiculata

Among the genera of the great Coffee family, few are as recognizable as this group of vines that would be familiar to some older folk as the source of gambir (Uncaria gambir), a plant substance used in Asian countries such as Indonesia for chewing with areca and betel, for tanning, and for dyeing. But alas, the virtues of this native species remains rather much unexplored.

The stipules of native Uncaria vine immediately distingushes it as a member of the coffee family and then the paired curved hooks tells us instantly that this is a species of Uncaria. This species is the most commonly encountered in FNQ and there is another species, U. cordata which is rather much restricted in distribution to the Bellenden Ker area.

Uncaria lanosa var. appendiculata
Note the paired hooks at each node.

The flowers of the Uncaria vine are clustered in a head, thereby producing a cluster of fruits.

Uncaria lanosa var. appendiculata
Young fruits

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About David Tng

I am David Tng, a hedonistic botanizer who pursues plants with a fervour. I chase the opportunity to delve into various aspects of the study of plants. I have spent untold hours staring at mosses and allied plants, taking picture of pollen, culturing orchids in clean cabinets, counting tree rings, monitoring plant flowering times, etc. I am currently engrossed in the study of plant ecology (a grand excuse to see 'anything I can). Sometimes I think of myself as a shadow taxonomist, a sentimental ecologist, and a spiritual environmentalist - but at the very root of it all, a "plant whisperer"!
This entry was posted in Habitat - Rain forest, Lifeform - Climbers, Rubiaceae (Coffee family) and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Uncaria lanosa (Rubiaceae)

  1. Nature and Science says:

    Hi David,

    Great blog on the amazing flora of the wet tropics
    Just thought I’d mention I did an honours research project on this species, on the chemistry and anti-inflammatory activity some years ago now
    Many species in this distinctive genus have been used as medicines, from China and Japan to SE Asia and Melanesia and the Amazon forests of Sth America
    Our native species has constituents directly comparable to the Sth American species, which is now quite widely used and available as a herbal medicine

    Regards

    • David Tng says:

      Thanks. Nice to know there’s research on this. Am keen to cite your thesis on this if you’re happy to provide the citation/link. I think there’s great scope for more phytochemical research around here. I enjoyed your blog. Great stuff!

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