Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1
Bull. Jard. Bot. Etat 19: 466 (1949).
Origin and geographic distribution
Beilschmiedia oblongifolia is distributed from Gabon and Congo to eastern DR Congo.
The wood (trade names: kanda, brown kanda) is locally used for construction and carpentry. It is also considered suitable for furniture and for inside and exterior joinery.
The heartwood is yellowish brown, becoming greyish on exposure, and turning yellowish brown again on drying; it is clearly demarcated from the about 4 cm-wide bright yellow-pink sapwood. Quarter-sawn surfaces have an attractive flame figure. At 12% moisture content, the density of the wood is 690–815 kg/m³. The wood air-dries well, but it is moderately unstable and quarter-sawing and careful drying are recommended to avoid warping. At 12% moisture content, the modulus of rupture is 114–145 N/mm², modulus of elasticity 21,300 N/mm², compression parallel to grain 43–64 N/mm², cleavage 15–20 N/mm and Chalais-Meudon side hardness 2.8–6.3. The wood saws well. Working properties for hand and machine tools are generally good, but variable due to occasional interlocked grain. The nailing, screwing and mortising properties are good. The wood is durable.
Evergreen, medium-sized tree up to 25 m tall; bole branchless for up to 16 m, cylindrical, up to 70(–100) cm in diameter; outer bark bright brown, scaly, inner bark reddish brown to pinkish yellow, with a sweet spicy smell; young branches flattened, more or less hairy. Leaves alternate to opposite, simple and entire; stipules absent; petiole 0.5–1 cm long, more or less channelled, hairy; blade oblong-lanceolate to narrowly oblong-elliptical, 4–15 cm × 1.5–5 cm, base cuneate to acute, apex rounded to obscurely notched, margin upcurved, leathery, glabrous, dark olive-green above, lighter below, pinnately veined with 8–11 pairs of lateral veins; blade of young leaves wine red, with translucent dots. Inflorescence an axillary, lax panicle 1–4 cm long, glabrescent; peduncle 0.5–1.5 cm long; bracts ovoid, c. 4.5 mm × 2 mm, persistent. Flowers bisexual, regular, fleshy, small, pale green, glabrous; pedicel up to 1 mm long; perianth bell-shaped, c. 2 mm long, lobes ovate-triangular, c. 1 mm long; fertile stamens 9, in 3 whorls, those in outer 2 whorls sessile, those in inner whorl stalked and with 2 glands each, staminodes 3, in a fourth whorl; ovary superior, c. 0.5 mm in diameter. Fruit a pear-shaped berry up to 2 cm × 1 cm, glabrous, 1-seeded.
Seedlings are shade tolerant and grow well in the understorey, but they are vulnerable in full sun. Initial growth of seedlings is fast. In Kivu (DR Congo) Beilschmiedia oblongifolia produces fruits abundantly at the end of the year.
Beilschmiedia comprises about 250 species and is distributed throughout the tropics, with about 80 species in tropical Africa and Madagascar. Beilschmiedia oblongifolia belongs to subgenus Synthoradenia. Beilschmiedia congolana Robyns & R.Wilczek and Beilschmiedia letouzeyi Robyns & R.Wilczek are also included in this subgenus and sometimes also known under the trade names ‘kanda’ and ‘brown kanda’.
Beilschmiedia congolana is a large tree up to 50 m tall, with a bole diameter up to 90 cm, and leaves characteristically rounded at both ends. It is a forest tree distributed in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Gabon, Congo and DR Congo. Its wood is white, rather soft and very porous. At 12% moisture content the density of the wood is about 580 kg/m³, the modulus of rupture 99 N/mm², modulus of elasticity 11,500 N/mm², compression parallel to grain 39 N/mm², cleavage 10 N/mm and Chalais-Meudon side hardness 2.7.
Beilschmiedia letouzeyi is a medium-sized tree up to 30 m tall, with a bole diameter up to 50 cm. It is distributed in Cameroon, Central African Republic and Congo. At 12% moisture content the density of its wood is about 650 kg/m³, the modulus of rupture 164 N/mm², compression parallel to grain 73 N/mm², cleavage 6 N/mm and Chalais-Meudon side hardness 3.2.
Beilschmiedia oblongifolia usually occurs in small groups in rainforest up to 2200 m altitude.
Beilschmiedia oblongifolia was locally abundant in DR Congo in the 1950s, with up to 20 trees/ha with bole diameter over 15 cm, and 12 m³ of timber per ha, but more recent information is not available. Growth ring analysis indicates that the trees are commercially exploitable when they are 50 years old.
Genetic resources and breeding
Beilschmiedia oblongifolia is not very widespread and recent data on its abundance are lacking, so 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 wood of Beilschmiedia oblongifolia has favourable strength properties, as well as good durability and workability. Too little is known about the present distribution and abundance of the tree to assess whether its importance will increase beyond local use. As it seems to grow rapidly, it deserves more research on its possible use in plantations.
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• 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.
• Robyns, W. & Wilczek, R., 1950. Contribution a l’etude du genre Beilschmiedia de l’Afrique tropicale. Bulletin du Jardin Botanique de l’Etat (Bruxelles) 20(2): 197–226.
Correct citation of this article:
Brink, M., 2008. Beilschmiedia oblongifolia 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.