Hydnophytum formicarum Jack

[From Greek, hudnon = truffle, phyton = plant and from Latin, formica = ants]

Common names: Baboon's head; dedalu api laut, kepala berok (Malay); hua; roi ru (Thai).

Uses: In the Philippines, a decoction of the tubers is drunk to assuage liver and intestinal discomfort. The therapeutic potential of this plant remains unexplored.

Physical description: It is an epiphytic coastal herb which grows in a geographical zone, spanning Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea. The plant grows from a large tuber which is channeled inside and inhabited by ants. The tuber is monstrously-shaped, with roots from its base and a few adjoining branches from its top. Leaves: Fig. 346. Hydnophytum formicarum Jack. very thick, succulent, 5cm-15cm x

2.5cm-6cm, simple, decussate and stipulate. The petiole is short and thick. The blade is ovate to elliptic, extremely thick and lanceolate. The flowers are grouped in small and axillary clusters. The calyx is cup-shaped. The corolla consists of a short tube hairy inside and is 4-lobed. The lobes are half as long as the tube itself. The fruits are orangy-red pulpy berries (Fig. 346).

Warning: Caution must be taken as the toxic effects of this plant are unknown. Lasianthus stipularis Bl.

[From Greek, lasio = woolly, anthos = flower and from Latin, stipula = straw]

Physical description: It is a herb of jungle paths and seashores of the Asia-Pacific. Leaves: simple, large 10cm-22cm x 2.5cm-7cm, decussate and stipulate. The stipules are 1 cm long, broadly triangular and conceal the flowers. The blade is obovate to elliptic, broadest

Hydnophytum Formicarum

Common names: Stipulate wool-flower; ubatbarah (Malay).

above the middle, while tapering at the base and marked at the apex with a sharp tip. The flowers are sessile and enclosed in narrow and hairy bracts. The corolla is tubular white and 4-lobed. The fruits are glossy, 4 mm blue berries (Fig. 347).

Uses: In Malaysia, the leaves of Lasianthus stipularis Bl. are used to treat a disease called "noises in the head". The therapeutic potential of Lasianthus stipularis Bl. remains unexplored.

Warning: Caution must be taken as the toxic effects of this plant are unknown.

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