Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1
Bull. Soc. Bot. France 80: 467 (1933).
Mimosaceae (Leguminosae - Mimosoideae)
Dabema noir (Fr).
Origin and geographic distribution
Aubrevillea platycarpa occurs from Guinea and Sierra Leone to Gabon and DR Congo.
The timber of Aubrevillea platycarpa is known as ‘kléklé’ in Côte d’Ivoire and ‘dabema noir’ in Guinea. The wood is suitable for construction purposes. In Gabon the wood is used for joinery. Probably it is also used elsewhere as a substitute for the wood of Piptadeniastrum africanum (Hook.f.) Brenan, traded as ‘dabema’ or ‘dahoma’.
The heartwood is pale brown or greyish brown with a violet tinge and darker streaks, distinctly demarcated from the paler sapwood. The grain is often interlocked, texture moderately coarse. The heartwood is relatively hard. The wood dries slowly and is untreatable with preservatives.
Large tree up to 50 m tall; bole straight, cylindrical, branchless for up to 25 m, up to 100(–150) cm in diameter, with thick buttresses up to 3 m high often extending in flares along the lower part of the bole; bark smooth but in large trees becoming scaly, grey with red-brown patches; crown dome-like, dense, dark green. Leaves alternate, bipinnately compound with ( 3–)4–8 pairs of opposite pinnae; stipules minute, early caducous; petiole 4–12 cm long, rachis 6–26 cm long, grooved above; leaflets in (6–)8–15(–21) pairs per pinna, opposite, sessile, asymmetrically oblong to obovate, 1.5–5 cm × 0.5–2 cm, obtuse to notched at apex. Inflorescence a spikelike raceme up to 22 cm long, several together grouped in a terminal panicle, many-flowered; peduncle densely rusty hairy. Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous; pedicel up to 2.5 mm long; calyx cup-like, 1–1.5 mm long, shortly toothed; petals fused at base for c. 1 mm, lobes 2–2.5 mm long, hairy; stamens 10, united at base, filaments c. 3 mm long; ovary superior, oblong, shortly stiped, flattened, sparsely hairy, style c. 2 mm long. Fruit an indehiscent, papery, oblong pod 13–22 cm × 3.5–5.5 cm, with a thin stipe up to 2 cm long, twisted at base, reticulate, pale yellow when ripe, 1–3-seeded. Seeds round to kidney-shaped, flat, up to 1 cm × 1.5 cm. Seedling with epigeal germination; hypocotyl up to 1 cm long, glabrous, epicotyl 5–8 cm long; cotyledons kidney-shaped, fleshy, not spreading; first 2 leaves opposite.
Aubrevillea comprises 2 species. It seems to have an isolated position in the tribe Mimoseae. Aubrevillea resembles Piptadeniastrum, which has a similar bole and crown shape but differs particularly in its leaves, with more numerous pinnae and leaflets, stamens with glandular anthers and dehiscent pods containing up to 12 seeds. The wood of Aubrevillea kerstingii (Harms) Pellegr. is probably also used for joinery and as a substitute of Piptadeniastrum africanum wood. Aubrevillea kerstingii occurs from Sierra Leone to DR Congo and differs from Aubrevillea platycarpa in its more numerous and more narrowly oblong leaflets. A bark decoction is used in traditional medicine in Congo as an anodyne and to prevent abortion. In Côte d’Ivoire a leaf decoction is administered in enema as a laxative and crushed leaves are applied externally as an anodyne. A root maceration in palm wine is drunk to treat gonorrhoea.
Germination of Aubrevillea platycarpa is usually within 8–15 days after sowing. Trees are shortly deciduous at the time the tree is fruiting; when new leaves develop the crowns show a brilliant red colour. However, they may also be evergreen. In Sierra Leone and Côte d’Ivoire flowering is in December–January, and fruiting from February to May. Fruits are usually mature at the end of the dry season. Whole fruits are dispersed by wind. The roots of Aubrevillea platycarpa are nodulated.
Aubrevillea platycarpa occurs in dense evergreen and semi-deciduous lowland forest.
The 1000-seed weight of Aubrevillea platycarpa is about 67 g. In general Aubrevillea platycarpa trees occur scattered in the forest, although seedlings may be abundant near the mother tree.
Genetic resources and breeding
Aubrevillea platycarpa as well as Aubrevillea kerstingii are widespread in the forest zone of West and Central Africa, but they occur scattered. There is little reason to consider them threatened, although some concern has been expressed, e.g. in Guinea.
There is little information on wood properties and ecological requirements of Aubrevillea, but it apparently occurs too scattered to be of future economic importance. It seems to be barely exploited, but the amounts may be underestimated because it may be mixed with the wood of similar Mimosaceae species.
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Correct citation of this article:
Lemmens, R.H.M.J., 2006. Aubrevillea platycarpa Pellegr. In: Louppe, D., Oteng-Amoako, A.A. & Brink, M. (Editors). Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.