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ULMACEAE

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

ULMACEAE

Celtis africana Burm.f.
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: C. kraussiana Bernh., C. kraussiana Bernh. var. stolzii Mildbr. ex A. Peter
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Kimungwe (Sw), Mjambega (S).
Bole: Straight/branched/fluted. Small/medium/large. To 35 m.
Bark: Grey/white-grey with pink patches. Smooth. Horizontal rings.
Slash: Cream with rings of purple flecks. Freshly cut wood unpleasant smelling.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate.
Petiole: 0.1 – 0.5 cm. Channelled.
Lamina: Medium. 3 – 10 × 2 – 6 cm. Ovate/lanceolate. Cuneate. Asymmetrical. 3-nerved. Acuminate. Serrate. Hairy beneath/glabrous. Simple.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: Present. Falling. Small. 0.4 cm long.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Axillary cymes. Monoecious. Male flowers in clusters, female solitary. All small and greenish.
Fruit: Orange, subglobose drupe. 0.5 cm long.
Ecology: Dry lowland, dry montane, montane and riverine forest.
Distr: C, EA, N, LN, LT, LV. Tropical and Southern Africa, Arabian Peninsula, Comoros.
Notes: Styles unbranched; ripe fruits less than 0.6 cm long; leaf-blades serrate in upper two-thirds.
Uses: The wood is strong, tough and is used for furniture, building poles and tool handles. It is also suitable for ornamental and shade. Leaves are used for fodder. The roots are boiled and the infusion drunk to stop shaking.
Celtis gomphophylla Baker
Syn. FTEA: C. durandii Engl.
Syn. TTCL: C. durandii Engl.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mjambegha (S), Mshunduzi (Z), Mzusa (B,S).
Bole: Straight. Fluted/slightly buttressed. Small/medium/large. To 30 m.
Bark: Pale grey. Smooth/flaking in patches.
Slash: Cream with layers of red, discolouring orange.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate.
Petiole: 0.4 – 0.8 cm.
Lamina: Medium. 5 – 17 × 2 – 8 cm. Oblong/elliptic/ovate/lanceolate. Cuneate/rounded. Asymmetrical. 3-nerved. Acuminate. Entire/serrate. Glabrous.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: Present. Small. Falling. Linear. 0.2 – 0.6 cm.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Axillary cymes. Monoecious/dioecious. Flowers small and greenish.
Fruit: Dark yellow. Conic-ovoid fleshy drupe. 0.4 – 0.6 × 0.3 – 0.5 cm.
Ecology: Lowland, submontane and montane forest.
Distr: C, EA, N, LV. Tropical and Southern Africa, Madagascar, Comoros.
Notes: Styles unbranched; ripe fruits less than 0.6 cm long; leaf-blades entire.
Uses: The wood and bark have a bad smell and are used as insect and snake repellent in houses. Leaves and shoots are used for fodder and are also favoured by black and white Colobus monkeys (Colobus angolensis).
Celtis mildbraedii Engl.
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: C. soyauxii Engl.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mkozera-mperere (Z), Msugu (Z).
Bole: Straight. Buttressed. Small/medium/large. To 45 m.
Bark: Pale grey. Smooth/scaling in plates.
Slash: Dark brown fibrous layers in yellow/off white. Discolouring darker brown.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate.
Petiole: 0.3 – 1 cm.
Lamina: Medium. 7 – 15 × 5 – 6 cm. Elliptic/oblong. Cuneate. Asymmetrical. 3-nerved from base. Acuminate/mucronate. Entire/serrate. Glabrous/hairy.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: Falling. Small. Lanceolate. 0.4 – 0.7 cm long.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Yellow-green. Axillary cymes. Monoecious.
Fruit: Red. Ovoid-ellipsoid 0.7 – 1 × 0.5 – 0.6 cm.
Ecology: Lowland and submontane forest.
Distr: C, EA, LV. Tropical and Southern Africa.
Notes: Styles bifid; ovary nearly glabrous; ripe fruit longer than 0.6 cm; leaves 3-nerved from base; leaves soon glabrous.
Uses: The wood is moderately hard and is used for firewood, tool handles and spoons.
Celtis philippensis Blanco
Syn. FTEA: C. wightii Planch.
Syn. TTCL: C. mauritiana Planch.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Kimungwe (S), Mtambuu (D).
Bole: Branched/fluted/buttressed. Small/medium. To 20 m.
Bark: Grey. Smooth.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate.
Petiole: 0.4 – 1.0 cm.
Lamina: Medium. 7 – 18 × 3 – 8 cm. Elliptic/oblong. Cuneate/rounded. Asymmetrical. 3-nerved from base. Acuminate/mucronate. Entire/serrate. Glabrous.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Lamina punctate.
Stipules: Present. Falling. Lanceolate. 0.3 – 0.7 cm long.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: White. Axillary cymes. Monoecious.
Fruit: Red. Ovoid. 0.9 – 1.2 × 0.7 – 1 cm.
Ecology: Lowland, groundwater and riverine forest.
Distr: C, EA, LV. Tropical Africa, eastwards to Madagascar, Asia, Malesia, and Australia.
Notes: Styles bifid; leaf-blades elliptic, 3 – 5 nerved from base, serrate in upper half; ovary glabrous.
Uses: The wood is used for firewood, poles and tool handles. Roots are used as a medicine for diarrhoea by the WaDigo.
Celtis zenkeri Engl.
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: NC.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mgomoka (S).
Bole: Branched. Medium/large. To 30 m.
Bark: Grey. Smooth.
Slash: NR.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate.
Petiole: 0.5 – 0.8 cm.
Lamina: Small. 7.5 – 14 × 4 – 7.8 cm. Oblong-elliptic/ovate. Cuneate/rounded. Asymmetrical. 3-nerved from base. Acuminate. Entire/serrate. Glabrous above/hairy beneath.
Domatia: NR.
Glands: NR.
Stipules: Lanceolate. 0.7 – 1 cm.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Axillary cymes, or at nodes below. Monoecious.
Fruit: Subglobose, red, 0.7 – 0.8 × 0.6 cm.
Ecology: Lowland forest.
Distr: EA, N, LV. Tropical Africa.
Notes: Deciduous. Styles bifid; ovary densely hairy; ripe fruit longer than 0.6 cm; leaves 3-nerved from base; leaves persistently hairy beneath.
Uses: The wood is used for firewood, charcoal and tool handles. The tree is used for shade. Leaves are used as sandpaper.
Chaetacme aristata Planch.
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: NC.
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Luwaso (M).
Bole: Branched. Small. To 10 m.
Bark: Brown/grey. Smooth/fibrous/finely fissured.
Slash: Dirty yellow, outer darker than inner, discolours rapidly. Wood with orange tint.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate.
Petiole: 0.3 – 0.6 cm.
Lamina: Small/medium. 6 – 11 × 3 – 5 cm. Elliptic/lanceolate. Cuneate/rounded/cordate. Asymmetrical. Acuminate/mucronate. Entire/serrate. Glabrous above, occasionally pubescent beneath.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: Present. Falling. Oblong-lanceolate.1 – 2 cm.
Thorns & Spines: Present, axillary spines.
Flower: Axillary congested cymes. Monoecious/dioecious. Flowers small, greenish-yellow or yellow-white. Female solitary and axillary.
Fruit: Yellow/orange. Ovoid. 3.5 – 2 cm fresh.
Ecology: Lowland and submontane forest edges, riverine forest.
Distr: EA, N, LT, LV. Tropical and Southern Africa and Madagascar.
Notes: Axillary spines, glossy leaves, bristle-tipped leaf apex and zig-zag twigs are distinctive.
Uses: The wood is very hard and tough. It is used for firewood, charcoal and tool handles. Roots are believed to be toxic.
Trema orientalis (L.) Blume
Syn. FTEA: NC.
Syn. TTCL: T. guineensis (Schum. & Thonn.) Ficalho
Syn. other: NR.
Local names: Mpesi (Sw).
Bole: Small. To 12 m.
Bark: Grey. Smooth. Lenticels.
Slash: Very soft. Brown to almost white or pale pink.
Leaf: Simple. Alternate.
Petiole: 0.8 – 1 cm. Round.
Lamina: Medium. 6 – 11 × 2 – 5 cm. Ovate/oblong/lanceolate. Cuneate/rounded/cordate. Asymmetrical. 3-nerved. Acuminate. Serrate. Hairy, more dense below. Simple.
Domatia: Absent.
Glands: Absent.
Stipules: Present. Falling. Lanceolate. 0.4 – 0.7 cm.
Thorns & Spines: Absent.
Flower: Green-cream. Axillary cymes. Monoecious/dioecious.
Fruit: Black. Ovoid. 0.5 cm in diameter.
Ecology: Pioneer in riverine, lowland, submontane and montane forest.
Distr: C, EA, N, LN, LT, LV. Tropical and Southern Africa to Madagascar and Asia.
Notes: NR.
Uses: The wood is very light and perishable. It is used for firewood. The leaves and twigs are used for fodder. The tree is used for shade. Leaves when crushed and mixed with lemon juice are used for coughs, pneumonia and bronchitis. It is also believed to be a good antidote for poisoning and an insecticide.
Last Updated: 19 June 2017