Geographical Distribution of Mondia in Africa
It is widely distributed in tropical Africa from Guinea through Cameroon to East Africa. It is widespread in Zimbabwe but threatened in South Africa, due to over collection for medicinal purposes. In Kenya its more prevalent in the remnant tropical rain forest of Kakamega and its outliers Malava, Kisero and Bunyala, scattered in Nandi forests and ranges, Chyulu hills, Mt. Kilimanjaro regions, Mt. Kenya ecosystem and some parts of Coastal regions especially Arabukosokoke (Mukonyi et al 2001) and in Malawi, Uganda.
Mondia whitei (Hook. F.) Skeels (Apocynaceae) is also known as mondia, or Whites's ginger. Mondia is a vigorous climber (3-6 m high) with attractive heart-shape leaves and a vanilla aroma. The flowers are arranged in panicles of cream-yellow buds which open to reveal deep reddish-purple inner petals. Habitat: it is found in a variety of woodland habitats.
Mondia whytei is a slow growing vine that used to be abundant in Kakamega Forest but is now getting scarce. Main threat to the species has been over exploitation by local communities for subsistence and commercial purposes. The species is reported extinct from wild source in Tugela river in South Africa (Crouch et al 1998). In Kenya its among the heavily exploited species from Kakamega forest by local communities (Mukonyi 1998). It is reported to have disappeared from central province due to over exploitation and increase in demand for agricultural land.
|Mondia whitey climber in Kakamega, Kenya, Oct 2008|
|© Monique Hunziker|
The roots of Mondia whytei are harvested extensively from Kakamega Forest in a well organized trade leading to scarcity of the plant Mondia whytei roots are sold in towns in Kenya and in other African countries. The roots are eaten by the young and old as a flavoring and appetizing agent. More than 500 members of the community adjacent to Kakamega Forest were trained in methods of cultivating M. whytei on-farm. Community members are shown how to prepare seedbeds for M. Whytei seedlings. Once mature, roots from the farmer's plots of M. whytei will be purchased and used for commercial production in powder and other forms.
|Mondia whitey flower. Leopard Rock Game Reserve, Vumba, Zimbabwe, 30 Dec 2003|
|© Mark Hyde and Bart Wursten, Flora of Zimbabwe|
|Mondia whytei market. The roots are eaten by the young and old as a flavoring and appetizing agent.|
|The roots of Mondia whytei are harvested extensively from Kakamega Forest in a well organized trade leading to scarcity of the plant Mondia whytei roots are sold in towns in Kenya and in other African countries.|