Sterculiaceae

Description

Guild: sb Life form: large tree Max. height: 45 m (Voorhoeve 1965) Max. diameter: 120 cm (Voorhoeve 1965) Leaf: alternate, simple, elliptic to obovate, notophyll (2.5-6 x 5-13 cm), entire, fairly coriaceous, glabrous above, slightly puberulous beneath, medium green Inflorescence: axillary, branched (cymose) Flower: medium-sized; corolla yellowish white Fruit: dry dehiscent (capsule), bell-shaped (2 x 3 cm), woody, brown, densely puberulous; up to 10 seeds

Seed: flat, medium-sized (0.6 cm long), winged (wing 0.7 x 1.5 cm)

Other: a slender tree with narrow buttresses, and a small, dark, dense crown. Wood density is 0.77 g/cm3.

Distribution

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

Forest type: upland evergreen forest, moist evergreen forest, moist semi-deciduous forest, dry semi-deciduous forest, secondary forest (Voorhoeve 1965, Hall & Swaine 1981). It is common in Ghana (Hall & Swaine 1981).

Habitat

The abundance of the species decreases strongly with rainfall, and to a lesser extent with soil fertility (regression analysis), although in Ghana it does not show a preference for certain rainfall or soil fertility conditions (Swaine 1996). It is not markedly light demanding, avoids swampy localities and favours hills and base-rich soils. It is often found growing in groups (Voorhoeve 1965).

Regeneration

Germination is regular, with a slightly lower than normal (73%) germination success (Taylor 1960). Light shade is apparently needed on germination beds. It has a phanerocotylar epigeal foliaceous seedling type (cf. Voorhoeve 1965). Seedlings benefit from moderate forest canopy, with an increasing requirement for overhead light with age. Saplings, nevertheless, are common in medium-sized to large gaps in some areas.

Growth

In Tropical Shelterwood plots the saplings can reach 1-1.5 m in 4 years (Taylor 1960). In undisturbed forest in Nigeria, mean annual diameter increments of 0.5 cm have been recorded for 2.5-5 cm diameter trees (Dommen 1957).

Phenology

Deciduousness: mostly evergreen, but Taylor (1960) records that it may be deciduous for a brief period in the dry season. Dispersal: by wind (Voorhoeve 1965) Timing: flowering period in May; fruiting period in May, July and December (Voorhoeve 1965)

Uses

A timber species.

Data sources

Dommen (1957), Taylor (1960), Voorhoeve (1965), Hall & Swaine (1981), Hawthorne (1995a), Swaine (1996)

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