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Beilschmiedia mannii (Meisn.) Benth. & Hook.f.

Gen. pl. 3(1): 158 (1880).
Chromosome number
2n = 24
Tylostemon mannii (Meisn.) Stapf (1909).
Vernacular names
Spicy cedar (En). Cèdre épicé (Fr).
Origin and geographic distribution
Beilschmiedia mannii is distributed from Guinea eastward to DR Congo.
The wood (trade names: kanda, pink kanda) is used for construction, planks, door frames, interior and exterior joinery, furniture, cabinet work, stairs, flooring, vehicle frames, canoes, carpentry, plywood, and other purposes requiring an attractive appearance. It can be used as a substitute for mahogany (Swietenia spp.) and bosse (Guarea spp.).
The pounded bark is eaten with rice as an appetizer. The fragrant leaves are pounded in water, and after pressing through muslin the liquid is drunk. In Liberia the flowers are commonly used to flavour rice and other food. The fruit is eaten and is an ingredient of sauces. The seed is a popular food commonly sold in West African markets; it is roasted and ground before consumption, and added as a condiment and enrichment to soups, rice and vegetables. The seed yields an edible oil. Beilschmiedia mannii is planted as a shade tree for coffee in Liberia.
A decoction of the bark and leaves is used as a lotion to treat headache. Pounded fruits are used to treat cough, bronchitis, intercostal pain, rheumatism and dysentery, whereas a decoction of the fruit is used in the treatment of diarrhoea in calves.
The wood has an attractive appearance. The heartwood is reddish yellow to red, with a persistent spicy smell, and is distinctly demarcated from the pale yellow or cream-coloured, nearly odourless sapwood. The grain is straight, texture moderately fine. Oil cells are present in the wood. The density of the wood is 660–720 kg/m³ at 12% moisture content. The wood dries extremely slowly. At 12% moisture content, the modulus of rupture is 98 N/mm², modulus of elasticity 12,400 N/mm², compression parallel to grain 50 N/mm², Janka side hardness 5160 N, and Janka end hardness 5030 N. The wood is easy to work with all tools and finishes well. It glues well. The wood is resistant to fungal and insect attack and durable even in contact with the soil or with fresh water. The heartwood is resistant to impregnation with preservatives.
Per 100 g edible portion the dried seeds contain: water 14.6 g, energy 1395 kJ (333 kcal), protein 5.9 g, fat 0.5 g, carbohydrate 75.8 g, fibre 1.6 g, Ca 220 mg, P 100 mg (Leung, Busson & Jardin, 1968). The bark contains traces of alkaloids, the leaves traces of flavones.
Evergreen shrub or small to fairly large tree up to 35 m tall; bole branchless for up to 20 m, straight and cylindrical or slightly angular and sinuous, with a diameter up to 100 cm, base with heavy root swellings or narrow buttresses up to 1 m high; outer bark grey-brown or brown, often with large scales and numerous small lenticels, inner bark pinkish red to pinkish brown, turning red-brown on exposure, with a strong cedar-like smell; crown fairly narrow, dense, dark green; young branches and buds densely hairy; all plant parts with oil glands. Leaves alternate or almost opposite, simple and entire; stipules absent; petiole 0.5–1.5 cm long; blade oblong-lanceolate to oblong-elliptical or broadly oblanceolate, (4–)7–26(–30) cm × (2–)3.5–10 cm, base obtuse to cuneate, apex acute to acuminate, markedly folded, papery to leathery, glabrous, fragrant when crushed, pinnately veined with 6–10 pairs of lateral veins. Inflorescence an axillary panicle 4–15 cm long; peduncle 0.5–1.5 cm long. Flowers bisexual, regular, small, greenish; pedicel 1–3 mm long; perianth cup-shaped, 2–3 mm long, lobes oblong, rounded, c. 1.5 mm long; fertile stamens 9, in 3 whorls, inner whorl with glands, staminodes 3, between the inner whorls of stamens; ovary superior, 1-celled. Fruit a spindle-shaped, often slightly oblique berry 1.5–5.5 cm × 1.5–2.5 cm, red when ripe, 1-seeded. Seed with thin seedcoat, cotyledons thick, cone-shaped. Seedling with hypogeal germination.
Other botanical information
Beilschmiedia is a pantropical genus comprising about 250 species, with about 80 species in tropical Africa and Madagascar. Beilschmiedia mannii is classified in subgenus Beilschmiedia, section Beilschmiedia. Beilschmiedia insularum Robyns & R.Wilczek is also included in this section; it is a shrub up to 4 m tall occurring in Cameroon, Gabon, Congo and DR Congo, in periodically inundated forest, on riverbanks and islands. Its flexible stems are used for making bows.
Beilschmiedia gaboonensis (Meisn.) Benth. & Hook.f., Beilschmiedia lebrunii Robyns & R.Wilczek and Beilschmiedia nitida Engl. are included in section Hufelandia of subgenus Beilschmiedia. Beilschmiedia gaboonensis is a medium-sized tree up to 30 m tall with a bole diameter up to 60 cm. It is distributed from Nigeria to DR Congo and occurs in wet and marshy locations in lowland rainforest. Its wood is easy to work and suitable for carpentry and joinery. Like that of Beilschmiedia mannii, it is known under the trade names ‘kanda’ and ‘pink kanda’. The ground bark of Beilschmiedia gaboonensis is a component of a paste rubbed on painful areas. Beilschmiedia lebrunii is locally exploited for its wood. It is a small tree up to 15 m tall with a bole diameter up to 30 cm, occurring in DR Congo in forest at 1450–1700 m altitude. It seems rare. Beilschmiedia nitida is a shrub or small tree up to 8 m tall, distributed in Cameroon and Congo. The density of the wood of Beilschmiedia nitida is about 650 kg/m³ at 12% moisture content. Shrinkage rates are 4.0% radial and 5.6% tangential from green to oven dry. At 12% moisture content the modulus of rupture is 65 N/mm², modulus of elasticity 5100 N/mm², compression parallel to grain 32 N/mm², cleavage 15 N/mm and Chalais-Meudon side hardness 2.6.
Beilschmiedia variabilis Robyns & R.Wilczek and Beilschmiedia zenkeri Engl. (synonym: Beilschmiedia leemansii Robyns & R.Wilczek) are included in section Acrothecon of subgenus Beilschmiedia. Beilschmiedia variabilis is a shrub or small tree up to 10 m tall with a bole diameter up to 25 cm, occurring rather commonly in DR Congo in the understorey of forest in swampy, periodically inundated or drier locations. Its bole is used for poles. Beilschmiedia zenkeri is a shrub or small tree up to 15 m tall, occurring in Cameroon and DR Congo in swampy and periodically inundated forest. Its wood is used for planks, and for making canoes and paddles.
Wood-anatomical description (IAWA hardwood codes):
Growth rings: (1: growth ring boundaries distinct); (2: growth ring boundaries indistinct or absent). Vessels: 5: wood diffuse-porous; 13: simple perforation plates; 22: intervessel pits alternate; 23: shape of alternate pits polygonal; 26: intervessel pits medium (7–10 μm); 32: vessel-ray pits with much reduced borders to apparently simple: pits horizontal (scalariform, gash-like) to vertical (palisade); 41: mean tangential diameter of vessel lumina 50–100 μm; (42: mean tangential diameter of vessel lumina 100–200 μm); 47: 5–20 vessels per square millimetre; (48: 20–40 vessels per square millimetre); 56: tyloses common. Tracheids and fibres: 61: fibres with simple to minutely bordered pits; 65: septate fibres present; 66: non-septate fibres present; 69: fibres thin- to thick-walled. Axial parenchyma: 79: axial parenchyma vasicentric; (80: axial parenchyma aliform); (81: axial parenchyma lozenge-aliform); (83: axial parenchyma confluent); (89: axial parenchyma in marginal or in seemingly marginal bands); 91: two cells per parenchyma strand; (92: four (3–4) cells per parenchyma strand). Rays: 97: ray width 1–3 cells; 106: body ray cells procumbent with one row of upright and/or square marginal cells; 107: body ray cells procumbent with mostly 2–4 rows of upright and/or square marginal cells; 115: 4–12 rays per mm. Secretory elements and cambial variants: 126: oil and/or mucilage cells present among fibres. Mineral inclusions: 159: silica bodies present; 160: silica bodies in ray cells; 161: silica bodies in axial parenchyma cells.
(P. Ng’andwe, H. Beeckman & P.E. Gasson)
Growth and development
In Liberia flowering is from January–April; ripe fruits are found in November. In Côte d’Ivoire flowering is from April–July and fruiting from October–December.
Beilschmiedia mannii is shade-loving and usually grows in evergreen primary and secondary forest. Outside evergreen forest, it is found mainly in riverine and swamp forest.
Propagation and planting
Beilschmiedia mannii can be propagated by seed. The 1000-seed weight is about 6 kg. Germination takes 21–30 days. The germination rate is about 80%.
Beilschmiedia mannii is locally being domesticated in Côte d’Ivoire.
Genetic resources
As Beilschmiedia mannii occurs widespread and is common in many regions, it is not threatened by genetic erosion.
The wood of Beilschmiedia mannii is suitable for a wide range of uses. Its stability and durability render it suitable for the manufacture of exterior wood finishing, windows and doors. Its attractive colour makes it appropriate for floors, interior wood finishing and interior fitting. Its workability favours its use in the manufacture of furniture. The main limitation is its delicate drying. In view of its favourable wood properties, there is potential for Beilschmiedia mannii to become more important as a source of timber. In Liberia, for instance, it is considered to have export potential. It deserves more research on propagation techniques and silviculture for use in forestry plantations or in agroforestry programmes, e.g. as shade tree for coffee cultivation.
Major references
• Abbiw, D.K., 1990. Useful plants of Ghana: West African uses of wild and cultivated plants. Intermediate Technology Publications, London and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 337 pp.
• Burkill, H.M., 1995. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 3, Families J–L. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 857 pp.
• Fouilloy, R., 1974. Lauraceae. Flore du Cameroun. Volume 18. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. pp. 3–87.
• Kryn, J.M. & Fobes, E.W., 1959. The woods of Liberia. Report 2159. USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, Madison, Wisconsin, United States. 147 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.
• Takahashi, A., 1978. Compilation of data on the mechanical properties of foreign woods (part 3) Africa. Shimane University, Matsue, Japan, 248 pp.
• Voorhoeve, A.G., 1965. Liberian high forest trees. A systematic botanical study of the 75 most important or frequent high forest trees, with reference to numerous related species. Pudoc, Wageningen, Netherlands. 416 pp.
Other references
• ATIBT (Association Technique Internationale des Bois Tropicaux), 1986. Tropical timber atlas: Part 1 – Africa. ATIBT, Paris, France. 208 pp.
• Aubréville, A., 1959. La flore forestière de la Côte d’Ivoire. Deuxième édition révisée. Tome premier. Publication No 15. Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Nogent-sur-Marne, France. 369 pp.
• Bouquet, A. & Debray, M., 1974. Plantes médicinales de la Côte d’Ivoire. Travaux et Documents No 32. ORSTOM, Paris, France. 231 pp.
• CIRAD Forestry Department, 2003. Kanda. [Internet] Tropix 5.0. afr/kanda.pdf. Accessed April 2007.
• de la Mensbruge, G., 1966. La germination et les plantules des essences arborées de la forêt dense humide de la Côte d’Ivoire. Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Nogent-sur-Marne, France. 389 pp.
• Dudek, S., Förster, B. & Klissenbauer, K., 1981. Lesser known Liberian timber species. Description of physical and mechanical properties, natural durability, treatability, workability and suggested uses. GTZ, Eschborn, Germany. 168 pp.
• Fouilloy, R., 1965. Lauracées. Flore du Gabon. Volume 10. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. pp. 7–81.
• Fouilloy, R., 1974. Lauraceae. Flore du Cameroun. Volume 18. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. pp. 3–87.
• Hawthorne, W.D., 1995. Ecological profiles of Ghanaian forest trees. Tropical Forestry Papers 29. Oxford Forestry Institute, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, United Kingdom. 345 pp.
• InsideWood, undated. [Internet] Accessed May 2007.
• Irvine, F.R., 1961. Woody plants of Ghana, with special reference to their uses. Oxford University Press, London, United Kingdom. 868 pp.
• Jay, B.A., 1948. Timbers of West Africa. Reprint. Timber Development Association, London, United Kingdom. 82 pp.
• Keay, R.W.J., 1954. Lauraceae. In: Keay, R.W.J. (Editor). Flora of West Tropical Africa. Volume 1, part 1. 2nd Edition. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. pp. 56–58.
• Leung, W.-T.W., Busson, F. & Jardin, C., 1968. Food composition table for use in Africa. FAO, Rome, Italy. 306 pp.
• Oxford Forestry Institute, 1997–2004. Prospect: the wood database for Windows. Version 2.1. [Internet] University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom. ofi/prospect/ index.htm. Accessed December 2007.
• 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.
• Tahoux Touao, M., 2002. Contribution au renforcement de la forêt sacrée en vue de la gestion durable des ressources naturelles: cas de la forêt sacrée de Zaïpobly dans le Sud-Ouest de la Côte-d’Ivoire. [Internet] natsciences_fr/rapport_2002/ rci.htm. Accessed June 2006.
• Vivien, J. & Faure, J.J., 1988. Fruitiers sauvages du Cameroun. Fruits Paris 43(11): 657–676.
Sources of illustration
• Voorhoeve, A.G., 1965. Liberian high forest trees. A systematic botanical study of the 75 most important or frequent high forest trees, with reference to numerous related species. Pudoc, Wageningen, Netherlands. 416 pp.
Nyunaï Nyemb
Institut de Recherches Médicales et d’Etudes des Plantes Médicinales, B.P. 3805, Yaoundé, Cameroon

D. Louppe
CIRAD, Département Environnements et Sociétés, Cirad es-dir, Campus international de Baillarguet, TA C-DIR / B (Bât. C, Bur. 113), 34398 Montpellier Cedex 5, France
A.A. Oteng-Amoako
Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG), University P.O. Box 63, KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana
M. Brink
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
General editors
R.H.M.J. Lemmens
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
L.P.A. Oyen
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
J.R. Cobbinah
Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG), University P.O. Box 63, KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana
Photo editor
G.H. Schmelzer
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article:
Nyunaï, N., 2008. Beilschmiedia mannii (Meisn.) Benth. & Hook.f. In: Louppe, D., Oteng-Amoako, A.A. & Brink, M. (Editors). Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.
Distribution Map wild

1, base of bole; 2, flowering branch; 3, flower in longitudinal section; 4, branch with fruit; 5, seed.
Redrawn and adapted by Achmad Satiri Nurhaman

wood in transverse section

wood in tangential section

wood in radial section