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ARALIACEAE

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

ARALIACEAE

Cussonia holstii Harms ex Engl.
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: NC.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mpapai mwitu (Sw).
Bole: Straight. Medium. To 20 m.
Bark: Black-grey. Fissured, shed in papery scales.
Slash: Wood soft.
Leaf: Palmate/digitate. 3 – 7 leaflets. Whorled at ends of branches. Lflt: Digitate.
Petiole: 42 cm. Petiolule: 7 cm.
Lamina: Large when palmate: 18 × 36 cm. Medium when digitate: 19 &times 9 cm. When digitate: Ovate. Cuneate/cordate. Asymmetrical. Acuminate/caudate. Serrate/entire. Glabrous/hairy.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: Present. 2 pronged adnate to petioles.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Yellow-green. In terminal spikes of up to 30 together. Hermaphrodite.
Fruit: 0.4 – 0.6 cm.
Ecology: Dry montane forest.
Distr: EA, N, LV. Eastern and Central Africa.
Notes: Mature leaves petiolulate and glabrous. The local name Mpapar mwitu means a wild paw paw tree (though paw paw is in the Caricaceae).
Uses: The wood is white and soft, used for making temporary stools and doors, water troughs, beehives, and wheels for wheelbarrows. The leaves are used for fodder. The bark is boiled in water and the infusion is taken by WaMasai women for cleaning the uterus and removing the placenta after giving birth. The tree is used as a live fence around houses and cattle enclosures.
Cussonia spicata Thunb.
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: NC.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Katikisa (F), Mntindi (S), Mynyonzolo (H), Mpokori (C), Mpororo (C).
Bole: Straight. Medium/small. To 20 m.
Bark: Pale brown. Soft.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Digitate/palmate. 6-12 leaflets. Whorled. At ends of branches. Lflt: Palmate.
Petiole: 50 – 67 cm. Petiolules: Winged. Sessile – 8 cm.
Lamina: Large. 30 – 35 × 15 – 19 cm. Lanceolate/partially pinnate. Cuneate. Acuminate. Serrate. Glabrous.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: Present, persistant, large.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Yellow-green. Terminal pedunculate spikes. Hermaphrodite.
Fruit: Subconical up to 1.2 cm long.
Ecology: Dry montane forest.

Distr: EA, N, LN. Eastern and Southern Africa.
Notes: Spike with distinct peduncle. Lflts pinnatifid. Flowers sessile or subsessile.
Uses: Cussonia spicata has soft wood similar to C. holstii. The wood and leaves are used in the same way as in C. holstii. The tree is also used for boundary marking and shade. Leaves are used as medicine for snake bites, malaria and constipation.

Distribution of Cussonia spicata.

Cussonia zimmermannii Harms
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: NC.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mbomba maji, Mpapai mwitu (Sw).
Bole: Medium. To 25 m.

Bark: Grey/green. Fissured/rough.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Digitate. 5 – 7 leaflets. Whorled. Clustered at ends of branches. Lflt: Digitate.
Petiole: 20 – 53.5 cm. Petiolule: Sessile – 1 cm.
Lamina: Large. 10 – 25 × 4 – 8 cm. Oblanceolate/ovate. Cuneate. Acuminate/acute. Serrate/entire. Glabrous/slightly hairy.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: Present.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: White. Terminal spikes of up to 12 together, up to 34 cm long. Hermaphrodite.
Fruit: Obconical/ hemispherical 0.6 cm long.
Ecology: Dry lowland and lowland forest. Woodland. Distr: C, EA. Eastern Africa.
Notes: Lflts sessile not pinnatifid. Flowers pedicellate. Lflts simple. Petiolules without obvious wings. The local name Mpapai mwitu means a wild paw paw tree (though paw paw is in the Caricaceae). The height of 45 m given in FTEA is probably too tall, and may be due to confusion with Ricinodendron heudelotii in the field.
Uses: The wood is soft and used for bee hives, stools, water troughs, doors, coffins, wheels for wheelbarrows and sheaths for swords and knives. Leaves are used as medicine for gonorrhoea, malaria and fever. Roots are boiled and the liquid is used as a tooth gargle to stop gum bleeding and bewitchment.
Polyscias albersiana Harms
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: NC.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Kogo (S).
Bole: Straight. Medium. To 20 m.
Bark: Grey.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Odd-pinnate. 7 – 11 leaflets. 60 cm long. Whorled. At ends of branches. Lflt: Opposite.
Petiole: Petiolules: 0.8 – 3.5 cm.
Lamina: Medium. 13 × 5.5 cm. Lanceolate/elliptic/ovate. Cordate/rounded. Asymmetric. Acuminate. Entire. Hairy below. Stellate.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: NR.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Yellow-green. In umbellules. Hermaphrodite.
Fruit: Ovoid to 0.7 cm long.
Ecology: Montane forest.
Distr: EA, N.
Notes: A record from Ufipa may be a new species. Dichotomous branching and flat crown. Flowers in racemosely arranged umbellules.
Uses: The wood is white and soft being used for making bee hives, water pots, stools and milk pots. The tree is used for shade and ornamental purposes.
Polyscias fulva (Hiern) Harms
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: P. ferruginea (Hiern) Harms, P. malosana Harms, P. polbotrya Harms
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Kogo (S), Mdeke (H), Namatata (F), Sihanda (T).
Bole: Straight. Large. To 30 m.
Bark: Grey. Smooth.
Slash: Mottled, pale brown.
Leaf: Odd/even-pinnate, 6 – 12 pairs of leaflets. 80 cm long. Whorled. At ends of branches. Lflt: Opposite.
Petiole: Up to 20 cm. Petiolules: Sessile – 1.4 cm.
Lamina: Medium. 14 × 6 cm. Lanceolate/ovate. Cordate/cuneate/rounded. Acute/acuminate/mucronate. Entire. Hairy below. Stellate.
Domatia: Absent.

Glands: Absent.
Stipules: Absent.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Green-yellow/white. Terminal racemule. Flowers honey scented. Hermaphrodite.
Fruit: Ovoid 0.4 – 0.6 × 0.3 – 0.4 cm.
Ecology: Montane forest.

Distr: EA, N, LN, LT, LV. Tropical Africa.
Notes: Dichotomous branching and flat crown. Flowers in racemosely arranged racemules.
Uses: Soft, white wood which is used for general purpose timber for doors, bee hives, water troughs, food containers, tea chests, plywood, firewood, milk pots and sheaths for knives and swords. The tree is also important in agroforestry being fast growing and enriching the soil by its massive foliage which falls and rots on the ground. It is also a good ornamental and shade tree because of its heavy umbrella-shaped crown.

Distribution of Polyscias fulva.

Polycias stuhlmannii Harms
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: NC.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Kogo (S).
Bole: Straight/crooked. Small/medium. To 20 m.
Bark: Pale grey.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Whorled. Odd-pinnate. 4 – 5 pairs of lflts. To 60 cm long. Lflt: Opposite.
Petiole: Petiolules: 0.4 – 0.8 cm.
Lamina: Medium. 6 – 12 × 2 – 5.5 cm. Ovate/oblong. Cuneate. Obtuse/acute. Entire. Glabrous.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: NR.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Dark red petals. Paniculate, pedicels umbellate. Hermaphrodite.
Fruit: Urceolate 0.7 – 0.9 cm long.
Ecology: Upper montane forest.
Distr: EA only.
Notes: Flowers in umbelulles. Leaves glabrous.
Uses: The wood is used for bee hives, food pots, water troughs, cups, milk pots and firewood. The tree is evergreen and attractive for shade and amenity.
Schefflera abyssinica (Hochst. ex A. Rich.) Harms
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: NC.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Lutala (T).
Bole: Branched. Small/medium. To 30 m. Also an epiphyte.
Bark: Grey-brown to grey black. Rough, fissured, smooth. Corky.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Digitate. 5 – 7 leaflets. Whorled at ends of branches. Lflt: Digitate.
Petiole: Up to 42 cm. Petiolules: Up to 7 cm.
Lamina: Medium/large. Up to 25 × 15 cm. Elliptic/ovate/oblanceolate. Cordate/rounded/cuneate. Acuminate. Entire/serrate. Glabrous/slightly hairy.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: NR.
Stipules: Present on younger leaves. Up to 1.7 cm long.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Umbel or short raceme of up to 12 peduncullate umbellules. Hermaphrodite.
Fruit: Urceolate to subspherical up to 0.5 cm long.
Ecology: Montane, upper montane forest.
Distr: LT. Tropical Southern, Western and North Eastern Africa.
Notes: Infloresence of racemosely arranged umbellules. Lflts with conspicuous regularly spaced lateral veins.
Uses: Soft wood used for stools and water pots. The tree is attractive and is used for amenity. The leaves and young shoots are pounded and used as medicine for small pox by the WaBende.
Schefflera goetzenii Harms
Syn. FTEA: S. barteri sensu Tennant non (Seem.) Harms
Syn. TTCL: S. stuhlmannii Harms
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Zutwe (S).
Bole: Crooked/scandent. Medium. To 15 m (as a tree), 30 m (as a liane).
Bark: Pale brown.
Slash: Pale yellow.
Leaf: Digitate with 4 – 11 leaflets. Alternate. Lflt: Digitate.
Petiole: 57 cm. Petiolules: 0.5 – 7 cm.
Lamina: Medium. 25 × 10 cm. Elliptic/ovate/lanceolate. Cuneate/rounded/cordate. Acuminate/apiculate. Entire. Glabrous.
Domatia: Absent. Glands: Absent.
Stipules: Present. Large, 2.7 cm long. Persistent.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Umbel of 3 – 10 racemes of umbellules. Hermaphrodite.
Fruit: Urceolate to 0.5 × 4 cm.
Ecology: Montane forest.
Distr: EA. Central and Southern tropical Africa.
Notes: Lateral veins few. Infl. with racemose and umbellate branching. The local name Zutwe means a liane.
Uses: Soft wood. It is used for ornamental purposes in gardens and as a pot plant indoors because of its attractive dark-green digitate leaves. It also provides nice shade. The wood is used for firewood. Roots are boiled and the liquid is taken before child-birth for safe delivery.
Schefflera lukwangulensis (Tennant) Bernardi
Syn. FTEA: Cussonia lukwangulensis Tennant
Syn. TTCL: Cussonia buchananii Harms
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Zutwe (S).
Bole: Branched. Small. To 15 m.
Bark: NR.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Digitate. Whorled. Clustered at ends of branches. Lflt: Digitate.
Petiole: Up to 18 cm. Petiolules: Up to 2.2 cm.
Lamina: Medium. Up to 15 × 4 cm. Oblong-lanceolate/elliptic. Cuneate. Acuminate. Entire/slightly serrate. Glabrous/circular pustules.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: Small. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Group of 20 racemes of umbellules. Hermaphrodite.
Fruit: NR.
Ecology: Upper montane forest.
Distr: EA only (Ng, P, Udz, Ul).
Notes: Differs from S. umbellifera by longer leaf acumen, narrower leaves and more attenuate leaf base. A clump of trees on the lower part of Luisenga Stream in Mufindi has been identified in the field as S. umbellifera, but herbarium material from this locality has been placed in S. lukwangulensis. The taxonomic relationship between S. umbellifera and S. lukwangulensis needs to be clarified.
Uses: Suitable for shade and ornamental purposes.
Schefflera myriantha (Baker) Drake
Syn. FTEA: S. polysciadia Harms
Syn. TTCL: S. polysciadia Harms
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Zutwe (S).
Bole: Scandent/branched. Usually a tall liane, occassionally a small/medium tree to 16 m.
Bark: Pale brown, soft.
Slash: Pale yellow.
Leaf: Digitate. 5 – 7 leaflets. Whorled at ends of branches. Lflt: Digitate.
Petiole: Up to 22 cm. Petiolules: 1 – 8.5 cm.
Lamina: Medium. Up to 28 × 12.5 cm. Elliptic/oblong/lanceolate. Cuneate/rounded/cordate. Acuminate/mucronate. Entire. Glabrous.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: Present. Large up to 4.5 cm long. Persistent.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Panicles of umbellules. Hermaphrodite.
Fruit: Urceolate to subspherical up to 0.5 cm in diameter.

Distribution of Schefflera myriantha.


Ecology: Montane and upper montane forest.

Distr: EA, N, LN, LT. Eastern and Central Africa. Madagascar.
Notes: Flowers pedicellate in umbellules. Lflts with many close lateral veins. Lvs with conspicuous stipules. Styles 5 – 9.
Uses: Attractive liane or small tree suitable for shade and ornamental purposes.
Schefflera stolzii Harms
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: NC.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: NR.
Bole: Normally a liane. If it behaves like the other species of Schefflera, then it will also become a tree.
Bark: NR.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Digitate. 5 – 6 leaflets. Whorled at ends of branches. Lflt: Digitate.
Petiole: 22 cm.
Lamina: Medium. 15 × 8 cm. Ovate/elliptic. Rounded/cordate. Acuminate. Entire. Glabrous.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: NR.
Stipules: Sheath like, up to 0.7 cm long.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Umbel of branched racemes. Hermaphrodite.
Fruit: Urceolate 0.4 cm long.
Ecology: Montane forest.
Distr: LN.
Notes: Flowers sessile in pedunculate capitula. Lflts long-acuminate.
Uses: Liane with very decorative leaves suitable for pot planting in doors.
Schefflera volkensii (Engl.) Harms
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: NC.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mfuruma (C), Oltini (M).
Bole: Branched/scandent. Medium. To 30 m.
Bark: Brown.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Digitate. 4 – 7 leaflets. Whorled at ends of branches. Lflt: Digitate.
Petiole: Up to 13 cm. Petiolule: 2.1 cm.
Lamina: Medium. Up to 15 × 7 cm. Elliptic/oblanceolate. Rounded/cuneate. Acute/apiculate. Entire. Glabrous.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: Present. Sheath-like up to 1.2 cm long.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Raceme of bractate racemes. Flowers sessile. Hermaphrodite.
Fruit: Urceolate, up to 0.5 cm long.
Ecology: Montane, upper montane and dry montane forest.
Distr: EA (P), N. East and North East Africa.
Notes: Flowers sessile. Lflts acute to rounded. Petiolules 2.1 cm. Peduncles of capitula 1 cm long.
Uses: Wood is used for firewood and charcoal. The tree is used for ornamental purposes and as a shade tree for coffee farms. The resin from the bark is used as medicine for coughs and colds by the WaMasai, WaMeru and WaChagga after mixing with honey. Leaves are also used for liver problems.
Last Updated: 15 June 2017