Rubiaceae

Regeneration

Guild: pi

Life form: large tree

Max. height: 50 m (Voorhoeve 1965)

Max. diameter: 150 cm (Voorhoeve 1965)

Leaf: opposite, simple, elliptic to oblong or slightly obovate, macrophyll (8-16 x 10-30 cm), entire, herbaceous, glabrous

Inflorescence: terminal, subglobular flowerhead (2.5-4 cm across)

Flower: small; corolla pale yellow, tube-shaped Fruit: fleshy, subglobose (3.3 cm in diameter), orange; many seeds

Seed: small (0.1 cm in diameter), hard and smooth Other: a tree with cylindrical, unbuttressed bole and rather horizontal, whorled boughs, in a narrow crown. The base has heavily swollen root spurs, sometimes extending in spreading surface roots. Wood density is 0.77 g/cm3.

Distribution

Continent: Benin to Mozambique (Voorhoeve 1965) Upper Guinea: Sierra Leone to Togo (Voorhoeve 1965)

Forest type: wet evergreen forest, moist evergreen forest. A Red List species (Vulnerable).

Habitat

Its abundance increases with rainfall up to an amount of 2000 mm/yr, whereafter it remains more or less constant. The species is more abundant on infertile soils (regression analysis). It is a strong light demander (Taylor 1960) and prefers light, well-drained soils (Voorhoeve 1965).

Germination Is said to be normal, with no dormancy noted by Taylor (1960), although Sawyerr (1960) describes extreme treatments needed to encourage germination. The seeds lie dormant in the soil until stimulated to germinate by increased exposure to the sun (Hall & Swaine 1981). This is one of the few pioneer species whose germination is photoblastic (Kyereh et al. 1993). Germination is also triggered by a high red/far-red ratio (Kyereh et al. 1993). Seedling mortality can be high, due to too much shading, or too great exposure leading to borer attack (Taylor 1960). This certainly seems to be a species of big gaps. In Nigeria, it regenerates in large gaps, reaching the canopy after about 15 years (Ross 1954). Yet, Wadsworth & Lawton (1968) note optimum growth rates well below full sunlight.

Growth

On old logging tracks, trees attained 12 m (10 cm dbh) height within 4 years (Hawthorne 1993). It is widely used in taungya and other plantation (e.g. Neil 1983), and recommended as a nurse crop for Meliaceae. In Nigeria, 26 year old taungya plantations had a mean height of 16 m and a mean dbh of 27 cm (Okojie & Nokoe 1985). See also Henry (1960), Horne (1962) and Lancaster (1952).

Phenology

Deciduousness: evergreen

Dispersal: by elephants

Timing: flowering period from May to August;

fruiting period from September to October

(Hawthorne 1995a)

Uses

A timber species.

Data sources

Lancaster (1952, 1961), Ross (1954), Henry (1960), Keay (1960), Sawyerr (1960), Taylor (1960), Horne (1962), Voorhoeve (1965), Wadsworth & Lawton (1968), Hall & Swaine (1981), Neil (1983), Okojie & Nokoe (1985), Hawthorne (1993, 1995a), Kyereh et al. (1993), Hawthorne & Parren (2000), IUCN Red List (2000)

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