Guild: pi

Life form: medium-sized tree Max. height: 30 m (Taylor 1960) Max. diameter: 112 cm (inventory data Ghana) Leaf: alternate, palmately compound (5 leaflets), obovate, mesophyll (2.5-12 x 6-20 cm), entire; stipules large, herbaceous and persistent Inflorescence: branched (panicle) Flower: unisexual; corolla white

Fruit: fleshy (drupe) (3 x 4.5 cm), yellow; 3 seeds Seed: very large (1.9 x 2.3 cm) Other: a tree with weak-wooded branches and a dense crown, sometimes with buttresses. It is self-pruning. Wood density is 0.25 g/cm3.


Continent: from Upper Guinea across to east Africa (Hawthorne 1995a)

Upper Guinea: Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana

Forest type: moist evergreen forest, moist semi-deciduous forest, dry semi-deciduous forest, secondary forest


The abundance declines strongly with rainfall. It has a preference for soils with a large water holding capacity (regression analysis). Essentially, it is a light demander especially found along timber-extraction routes and disturbed habitats (Taylor 1960).


Seeds are stimulated to germinate by exposure to the sun, although the seedlings are subsequently helped by partial shade, because over-exposure encourages leaf curl (MacGregor 1934). However, seeds are capable of germinating in the dark (Kyereh et al. 1993). It has a phanerocotylar epigeal foliaceous seedling type (De la Mensbruge 1966). Seedlings are common in medium-sized to large gaps, yet absent from shaded understorey (Hawthorne 1995a). In Bia South, the seedlings were uncommon in most areas, but occurred in dense thickets along some roadsides, possibly having been dispersed by elephants (Hawthorne

1993). Seeds of this species were found in 1% (dry season) to 15% (small rainy season) of piles of elephant dung in Bia South GPR (Martin 1991).


Seedlings show at low light levels (2-10%) a strong growth response to irradiance. Growth rates remain constant over the rest of the light range (10-65%; Swaine et al. 1997). Trees can attain about 10 m height in 4 years (Taylor 1960). In the Democratic Republic of Congo it is one of the fastest-growing species, along with Musanga (Hombert 1958). The growth rings in the wood appear to be annual, at least in Nigeria (Amobi 1973).


Deciduousness: deciduous (Taylor 1960) Dispersal: by bats (Thompson 1910), hornbills, rodents (Taylor 1960), and elephants (Alexandre 1978)

Timing: flowering period in February; fruiting period from July to October (Taylor 1960)

Data sources

FWTA, Thompson (1910), MacGregor (1934), Hombert (1958), Taylor (1960), De la Mensbruge (1966), Amobi (1973), Alexandre (1978), Hall & Swaine (1981), Martin (1991), Riddoch et al. (1991), Hawthorne (1993, 1995a), Kyereh (1993), Swaine et al. (1997)

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