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CELASTRACEAE

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

CELASTRACEAE

Catha edulis (Vahl) Forssk. ex Endl.
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: C. edulis Forsk.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mrungi (Sw), Muhulo (H), Mwandama (S), Olmeraa (M), Takana (F).
Bole: Straight/crooked/slightly buttressed. To 25 m.
Bark: Brown/orange/grey. Smooth/fissured vertically.
Slash: Pink/brown/red with bright orange underbark. Thin.
Leaf: Simple. Opposite.
Petiole: 0.3 – 0.1 cm.
Lamina: Small/medium. 5.5 – 11 × 1.5 – 4.5 cm. Elliptic/lanceolate. Cuneate. Obtuse/acuminate. Serrate. Glabrous.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: Small, 0.2 cm long. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: White-green. Axillary cymes. Hermaphrodite.
Fruit: Red capsule. 0.6 – 1.0 cm long. Winged seeds.
Ecology: Dry montane forest.
Distr: EA, N, LN, LT. Southwestern Arabian Peninsula, Eastern and Southern Africa to Angola. Madagascar.
Notes: Young leaves red.
Uses: The wood is hard and durable, and is used for timber, firewood, building poles, pestles, animal yokes and tool handles. Leaves are chewed as a stimulant but have dangerous long term side effects. The tree is also used for shade and as a bee forage.
Maytenus acuminata (L.f.) Loes.
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: Gymnosporia acuminata (L.f.) Szyszyl. var. lepidota (Loes.) Loes., Gymnosporia amaniensis Loes., Gymnosporia bukobina Loes.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mlimbolimbo (S), Mbuzunga (S).
Bole: Crooked. Small/medium. To 20 m.
Bark: Brown. Scaling.
Slash: Pink/red fibrous with sticky threads.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate.
Petiole: 0.2 – 1 cm.
Lamina: Small. 1.7 – 12.1 × 0.8 – 4.7 cm. Ovate/elliptic. Cuneate. Obtuse/acuminate. Serrate/entire. Glabrous.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: Very small. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Green/white/dark red. Axillary cymes. Hermaphrodite.
Fruit: Green/yellow/orange/red capsule. 0.4 – 1.1 cm long. Seeds enclosed in an orange aril.
Ecology: Montane, upper montane and dry montane forest.
Distr: EA, N, LN, LT, LV. Eastern, East Central and Southern Africa.
Notes: Sticky threads in the leaf. The local name Mlimbolimbo means bird lime tree, referring to the sticky latex threads.
Uses: The wood is hard and used for building poles, firewood, wooden spoons, tool handles, pestles, milk pots and yokes. The leaves are resinous and used for smearing trays and for producing a red dye. The tree is used for shade and as a bee forage.
Maytenus undata (Thunb.) Blakelock
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: Gymnosporia rehmannii Szyszyl., Gymnosporia lancifolia (Thonn.) Loes., Gymnosporia luteola (Del.) Loes., Gymnosporia goetzeana Loes., M. goetzeana (Loes.) Loes., M. laurifolius (A.Rich.) Loes.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Chongalindi (F), Kakuhona (T), Olgerosha (M).
Bole: Small. To 10 m.
Bark: Grey.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate.
Petiole: 0.2 – 0.8 cm.
Lamina: Medium. 3.2 – 13 × 1.2 – 7.5 cm. Oblong/ovate/elliptic. Cuneate/subcordate. Acute. Serrate. Glabrous.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: NR.
Stipules: NR.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: White/pale yellow. Axillary cymes.
Fruit: Capsule. Obovoid/subglobose/3-gonous. White/pink/orange. 0.4 – 0.7 cm long.
Ecology: Riverine, dry lowland, dry montane forest. Woodland. Thicket.
Distr: C, EA, N, LN, LT, LV. Widespread in Tropical and Southern Africa, Madagascar, Comoros.
Notes: No latex threads in the leaves. Usually a shrub.
Uses: The timber of larger trees is red, hard and heavy, used for carpentry and building. Bark decotion is used as a tonic.
Mystroxylon aethiopicum (Thunb.) Loes.
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: M. aethiopicum (Thunb.) Loes. var. pubescens (Oliv.) Brenan, M. goetzei Loes., M. holstii (Loes.) Loes., M. ussanguensis Loes.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mlimbolimbo (Sw).
Bole: Branched/straight. Small/medium. To 18 m.
Bark: Black/dark brown. Fissured. Rough.
Slash: Dark red, paler beneath. Hard. Thin. Watery exudate.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate/ opposite.
Petiole: 0.1 – 0.8 cm.
Lamina: Small/medium. 1.6 – 12 × 0.8 – 5.6 cm. Ovate/lanceolate/oblong/elliptic. Cuneate/rounded/cordate. Acute/obtuse/emarginate. Entire/serrate. Glabrous/slightly hairy.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Leaves can be glandular denticulate.
Stipules: Present. Small. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Pale green/yellow. Axillary clusters. Hermaphrodite.
Fruit: Green/red/dark red. Globose drupe. 0.8 – 2 cm.
Ecology: Riverine, dry lowland, upper montane and dry montane forest. Woodland. Grassland.
Distr: C, EA, N, LN, LT, LV. North-East, Central and Southern Africa.
Notes: Variable species.
Uses: The wood is used for firewood, wooden spoons, tool handles, mortars, beehives, yokes and milk pots.. The tree is used for shade and bee forage. Fruits are sometimes eaten. Leaves are used for tea by the WaMasai. The bark is used as medicine for stomach-ache, anaemia, and produces brown dye. Leaves are pounded and the resin is used to prepare bird lime.
Platypterocarpus tanganyikensis Dunkley & Brenan
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: NC.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mwandama-mghoshi(S).
Bole: Straight. Medium. To 27 m.
Bark: Grey with red-yellow tinge.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate.
Petiole: 0.8 – 1.5 cm.
Lamina: Small. 4 – 11.5 × 1.1 – 5.3 cm. Ovate/lanceolate/elliptic. Cuneate. Acute/acuminate. Serrate. Glabrous.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: NR.
Stipules: Small. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Axillary cymes. Hermaphrodite.
Fruit: Yellow/red-brown. 4 – 5 wings. 1.6 – 3.6 × 2.5 – 5 cm.
Ecology: Dry montane forest.
Distr: EA only (WUs).
Notes: Possibly extinct. This monotypic endemic genus is only known from a few collections from the drier parts of the Shume-Magamba forests of the West Usambara mountains. These forests were excised from the forest reserve in the 1960’s and the area given over to cultivation. The tree has not been relocated since.
Uses: The wood is hard and strong. It was used for firewood, wooden spoons, tool handles, mortars, bee hives and yokes. The tree was used for shade and as a bee forage by the WaShambaa. Leaves were chewed like those of Catha edulis.
Pleurostylia africana Loes.
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: NC.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Kaulwampako (N), Mnamai, Mnwamaji (Sw).
Bole: Branched. Small/medium. To 16 m.
Bark: Grey. Rough in older trees. Pale grey-green and 4-lined when young.
Slash: Pink.
Leaf: Simple. Opposite/subopposite.
Petiole: 0.3 – 0.8 cm.
Lamina: Small. 4 – 9 × 1 – 4 cm. Elliptic. Cuneate. Acuminate/acute. Entire. Glabrous.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: NR.
Stipules: Present. Small. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Green-yellow. Axillary cymes. Hermaphrodite.
Fruit: Green. Drupe.
Ecology: Dry lowland forest. Woodland.
Distr: C. Eastern, Central and Southern Africa.
Notes: Usually found on forest edge. Numerous lateral veins slightly raised on both surfaces.
Uses: The wood is used for wooden spoons, mortars, milk pots, combs, beehives and firewood. Bark and roots are used as medicine for stomach-ache and as an aphrodisiac. It is also used for shade and bee forage.
Last Updated: 16 June 2017