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AQUIFOLIACEAE

Field Guide to the Moist Forest Trees of Tanzania

Jon C. Lovett, Chris K. Ruffo, Roy E. Gereau & James R.D. Taplin
Illustrations by Line Sørensen & Jilly Lovett

AQUIFOLIACEAE

Ilex mitis (L.) Radlk.
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: NC.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Pofwe-honsi (F), Msaera (C), Saira (C), Genda-na-mto(S).
Bole: Straight/crooked. Branched. Large/small. To 40 m.
Bark: Grey/pale brown. Smooth. With slight horizontal rings.
Slash: Pale orange/yellow with pale flecks, disolouring dirty yellow near the wood. Soft. Wet toward wood. Granular.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate.
Petiole: 0.5 – 1 cm. Channeled.
Lamina: Small. 3 – 14 × 1 – 5 cm. Elliptic. Cuneate. Acute/apiculate. Entire at base, serrate at tip. Glabrous.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: Present, falling, small.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Axillary cymes, usually fascicled, rarely solitary. Fragrant. Hermaphrodite.
Fruit: Yellow-green drupe. Globose. 0.4 – 0.7 cm in diameter.
Ecology: Montane, dry montane and upper montane forest.
Distr: EA, N, LN. Tropical and Southern Africa, Madagascar.
Notes: Spinous toothing towards leaf-tips, though this is often obscure. Prominent mid-rib on upper leaf surface. The local name Genda-na-mto means a riverine tree.
Uses: The wood is white and hard. It is used for timber, grain mortars, pestles, animal yokes, building poles, sleepers, tool handles, wooden spoons and fencing poles. The powder made from dried bark is inhaled to cure colds and wounds. A decoction from bark is used to cure constipation. The small fruits are sometimes eaten. The tree is also important as a bee forage.
Last Updated: 15 June 2017