Bombacaceae

Guild: pi

Life form: large tree Max. height: 45 m (Voorhoeve 1965) Max. diameter: 120 cm (Voorhoeve 1965) Leaf: alternate, palmately compound (usually 7 leaflets), obovate, microphyll (1-3.5 x 3-9 cm), entire, glabrous, midrib with long brown hairs, glossy dark green above, paler green with a reddish glow beneath

Inflorescence: axillary, flowers solitary or 2-3 together

Flower: large; calyx green; corolla white to pinkish red

Fruit: dry dehiscent, obovoid (4 x 7 cm), smooth, brown; numerous seeds

Seed: medium-sized (0.6 x 0.9 cm), embedded in brightly coloured, reddish-brown kapok Other: a tree with cylindrical, low-buttressed bole. It has heavy thick buttresses and may have prickles when young. The leaf flush is red.

Distribution

Continent: Togo to Gabon (Voorhoeve 1965) Upper Guinea: Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana (Voorhoeve 1965). Common in Ghana (Hall & Swaine 1981). Red List species (Vulnerable). Forest type: wet evergreen forest, moist evergreen forest, semi-deciduous forest, secondary forest (Voorhoeve 1965, Hall & Swaine 1981)

Habitat

The species shows a bell-shaped response to rainfall, with an optimal abundance around 1800 mm/yr. The abundance declines with altitude (regression analysis). It is a light-demanding species (Taylor 1960).

Regeneration

Little is recorded on this, as regeneration is not abundant. It has a phanerocotylar epigeal foliaceous seedling type (cf. Voorhoeve 1965). Seedlings have not been recorded in the shade and are more common in secondary forest than elsewhere.

Growth

It is said to be a slow-grower in Sierra Leone, with a mean annual diameter increment of 0.6 cm in logged forest (Savill & Fox 1967).

Phenology

Deciduousness: deciduous (Voorhoeve 1965) Dispersal: by wind (Voorhoeve 1965) Timing: flowering period in November; fruiting period from February to March (Voorhoeve 1965). It flowers in the dry season, usually on leafless trees. Mature fruits open on the tree around the beginning of the wet season to release seeds to the wind in cottony kapok (Hawthorne 1995a).

Data sources

Taylor (1960), Voorhoeve (1965), Savill & Fox (1967), Hall & Swaine (1981), Hawthorne (1995a), IUCN Red List (2000)

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