Ptychopetalum olacoides

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Ptychopetalum olacoides


Tree 5-15(-20) m tall, trunk grooved lengthwise, to 25 cm diam.Branchlets terete, slightly striately winged lengthwise. Petioles deeply grooved above, (2-)3-4(-6) mm long; blades subcoriaceous. lanceolate-oblong, (6-)9-11(-13) x (2-)2.5-3(-4) cm, apex gradually attenuate or subacuminate for 1-1.5 cm, tip acute, base broadly attenuate to acute, in dry state dark greenish-blackish above, brown beneath, dull on both surfaces, more or less densely tuberculate mainly beneath in mature leaves, primary vein a little impressed above, prominent beneath, secondary veins 6-8(-12) pairs, perpendicular to the primary vein, curved and anastomosing before the margin, obscurely raised beneath. Racemes 1-2(-3) per axil, cyme-like, 5-8-flowered, glabrous, (1.5-)2(-3) cm long; pedicels 2-3(-5) mm long. Calyx barely 1 mm, 5-dentate in the dolichostylous, almost obsolete in the brachystylous form; petals white, 10-13 x ca. 2 mm, white-hairy inside, the upper margin involute; stamens 10 or sometimes 7 or 8 by abortion; ovary oblong-conoid, with the style included ca. 8 mm long in the dolichostylous, and ca. 5 mm long in the brachystylous form. Drupe oblongoid-ellipsoid, pinkish, finally changing to purplish-blackish, pruinose, 1.5-1.8 x 1.3-1.6 cm.


Amazonian Brazil present, French Guiana present, Guianas present present, Surinam present
Guianas and Amazonian Brazil; common in Surinam and French Guiana. 85 collections studied; 43 from the Guianas (SU: 15; FG: 28).

Common Name

Creole (French Guiana): bois bande, bois de fer; Creole: boesi-banda; English (French Guiana): aneku, wilapilata, wilatai


Wood hard, heavy, yellowish. The roots of the young plants deliver most of the drug with alleged aphrodisiac properties used by the Creoles; drug exported from Manaus and Belem under the name muira puama.


When Bentham described this species he mentioned that he found the material "among Martius's Cayenne plants", but since Martius has never been in French Guiana this plant cannot be collected by him. Probably the type was collected by J. Martin who sent plants from French Guiana to London in 1842.