Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1
Bull. Jard. Bot. Etat 19: 470 (1949).
Origin and geographic distribution
Beilschmiedia louisii is distributed in Cameroon, Central African Republic and DR Congo.
The wood (trade names: kanda, brown kanda) has an attractive appearance and is suitable for furniture, cabinet work, interior trim, joinery, construction, flooring, shipbuilding, vehicle bodies, railway sleepers, mine props, poles, piles, veneer and plywood. The fruit is used as a condiment; it has a cinnamon-like taste.
The heartwood is brown, turning slightly greenish on exposure; it is clearly demarcated from the 5 cm-wide, pale yellow-brown sapwood. The grain is usually straight, texture fine. At 15% moisture content, the density of the wood is 720–800 kg/m³. The wood is fairly unstable, and is best quarter-sawn. At 15% moisture content, the modulus of rupture is 128–168 N/mm², compression parallel to grain 38–65 N/mm², cleavage 16 N/mm and Chalais-Meudon side hardness 3.5. The wood saws easily but slowly. It works well with hand and machine tools, although there is a marked blunting effect on tools due to the presence of silica. The wood nails easily without splitting, and it holds nails well. It finishes well, polishes to a walnut-like sheen and glues well. The wood is only rarely attacked by termites and marine borers, and it is moderately resistant to fungi. The sapwood is susceptible to attack by Lyctus borers. The heartwood is impermeable to preservatives; the sapwood is moderately resistant to impregnation.
Evergreen, large tree up to 50 m tall, sometimes shrubby; bole branchless for up to 32 m, straight, cylindrical, with a diameter up to 100 cm, without buttresses; outer bark rough, brown, flaking; inner bark brownish pink, with a strong turpentine-like smell; crown flattened; young branches flattened, more or less hairy. Leaves alternate or almost opposite, simple and entire; stipules absent; petiole 1–2.5 cm long, channelled, hairy to glabrous; blade broadly oblong-lanceolate to obovate, 5–18 cm × 3–8 cm, base cuneate, apex rounded to obscurely acuminate, leathery, upper surface olive-brown and glabrous, lower surface finely hairy to glabrous, pinnately veined with 6–10 pairs of lateral veins. Inflorescence a terminal or axillary, robust panicle up to 8 cm long, short-hairy; peduncle 1–2 cm long; bracts c. 3 mm long, acuminate, caducous. Flowers bisexual, regular, ochre-red to olive, short-hairy; pedicel up to 2 mm long; perianth bell-shaped, lobes ovate, c. 1 mm long, obtuse, thickened; fertile stamens 9, in 3 whorls, those in outer 2 whorls sessile, those in inner whorl stalked and with 2 glands each, staminodes in a fourth whorl; ovary superior, c. 0.5 mm long. Fruit an ellipsoid-oblong to ovoid berry, 2–4.5 cm × 1.5–2 cm, smooth, shiny, brown, 1-seeded.
Beilschmiedia comprises about 250 species and is distributed throughout the tropics, with about 80 species in tropical Africa and Madagascar. Beilschmiedia louisii belongs to subgenus Synthoradenia.
Beilschmiedia louisii occurs in rainforest and gallery forest.
Genetic resources and breeding
Beilschmiedia louisii has a limited distribution and it is unclear whether this species is threatened by genetic erosion. It is not included in the 2006 IUCN Red list of threatened species.
The attractive appearance of the wood and its physical and technical properties make it suitable for a range of purposes, but the extent of its actual use and potential availability are unclear.
• Bolza, E. & Keating, W.G., 1972. African timbers: the properties, uses and characteristics of 700 species. Division of Building Research, CSIRO, Melbourne, Australia. 710 pp.
• Fouarge, J., Gérard, G. & Sacré, E., 1953. Bois du Congo. Institut National pour l’Etude Agronomique du Congo belge (INEAC), Brussels, Belgium. 424 pp.
• Robyns, W. & Wilczek, R., 1951. Lauraceae. In: Robyns, W., Staner, P., Demaret, F., Germain, R., Gilbert, G., Hauman, L., Homès, M., Jurion, F., Lebrun, J., Vanden Abeele, M. & Boutique, R. (Editors). Flore du Congo belge et du Ruanda-Urundi. Spermatophytes. Volume 2. Institut National pour l’Étude Agronomique du Congo belge, Brussels, Belgium. pp. 403–446.
• Fouilloy, R., 1974. Lauraceae. Flore du Cameroun. Volume 18. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. pp. 3–87.
• Normand, D. & Paquis, J., 1976. Manuel d’identification des bois commerciaux. Tome 2. Afrique guinéo-congolaise. Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Nogent-sur-Marne, France. 335 pp.
• Robyns, W. & Wilczek, R., 1949. Contribution à l’étude des Lauracées du Congo Belge et de l’Afrique tropicale. Bulletin du Jardin Botanique de l’Etat (Bruxelles) 19(4): 457–507.
Correct citation of this article:
Brink, M., 2008. Beilschmiedia louisii Robyns & R.Wilczek. In: Louppe, D., Oteng-Amoako, A.A. & Brink, M. (Editors). Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.