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Bertiera spicata (Gaertn.f.) K.Schum.

Protologue
Bot. Jahrb. 23: 451 (1897).
Family
Rubiaceae
Chromosome number
2n = 22
Origin and geographic distribution
Bertiera spicata occurs from Senegal to western C๔te d’Ivoire.
Uses
The bark of Bertiera spicata yields a yellow dye, which is used in West Africa to dye cotton.
Botany
Shrub up to 5 m tall; twigs clothed with long spreading hairs. Leaves opposite, simple and entire; stipules triangular, c. 3 cm long, caducous; petiole up to 1.5 cm long; blade ovate-oblong, 15–25 cm ื 4–7 cm, base rounded to cuneate, apex acuminate, hairy below, especially on the 10–12 pairs of lateral veins. Inflorescence a lax false spike up to 20 cm long. Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous, almost sessile, c. 1 cm long, white, yellow-green or pinkish; calyx tubular with small triangular lobes, pubescent; corolla tubular with ovate lobes, hairy inside; stamens inserted at corolla throat, almost sessile; ovary inferior, 2-celled, style filiform-clavate, with 2 compressed oblong branches. Fruit a soft and juicy, globose berry c. 5 mm in diameter, marked with shallow longitudinal furrows when young, brown, many-seeded.
Bertiera comprises 40–50 species, with about 30 in tropical Africa, 5 in the Indian Ocean islands and 5 in tropical America. It belongs to the tribe Gardenieae. Bertiera spicata belongs to subgenus Bertiera.
Ecology
Bertiera spicata occurs in the understorey of swamp, gallery and mangrove forests, often near the coast, sometimes also in secondary vegetation and along roadsides.
Genetic resources and breeding
Bertiera spicata is rather widespread in a range of habitats, and does not seem to be in danger of genetic erosion.
Prospects
At the best Bertiera spicata will remain a source of yellow dye of minor local importance.
Major references
• Burkill, H.M., 1997. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 4, Families M–R. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 969 pp.
• Hepper, F.N. & Keay, R.W.J., 1963. Rubiaceae. In: Hepper, F.N. (Editor). Flora of West Tropical Africa. Volume 2. 2nd Edition. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. pp. 104–223.
• Holmgren, M., Poorter, L., Siepel, A., Bongers, F., Buitelaar, M., Chatelain, C., Gautier, L., Hawthorne, W.D., Helmink, A.T.F., Jongkind, C.C.H., Os-Breijer, H.J., Wieringa, J.J. & van Zoest, A.R., 2004. Ecological profiles of rare and endemic species. In: Poorter, L., Bongers, F., Kouam้, F.N’. & Hawthorne, W.D. (Editors). Biodiversity of West African forests. An ecological atlas of woody plant species. CAB International, Wallingford, United Kingdom. pp. 101–389.
• Robbrecht, E., Rohrhofer, U. & Puff, C., 1993. A survey of Bertiera (Rubiaceae), including a discussion of its taxonomic position. In: Robbrecht, E. (Editor). Advances in Rubiaceae macrosystematics. Opera Botanica Belgica 6. pp. 101–141.
Author(s)
• P.C.M. Jansen
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands


Editors
• P.C.M. Jansen
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
• D. Cardon
CNRS, CIHAM-UMR 5648, 18, quai Claude-Bernard, 69365 Lyon, Cedex 07, France
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

Correct citation of this article:
Jansen, P.C.M., 2005. Bertiera spicata (Gaertn.f.) K.Schum. In: Jansen, P.C.M. & Cardon, D. (Editors). PROTA 3: Dyes and tannins/Colorants et tanins. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.