Sapotaceae

Pierre ex A.Chev.

Description

Habitat

Description

Guild: np

Life form: large tree

Max. height: 55 m (Taylor 1960)

Max. diameter: 250 cm (Taylor 1960)

Leaf: alternate, simple, elliptic to obovate, notophyll

(2-6.5 x 6-15 cm), slightly undulate, coriaceous, glabrous

Inflorescence: solitary, paired in the axil of the leaves, sometimes with 4 together Flower: medium-sized; corolla creamy-white Fruit: fleshy, ovoid to subglobose (6.5 x 9 cm), yellow when ripe, smooth; 1-3 seeds Seed: oblong, very large (3.5 x 6.8 cm), surrounded by yellowish pulp Other: an impressively cylindrical tree, with tiers of horizontal branches. Wood density is 0.68 g/cm3.

Distribution

Continent: Benin to Nigeria (Voorhoeve 1965) Upper Guinea: Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Togo (Voorhoeve 1965) Forest type: upland evergreen forest, wet evergreen forest, moist evergreen forest, moist semi-deciduous forest. A Red List species (Endangered).

Habitat

The abundance decreases slightly with altitude (regression analysis). It prefers heavy soils and avoids swamps (Voorhoeve 1965). It is a strong light-demander in Sierra Leone (Savill & Fox 1967).

Regeneration

Germination is fast, and a large proportion of the seeds germinate (Bonnéhin 2000). Seedlings are rare, since the cotyledons are much predated on by rodents. It has a phanerocotylar epigeal reserve seedling type (cf. Voorhoeve 1965). It is shade-tolerant when young, but capable of rapid height growth (up to 90 cm/yr) when exposed (Bonnéhin 2000). Seedling growth is fairly constant over a large range of light environments (Swaine et al. 1997).

Growth

It reaches almost 1 m in a year in nurseries, and up to 2 m after 18 months. However, when planted under more light-demanding trees in taungya, it attained only 1.5-3.5 m after 13 years (Taylor 1960). In Nigeria, 22 year old plantations of this species had trees of 30 m and 32 cm in diameter (MacKay 1953).

Phenology

Deciduousness: evergreen

Dispersal: by animals among which elephants

(Alexandre 1978)

Timing: flowering period from February to May; fruiting period from October to December (Voorhoeve 1965). In upland evergreen and moist semi-deciduous forests, flowering and fruiting occur throughout the year. In evergreen forests, flowering is from January to February, with fruiting from February to April (Gyimah 1986). Seeds were found in 12% (small rainy season) of piles of elephant dung in Bia South GPR (Martin 1991).

Uses

The seeds produce an edible oil (Abbiw 1990, Bonnehin 2000). It is a good timber species.

Data sources

MacKay (1953), Taylor (1960), Voorhoeve (1965), Savill & Fox (1967), Alexandre (1978), Hall & Swaine (1981), Gyimah (1986), Abbiw (1990), Martin (1991), Hawthorne (1995a), Swaine et al. (1997), Bonnehin (2000), Hawthorne & Parren (2000), IUCN Red List (2000)

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