Guttiferae

Guild: sb

Life form: large tree

Max. height: 40 m (Voorhoeve 1965)

Max. diameter: 100 cm (Voorhoeve 1965)

Leaf: opposite, simple, narrowly elliptic, mesophyll

(4-10 x 12-26 cm), entire, coriaceous, blade densely dotted with slightly raised glandular cells

Inflorescence: axillary on leafy shoots and cauli-

florous, solitary, hermaphrodite or unisexual (male)

Flower: medium-sized (male) to large

(hermaphrodite); corolla white

Fruit: fleshy, elliptic to globular (6.5 x 8.5 cm), pale yellow with small brown warts; 2-4 seeds

Seed: laterally flattened, very large (1.8 x 3 cm), fruit pulp

Other: a tree with a very regular, cylindrical bole and dense evergreen crown of short, regular, horizontal branches. The flush of new leaves is red. The slash exudes a yellow latex. It has heavy buttresses of up to 3.5 m high. Wood density is 0.77 g/cm3.

Distribution

Continent: Benin to Congo (Brazzaville), Uganda (Voorhoeve 1965)

Upper Guinea: Sierra Leone to Togo (Voorhoeve 1965)

Forest type: wet evergreen forest, moist evergreen forest, moist semi-deciduous forest, dry semi-deciduous forest (Hall & Swaine 1981)

Habitat

The abundance increases up to a rainfall amount of 2000 mm/yr, whereafter it remains more or less constant. In Ghana it is strongly associated with base-poor soils (Hall & Swaine 1981). It seems to prefer moist, alluvial sites and may occur in

swampy valleys. The tree is markedly shade tolerant (Voorhoeve 1965).

Regeneration

Germination often takes many months. It has a cryptocotylar hypogeal reserve seedling type (cf. Voorhoeve 1965). The saplings are markedly shade-tolerant (Taylor 1960).

Growth

Saplings grow approximately 30 cm per year (Taylor 1960). In Nigeria, the species is said to be slow-growing at first (60 cm height after 2 years), but

trees attained approx. 32 cm dbh (almost 15 m high) in 24 years (MacKay 1953).

Phenology

Deciduousness: evergreen (Voorhoeve 1965) Dispersal: by elephants (Hall & Swaine 1981), porcupines, antelopes. Parren (1991) concluded that regeneration was not significantly greater in elephant forests than in those without elephants. Timing: flowering is irregular; fruiting period from January to February and June to July (Voorhoeve 1965)

Uses

The fruits ("African Mammy Apple") can be used for an edible oil (Abbiw 1990).

Data sources

MacKay (1953), Taylor (1960), Voorhoeve (1965), Hall & Swaine (1981), Abbiw (1990), Parren (1991), Hawthorne (1995a)

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