info@celp.org.uk

BOMBACEAE

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

BOMBACEAE

Adansonia digitata L.
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: NC.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mbuyu (Sw), Mkondo (H), Mpela (G), Mramba (P), Ol mesera (M).
Bole: Massive. Medium. To 20 m.
Bark: Grey. Smooth with holes and pits.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Digitate. 5 – 7 leaflets. Alternate. Clustered at ends of branches. Lflt: Digitate.
Petiole: 4 – 12 cm. Petiolule: 0.05 – 1.0 cm.
Lamina: Medium. 5 – 17 × 2 – 7 cm. Lanceolate/obovate. Cuneate. Acuminate. Entire. Glabrous. Young leaves with stellate hairs.
Domatia: Hairs in the base of leaflets.
Glands: NR.
Stipules: Present. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: White, unpleasantly scented. Axillary, solitary, hanging.
Fruit: Pale brown/grey-green. Woody, cylindric-oblong ovoid, hanging. Edible, filled with mealy pulp, densely pubescent. Up to 35 × 13 cm. Seeds many to 1.3 cm, dark brown.
Ecology: Dry lowland forest. Woodland. Dry woodland.
Distr: C, LN. Widespread Tropical and Southern Africa. Madagascar.
Notes: Deciduous.
Uses: Soft and fibrous wood which stores a lot of water which can be tapped and used during times of scarcity. The bark is fibrous and used for making ropes and weaving mats. Leaves are used as vegetable and medicine for stomach-ache. Fruits are edible and are used for making juices and ice cream. The tree is also important for bee forage, ornamental, and for religious ceremonies. The bark is used as medicine for generalised body pains. The bark is also used as a hot bath for fever in adults and for weak children.
Bombax rhodognaphalon K. Schum.
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: NC.
Syn. other: Rhodognaphalon schummannianum Robyns
Local names: Msufi-mwitu (Sw), Wild Kapok tree (E).
Bole: Straight. Large. To 40 m. (36 m in FTEA).
Bark: Green/brown. Peeling in thin flakes/smooth. Scaly on older trees. Young branches glabrous/few scattered hairs.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Digitate. 5 – 7 leaflets. Alternate. Clustered at ends of branches.
Petiole: 3.5 – 12.5 cm. Petiolule: 0.3 – 2 cm.
Lamina: Medium. 3 – 14 × 2 – 6 cm. Elliptic/lanceolate. Cuneate. Acuminate. Entire. Glabrous/hairy (for the species and varieties in T6 the leaves and pedicels are completely glabrous) with stellate pubescence.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: NR.
Stipules: Present. Falling. Lanceolate.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Red/pale yellow/white. Axillary fasicles of 2 – 5 flowers.
Fruit: Brown. Hairy. Woody capsule. Ellipsoid. Seeds with hairs. 5 – 13 × 2.4 – 4.5 cm.
Ecology: Dry lowland and lowland forest. Riverine. Coastal thicket.
Distr: C, EA, LN. Eastern and Southeastern Tropical Africa.
Notes: var. rhodognaphalon, glabrous; var. tomentosum Robyns, stellate hairs.
Uses: The soft wood is used for timber and pulp. The bark produces ropes, red dye and is used as medicine for diarrhoea by WaShambaa. Leaves and roots are also used as medicine against bewitchment. The fruits have floss which is used for making pillows and mattresses. The tree is planted as an avenue tree.
Last Updated: 15 June 2017