Saba senegalensis

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Related Links
Saba Senegalensis fruit
© Antonie Kalinganire
Saba senegalensis
© Boffa, Jean-Marc
Saba senegalensis
© Boffa, Jean-Marc

Local names:
French (saba,liane saba), Mandinka (saba), Wolof (madd)

Saba senegalensis is a liana up to 40 m long, often shrub like; trunk up to 20 cm in diameter. Bark rough or scaly.

Leaves opposite, petiole 4-14.5 mm long; lamina 1.5-3 times as long as wide, apex rounded, obtuse, shortly acuminate or apiculate with 7-14 pairs of secondary veins, tertiary venation reticulate or scalariform, submarginal veins abundant.

Inflorescence a 3-30 flowered lax cyme, peduncle 2.5-6 cm long, pedicels 2.5-8 mm long. Sepals shortly apiculate. 1-1.5 times as long as wide, corolla with a yellow throat; tube 5-9 times as long as the calyx. Stamens inserted 3.5-6 mm above the corolla base; filaments 0.4-1 x 0.1 mm, anthers 1-2 x 0.2-0.5 mm, ovary often ribbed, glabrous with ca 30 ovules, style 1.5-3 mm long, pistil-head 1.7-2 mm long, basal part up to 1.8 mm long.

Fruit 5-15 x 4-10 cm, 1 mm thick walled.

The generic name is adapted from the Maninka name of the plant, the specific epithet senegalensis refers to Senegal in West Africa where the plant was first collected for identification.


S. senegalensis is commonly found in riverine areas and open woodland.

Native range
Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Tanzania

S. senegalensis is commonly found in riverine areas and open woodland.

Direct seeding and natural regeneration methods are employed in propagating the species.

Erosion control:  S. senegalensis is a riverine species important in soil conservation.

  The fruits are tasty, sweet-sour, yellow pulped and quite popular, often appearing in local markets in its fruit season.

Medicine:  The leaves are eaten to stop vomiting. In Senegal the leaves are prepared in sauces and condiments as an appetizer with a salty taste. Bark decoctions are taken for dysenteriform diarrhoea and food-poisoning. Crushed leaf infusion has haemostatic/antiseptic usage and the powdered root efficacious on children’s burns. The latex is used for pulmonary troubles and tuberculosis. Fruits eaten as a sterility treatment.

Gum or resin:  In Cote d’Ivoire the latex is used as an adhesive for poison preparations for arrows.

Latex or rubber:  Produces an inferior quality rubber which is used in adulterating genuine rubber. The latex is collected by placing the cut stem in a gourd with adequate water; the resulting emulsion is antitusive and emetic. Latex hardens on exposure.