Mackinlaya schlechteri

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Mackinlaya schlechteri


Slender shrub to 6 m. Leaves 1-3-(rarely 4-)folio- late. Inflorescence a terminal compound umbel, often overtopped by a lateral branch at its base; Petals 5, obovate. Ovary narrowly turbinate, in male flowers obconic or ovoid, c. ¾ mm long in hermaphrodite. Fruit large, 15 by 22 mm, compressed, rotund, constricted above and below on the central axis;


Asia-Tropical: New Guinea present, New Britain present, along the Central Ranges, from the Star Mts east to Meyamya present
Malesia: New Guinea (along the Central Ranges, from the Star Mts east to Meyamya), also in New Britain.


The cut stem exudes a viscous sap which is an irritant. The leaves are aromatic. The plant is reported to be poisonous and to have a number of medicinal uses. The boiled leaves are eaten to reduce fever and to relieve 'korima'. Pieces of leaf placed in a cavity relieve toothache. The leaves are wrapped around taro at planting to encourage growth.


The flowers are white and the ripe fruit mauve to purple with a glaucous bloom.
A large number of collections made in recent years throughout New Guinea all have regularly compound umbels with the flowers borne on branches of the third degree in the form of strict umbels. In two of the earliest gatherings (Schlech- ter 14365 and Versteeg 1419) the third degree branches frequently divide again either umbellately or cymosely. These two specimens were described as species by Harms. Philipson later (1951) kept the forms with regular umbellules separate (describing three species). All these five entities are now considered conspecific, the Schlechter and Versteeg specimens being regarded as rare anomalies in a widespread and abundant species. It is possible that the Versteeg plant is a hybrid with M. celebica.