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STERCULIACEAE

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

STERCULIACEAE

Cola clavata Mast.
Syn. FTEA: NP.
Syn. TTCL: NR.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Muungu (S).
Bole: Branched. Small/medium. To 20 m.
Bark: Brown-grey/pale green. Smooth.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate.
Petiole: To 6 cm. Slightly swollen at base.
Lamina: Medium. 13 × 6 cm. Elliptic. Cuneate. Acute. Entire. Glabrous.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: 0.3 cm. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Axillary clusters or on older wood. Pale brown/cream/green-white. Dioecious.
Fruit: Follicle. 2 × 1.1 cm.
Ecology: Riverine and lowland forest.
Distr: C, EA. Coastal Kenya and Mozambique.
Notes: Stellate hairs on young branches and petiole. Flora Zambesica suggests that this species is only found in Mozambique and that specimens from further north represent a new species. Flowers unusually small for the genus.
Uses: The wood is hard, tough and heavy. It is used for firewood, building poles, tool handles, animal traps and fencing poles. The tree is suitable for shade and avenues.
Cola discoglypremnophylla Brenan & A. P. D. Jones
Syn. FTEA: NP.
Syn. TTCL: NC.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Muungu (S).
Bole: Small. To 10 m.
Bark: Whitish. Longitudinally fissured.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate.
Petiole: To 6.6 cm. Basal and apical pulvini.
Lamina: Medium. 5 – 18 × 3 – 13 cm. Ovate/elliptic. Cuneate/rounded. Acute. Entire. Glabrous.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: 0.8 cm. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: In axillary clusters on older wood. White/yellow. Dioecious.
Fruit: Red/brown on older wood.
Ecology: Riverine and lowland forest.
Distr: C. Mozambique.
Notes: Stellate hairs on young branches and petiole.
Uses: Used for firewood, poles, tool handles, animal traps and shade.
Cola greenwayi Brenan
Syn. FTEA: NP.
Syn. TTCL: C. sp. no. 6.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mkwati (S), Msasani (S), Muungu (S).
Bole: Straight/fluted. Large. To 24 m.
Bark: Pale brown/grey. Thick. Smooth/scaling.
Slash: Pale brown/cream/yellow with fine lighter streaks, discolouring brown. Fibrous. Slight acrid smell.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate. Towards end of branches.
Petiole: 5.5 cm. Pulvinus below lamina.
Lamina: Medium/small. 15 × 7 cm. Elliptic/oblong/lanceolate. Cuneate. Acuminate. Entire. Glabrous.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: 0.5 cm. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Ramiflorous clusters. Dioecious.
Fruit: Follicles 1 – 1.8 × 1.4 – 2 cm.
Ecology: Submontane and montane forests.
Distr: EA. Eastern and Southeastern Tropical Africa.
Notes: var. greenwayi in Tanzania, var. keniensis Brenan in Kenya.
Uses: The wood is tough, hard and heavy. It is used for building poles, tool handles, pegs, animal traps, firewood and charcoal.
Cola scheffleri K. Schum.
Syn. FTEA: NP.
Syn. TTCL: NC.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Msamaka (B, S), Kavi (S, Z), Mlungu (S), Mombwe (S), Msasani (S).
Bole: Large.
Bark: Small protrusions on trunk.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate.
Petiole: 4 – 10 cm.
Lamina: Large. 7.5 – 23 × 4 – 13 cm. Oblong. Cordate. Entire.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: NR.
Stipules: NR.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Racemose.
Fruit: NR.
Ecology: Submontane forest.
Distr: EA.
Notes: NR.
Uses: The wood is soft and used for firewood. The tree is used for shade and amenity. Fruits are edible.
Cola uloloma Brenan
Syn. FTEA: NP.
Syn. TTCL: NR.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: NR.
Bole: Straight. Slightly fluted. Small/large.
Bark: Pale brown. Slightly fissured.
Slash: Cream with broad white stripes and finely layered. Woody.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate.
Petiole: NR.
Lamina: Small. 4 – 11 × 1.5 – 5 cm. Elliptic/oblong-lanceolate. Cuneate. Acuminate/obtuse. Entire. Glabrous.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: NR.
Stipules: Present. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Pink/brown. Dioecious.
Fruit: NR.
Ecology: Lowland forest.
Distr: C, EA. Kenya, Malawi.
Notes: The small leaves and relatively short petiole make it distinct amongst the Tanzanian Cola species.
Uses: Used for firewood, poles, tool handles, charcoal and shade.
Cola usambarensis Engl.
Syn. FTEA: NP.
Syn. TTCL: NC.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Muungu (S).
Bole: Branched. Small/medium. To 15 m.
Bark: NR.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: NR.
Petiole: 19 cm. Swollen and bent near apex.
Lamina: Medium. 25 × 13 cm. Oblong-elliptic. Cuneate. Entire. Glabrous.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: NR.
Stipules: NR.
Thorns & Spines: NR.
Flower: Ramiflorous. Brown-cream.
Fruit: NR.
Ecology: Submontane forest.
Distr: EA.
Notes: Young shoots with stellate hairs.
Uses: The wood is very hard, heavy and tough. It is used for firewood, poles, charcoal, animal traps and tool handles. The tree has good shade.
Dombeya kirkii Mast.
Syn. FTEA: NP.
Syn. TTCL: D. gilgiana K. Schum., D. gilgiana K. Schum. var. scaberula K. Schum., D. warneckei Engl.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mlwati (Z), Msausa (G).
Bole: Small/medium. To 15 m.
Bark: NR.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Simple/rarely lobed. Alternate.
Petiole: 1.5 – 8.8 cm.
Lamina: Medium. 3.5 – 18 × 2 – 13 cm. Ovate. Cordate. Acuminate/acute. Serrate. Hairy. Stellate.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: 0.4 – 0.7 cm long. Lanceolate. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Axillary panicle. White.
Fruit: Globose capsule. 0.4 – 0.6 cm in diameter.
Ecology: Secondary lowland forest. Woodland. Thicket.
Distr: C, EA, N, LV. Eastern and Central Africa.
Notes: A closely related smaller species, D. taylorii Baker f., differs from D. kirkii in the leaves being broadest in the upper half, apex broadly rounded and venation prominently reticulate beneath.
Uses: The wood is used for firewood, bows, arrows, spear shafts & tool handles. The tree is used for ornamental purposes. Roots are boiled and used in the treatment of yaws and abdominal pains.
Dombeya mupangae K. Schum.
Syn. FTEA: NP.
Syn. TTCL: Dombeya shupangae K. Schum.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mlwati (Z), Msasi (G).
Bole: Small. To 10 m.
Bark: Dark and rough.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Simple/lobed. Alternate.
Petiole: 8 cm.
Lamina: Medium. 3 × 20 cm. Ovate. Acute. Cordate. Serrate. Hairy. Stellate.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: 0.3 cm. Lanceolate. Falling.
Thorns and spines: Absent.
Flower: Axillary panicles. White/pink.
Fruit: Capsule. Globose tomentose. 0.6 – 0.7 cm in diameter.
Ecology: Lowland forest (in Malawi in montane forest). Woodland.
Distr: C. Eastern and Central Tropical Africa.
Notes: Closely related to D. rotundifolia, but has larger leaves with a less densely hairy undersurface and less prominent and close reticulate venation.
Uses: Used for firewood, charcoal, tool handles, bows, spoons and amenity.
Dombeya torrida (J.F. Gmel.) Bamps
Syn. FTEA: NP.
Syn. TTCL: Subsp. erythroleuca (K. Schum.) Seyani: D. erythroleuca K. Schum., D. macrotis K. Schum., D. malacoxylon K. Schum., D. monticola K. Schum., D. schoenodoter K. Schum. Subsp. torrida: D. heterotricha Mildbr., D. leucoderma K. Schum.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mkilika, Mlwati (S).
Bole: Branched. Medium. To 25 m.
Bark: Pale grey. Smooth.
Slash: Pale pink. Fibrous.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate.
Petiole: 4 – 20 cm. Round.
Lamina: Medium. 7 – 28 × 5 – 20 cm. Ovate. Cordate. 7 – 9 nerved. Acuminate. Serrate. Hairy. Stellate/simple.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: To 2.1 cm long. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Axillary, subumbellate, panicles. White/pink. Hermaphrodite.
Fruit: Globose capsule.
Ecology: Secondary or open montane, upper montane and dry montane forest. Pioneer.
Distr: Subsp. erythroleuca: EA, LN. Eastern Tropical Africa. Subsp. torrida: N. Central and North-eastern Africa.
Notes: Subsp. erythroleuca: lower leaf surface more sparsely hairy, leaf more gradually narrowed to apex. Subsp. torrida: lower leaf surface densely hairy, leaf lamina abruptly narrowed at apex.
Uses: It is used for firewood, poles, bows, spoons, fibre (bark), amenity and bee forage. The bark of subsp. torrida is used for treating indigestion.
Heritiera littoralis Dryand.
Syn. FTEA: NP.
Syn. TTCL: NC.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: NR.
Bole: Small. To 16 m.
Bark: NR.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate.
Petiole: 1 – 2 cm.
Lamina: Medium. 9 – 30 × 4 – 15 cm. Elliptic-ovate/elliptic-oblong. Acute/obtuse. Rounded/cordate. Entire. Glabrous with silvery scales beneath.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: To 0.6 cm long, falling.
Thorns and spines: Absent.
Flower: Axillary panicles. Green-yellow. Dioecious.
Fruit: Brown shiny woody indehiscent carpels, keeled along back. 5 – 8 cm long.
Ecology: Landward side of mangroves.
Distr: C. Eastern Tropical Africa, Madagascar, Comoros, Tropical Asia and the Pacific.
Notes: The follicles float and are distributed by sea currents.
Uses: Trunks are used for dhow masts.
Leptonychia usambarensis K. Schum.
Syn. FTEA: NP.
Syn. TTCL: NC.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mzonozono (S), Kulakula (S).
Bole: Small/medium. To 18 m.
Bark: Dark brown.
Slash: White/yellow with streaks, discolouring brown, black underbark.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate.
Petiole: 1.0 – 1.6 cm. Round.
Lamina: Medium. 4 – 22 × 2 – 9 cm. Oblong/elliptic. Cuneate. Acuminate. Entire. Glabrous.
Domatia: Present. Simple hairs.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: Present. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Axillary cymes. Green-white.
Fruit: Apiculate capsule.
Ecology: Lowland, submontane and montane forest.
Distr: C, EA, N.
Notes: NR.
Uses: The wood is white, slightly heavy and easy to work. It is used for tool handles, spoons, bedsteads and whip-sticks. The tree is good for shade, amenity, and bee forage. The bark produces fibre.
Nesogordonia holtzii (Engl.) Capuron ex L. C. Barnett & Dorr
Syn. FTEA: NP.
Syn. TTCL: Cistanthera holtzii Engl.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Muheru (Sw).
Bole: Small/medium. To 25 m.
Bark: Pale grey/dark grey. Smooth/rough.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate.
Petiole: To 2 cm.
Lamina: Small. 6.5 × 3.5 cm. Ovate/oblong/oblong-lanceolate. Cuneate/cordate. Acute/obtuse/mucronate. Entire. Glabrous/hairy on midrib beneath. Stellate.
Domatia: Present. Tufts of hairs.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: 0.5 cm. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Axillary 1 – 2 flowered cymes. White/cream.
Fruit: Black, globose capsule. 1.5 × 1 cm. Depressed at apex.
Ecology: Dry lowland forest. Thicket.
Distr: C. Coastal Kenya and Mozambique, Madagascar.
Notes: Young branches with stellate hairs.
Uses: The timber is hard and heavy but not durable. It is used for firewood, charcoal and building poles.
Pterygota mildbraedii Engl.
Syn. FTEA: NP.
Syn. TTCL: NR.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mshunduzi (Sw).
Bole: Large. To 60 m.
Bark: Pale grey. Smooth.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Simple. 3-lobed. Alternate.
Petiole: 15 cm.
Lamina: Large. 40 × 30 cm. Ovate. 7 – 9 nerved from base. Cordate. Acute. Entire/3-lobed. Glabrous.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: NR.
Stipules: NR.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Male and female.
Fruit: Ellipsoid dehiscent capsule, 17 × 14 cm.
Ecology: Riverine and lowland forest.
Distr: LT (see note), LV? Uganda, East-central Africa.
Notes: In TTCL P. schumanniana Engl. is recorded from mountain forest at Kavendo on the Ratuma. This may be Katuma stream in Mpanda, and may possibly not be P. schumanniana.
Uses: The wood is used for timber, firewood and charcoal. The tree is suitable for shade and avenue.
Sterculia appendiculata K. Schum.
Syn. FTEA: NP.
Syn. TTCL: NC.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mfune (B, S, Z, Sw), Mgude (Z, L).
Bole: Straight. Buttressed. Large. To 40 m.
Bark: Pale yellow/green. Smooth.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Simple. Usually with 3 – 7 acuminate lobes. Alternate. At ends of branches.
Petiole: To 12 cm.
Lamina: Medium/large. 14 – 30 × 4 – 30 cm. Palmate. Cordate. Acuminate. Entire. Glabrous.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: 1 cm long. Lanceolate. Falling.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Terminal panicles. Green/yellow-brown.
Fruit: Brown hairs, 2 – 3 carpels. 7 – 9 × 5 – 6 cm.
Ecology: Lowland and riverine forest. Woodland.
Distr: C. Eastern Tropical Africa.
Notes: NR.
Uses: The wood is soft, white and used for plywood. The tree is good for shade and avenue. Seeds are roasted and eaten.
Last Updated: 19 June 2017