Ethnobotany and varietal characterization of Jatropha curcas L. in the Sudanese savannas of North-Cameroon

Benjamine Anguessin, Pierre Marie Mapongmetsem


Background: Growing global warming and the high cost of hydrocarbons have increased the interest in the search for new non-polluting energy sources. Little is known about the species Jatropha curcas which is rich of energy potential. The purpose of this work is to identify the different ethnobotanical uses as well as the varieties of Jatropha curcas in order to promote the species in the region.

Methods : Ethnobotanical surveys were carried out among 200 households that handle the species Jatropha curcas on a daily basis. The individuals of Jatropha curcas after enumeration were subjected to dendrometric analysis in principal components (PCA) and in ascending hierarchical classification (CAH). The parameters recorded were: diameter at breast height, shrub height, leaf area and petiole length. The program used was logicel ®.

Results : the results show that Jatropha curcas is used in traditional medicine and treats several pathologies: gonococcal disease, jaundice, burns, intestinal parasitosis, etc. Tapinantus sp. which parasitizes the species is highly appreciated by populations for its medico-magical properties despite its negative impact on the plant. Jatropha curcas is also integrated into agroforestry systems and plays important roles in field delineation, hedgerows, plant fencing, land base and soil erosion control. Depending on the length of the petiole, the leaf area, the height of the shrub and the diameter at breast height, there are four varieties of Jatropha curcas in the region. Molecular analyzes will allow the taxonomic analysis to be deepened with a view to promoting the best performing variety.

Conclusions: The Jatropha curcas culture could generate income for producers and make it possible to face the country's energy challenges. 

Keywords: ethnobotany, dendrometry, biofuel, Jatropha curcas, variety, Northern Cameroon

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