Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1
Journ. Agr. Trop. Bot. Appl. 1: 313 (1954).
Sterculiaceae (APG: Malvaceae)
Cola chlamydantha K.Schum. (1900).
Origin and geographic distribution
Chlamydocola chlamydantha occurs from Guinea and Sierra Leone to the Central African Republic and DR Congo.
The wood of Chlamydocola chlamydantha is used for pestles, house construction, and as firewood. The sour-sweet fruit pulp is edible. The seed cotyledons are chewed as an inferior substitute of those of the true kola (mainly Cola acuminata (P.Beauv.) Schott & Endl. and Cola nitida (Vent.) Schott & Endl.). Mucilage prepared from young branches or fruits is used in sauces. Decoctions of the bark are taken to calm intestinal pain in Côte d’Ivoire, and against cough in Central Africa. The colourless liquid from the fruit cavity is used to treat eye inflammation in Central Africa.
The heartwood is yellowish brown; the sapwood greyish. The texture is coarse. The wood is rather hard and heavy. The liquid from the fruit cavity has been shown to inhibit seed germination in all species tested.
Small to medium-sized tree up to 20 m tall; bole straight, up to 30 cm in diameter; outer bark brown, smooth, flaking, inner bark c. 0.5 cm thick, yellow when cut, fibrous. Leaves alternate, grouped at the ends of branches, digitately compound with 5–10 leaflets; stipules lanceolate, 1–5(–11) cm long, folded along midrib, reddish pubescent, rather long persistent; petiole 10–80 cm long, grooved, glabrous; petiolules up to 5.5 cm long; leaflets elliptical to oblong-elliptical, up to 60 cm × 20 cm, entire, base cuneate, apex acuminate, glabrous, reddish brown but pink when young. Inflorescence a fascicle on old branches, wrapped in ovate bracts c. 8 mm × 6 mm. Flowers unisexual or bisexual, regular, sessile or almost sessile; calyx campanulate, with c. 1.5 cm long tube, 5-lobed, greyish outside, reddish or purplish inside; corolla absent; male flowers with c. 2 cm long calyx, androphore 3.5–6 mm long carrying a whorl of 15–25 sessile anthers surrounding rudimentary carpels; female and bisexual flowers with c. 2.5 cm long calyx, ovary superior, consisting of 7–14 carpels surrounded by a whorl of rudimentary or functional anthers c. 3 mm long. Fruit consisting of 9–12 erect follicles arranged in a whorl around a disk-shaped receptacle; follicles oblong-ellipsoid, curved, 6–15 cm × 3–6 cm, with a short and recurved beak, orange or red, densely shortly hairy, filled with a viscous liquid, indehiscent, 7–25(–30)-seeded. Seeds ovoid, laterally compressed, 2–3 cm × 1–1.5 cm, scarlet, albuminous. Seedling with epigeal germination; hypocotyl 8–10 cm long, epicotyl 1.5–3 cm long; cotyledons ovoid, c. 7.5 cm × 5 cm; first leaf entire.
Chlamydocola comprises 2 species, one only known from Gabon.
In Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana Chlamydocola chlamydantha flowers from September–November, and fruiting is from December–February.
Chlamydocola chlamydantha occurs in the understorey of deciduous and evergreen forest, including secondary forest, often in relatively humid locations such as along watercourses. In Central Africa it is also recorded from swamp forest.
Chlamydocola chlamydantha coppices well. It is sometimes considered a weed in silvicultural operations. Chlamydocola chlamydantha is a host tree of Cacao Swollen Shoot Virus (CSSV) causing swollen shoot disease in cocoa, a disease which has had a devastating effect on cocoa production in Ghana and neighbouring countries. Control of this disease in cocoa includes elimination of Chlamydocola chlamydantha from the vicinity.
Genetic resources and breeding
In view of its wide distribution, Chlamydocola chlamydantha is not threatened by genetic erosion.
In view of the relatively small size of the stem, the role of Chlamydocola chlamydantha as a source of timber will remain limited. Moreover, as a host of the devastating Cacao Swollen Shoot Virus it is unlikely to become a popular tree in West Africa.
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Correct citation of this article:
Brink, M., 2007. Chlamydocola chlamydantha (K.Schum.) M.Bodard. In: Louppe, D., Oteng-Amoako, A.A. & Brink, M. (Editors). Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.