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Ancistrocladus tectorius
by Mrs. Siti Munirah Mat Yunoh
Newsletter
Ancistrocladus tectorius
by Mrs. Siti Munirah Mat Yunoh

Jejulong akar is the common name for plants of the genus Ancistrocladus of the family Ancistrocladaceae. It is woody liana up to 4 m tall, climbing by woody hooks. The leaves are simple and spirally arranged in tufts. The leaf scars are large and triangular in shape. The stem is at first scandent (climbing upright) and unbranched with leaf blades narrowly oblanceolate, then side shoots are produced with short lateral branches with 1 to 4 woody hooks terminating above in a tuft of leaves with oblanceolate blades. Inflorescences are terminal on short side shoots above the tuft of leaves and form a panicle with dichotomous branching. the flowers of Ancistrocladus tectorius are bisexual, regular and small, reddish pink with 5 sepals and 5 petals. The petal and sepal are broadly ovate. Usually they have 10 stamens, 5 long and 5 short with filaments broadened at base. The stigma is tristylous (having three styles) and the ovary is one-celled. The fruit is like a nut with 5 brown wings. The calyx lobes expand in the fruit and become wing-like, usually with 2 shorter wings and 3 longer wings. The wings are oblong to spathulate in shape; the apexes are blunt to round and tapering at the base. Venation is reticulate with 1-3 main veins. Seeds are subglobose (almost spherical in shape).

Ancistrocladus is distributed in the tropics of the Old World from West Africa to Asia, including Sri Lanka, India, Myanmar, Southern China, Thailand, Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Anambas Isl., Karimata to Borneo. It grows in mixed forest and scrub vegetation in the lowlands, often near the sea, sometimes close to the beach and mostly on sandy soils. Ancistrocline, an alkaloid derived from Ancistrocladus tectorius, is used against dysentery. The root, after boiling, furnishes the Malays with a medicine for malaria. A decoction of the roots is drunk to improve blood circulation.

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