Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Labu Kayu /Bignoniaceae

The Bignoniaceae, or Trumpet Creeper Family, is a family of flowering plants comprising of about 650-750 species in 116-120 genera. Members of the family are mostly trees and shrubs, and more rarely lianas (Podranea and Macfadyena) and herbaceous plants in 116-120 genera. As shrubs, they are twine climbers or tendril climbers, and rarely root climbers.

Other common names for this family include jacaranda family, bignonia family or catalpa family. This family is commonly found as ornamental plants due to their large and often colorful flowers. Important members include the calabash tree (Crescentia cujete) and many genera cultivated in horticulture: Campsis, Catalpa, Jacaranda, Kigelia, Pandorea, Spathodea, and Tabebuia.

The family, cosmopolitan, is present in both the Old World and the New World, with Catalpa the only genus common to both. Members are distributed mostly in the Tropics and subtropics, with the center of diversity in South America. A number of temperate species are found, mainly in North America and East Asia. 13 species in 8 genera (including 2 naturalised) are present in southern Africa. 12 genera and 35 species are present in China, 21 of which are endemic to China. In Australia, 10 genera and 17 species are present, only in the mainland states. In India, the family is represented by 15 genera and 40 species, which mostly occur in Western and Southern India and a few species in the Himalayas.


Besides their use as ornamental plants, some members also provide timber, such as roble de sabana (Tabebuia rosea), Catalpa, Oroxylum, Haplophragma, Spathodea, Meliosma, Stereospermum. Fruit from the calabash tree (Crescentia cujete) is used in the tropics as a water container. The fruit of the sausage tree (Kigelia africana) is used in Africa as a laxative and for dysentery. The jacaranda is common as an avenue tree.

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