Lecythidaceae

(Beauv.) Liben

Description

Guild: pi

Life form: large tree

Max. height: 45 m (Voorhoeve 1965)

Max. diameter: 180 cm (Voorhoeve 1965)

Leaf: alternate, in terminal tufts, simple, elliptic to ovate, mesophyll (4-7 x 6-16 cm), entire or slightly undulate, herbaceous, scattered hairs on the blade when young, medium green

Inflorescence: terminal, not branched (up to 10

cm long)

Flower: medium-sized; corolla white to pale green Fruit: dry indehiscent, winged, spindle-shaped (4 cm long, wings up to 3.5 x 7 cm); 1 seed Seed: very large

Other: often seen with many red leaves about to fall from the crown. It has small or no buttresses. Wood density is 0.8 g/cm3.

Distribution

Continent: Benin to Angola (Voorhoeve 1965) Upper Guinea: all Upper Guinea (Voorhoeve 1965) Forest type: moist evergreen forest, moist semi-deciduous forest, secondary forest (Voorhoeve 1965). The only other species in the genus occurs in the Philippines (Liben 1971).

Habitat

The abundance increases with rainfall, attains an optimum around 2000 mm/yr, and declines again above 2500 mm/yr. The seedlings occur in the shade (Hall & Swaine 1981). Healthy saplings are associated with small or large gaps (Hawthorne 1995a). It avoids swamps (Voorhoeve 1965).

Germination is normal. It has a phanerocotylar epigeal foliaceous seedling type (cf. Voorhoeve 1965). Seedlings are not common due to abortion of much of the seed (Taylor 1960). Most regeneration occurs in 'slight gaps in the forest' albeit with some shade tolerance as a seedling (Taylor 1960).

Phenology

Dispersal: by wind

Timing: flowering is irregular, but often from November to January and April to June (Voorhoeve 1965); fruiting is irregular with two peaks, in November to December and April to May (Taylor 1960)

Data sources

Taylor (1960), Voorhoeve (1965), Liben (1971), Hall & Swaine (1981), Hawthorne (1995a)

Piptadeniastrum africanum (Hook.f.) Brenan

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