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Chrysophyllum boivinianum (Pierre) Baehni

Boissiera 11: 76 (1965).
Gambeya boiviniana Pierre (1891), Gambeya madagascariensis Lecomte (1920).
Vernacular names
Famelona à grandes feuilles (Fr).
Origin and geographic distribution
Chrysophyllum boivinianum occurs in the Comoros and eastern Madagascar.
In Madagascar the wood is commonly used for interior joinery and carpentry, furniture, moulding, panelling, light flooring and ladders. It is also used in shipbuilding because of its elasticity.
The fruits are edible. Crushed leaves are applied as a dressing to treat scorpion stings. In Madagascar Chrysophyllum boivinianum forms part of plant mixtures used to treat poisoning and to relieve symptoms of malaria, tiredness and muscular pains.
The heartwood is cream-coloured to brownish yellow or pinkish brown, sometimes with irregular dark stripes, and indistinctly demarcated from the sapwood, which is 5–6 cm wide. The grain is straight, occasionally slightly wavy, texture fine to moderately fine and even.
The wood is medium-weight, with a density of 630–710 kg/m³ at 12% moisture content. The rates of shrinkage are moderate to high, from green to oven dry 3.7–4.7% radial and 8.6–9.9(–12.5%) tangential. However, the wood air dries well with little degrade, although occasionally with a tendency to warp.
At 12% moisture content, the modulus of rupture is 128–151 N/mm², modulus of elasticity 11,470–12,940 N/mm², compression parallel to grain 43–53 N/mm², shear 8.1 N/mm², cleavage 17–23 N/mm and Chalais-Meudon hardness 2.5–3.1.
The wood is easy to saw, works well with hand and machine tools, and it can be planed to an excellent finish. It does not easily split when nailed, but it holds nails and screws only moderately well. It has good gluing and painting properties. It turns well, and it has good steam bending properties. The wood is only moderately durable; it is liable to attacks by fungi and insects. The heartwood is resistant to treatment with preservatives, the sapwood moderately resistant.
Medium-sized tree up to 25 m tall; bole up to 60 cm in diameter, straight, often fluted, reaching up to 18 m to the first branches, often slightly buttressed at base; bark surface smooth, inner bark exuding a sticky white latex; young branches angular, hairy, older branches with leaf scars. Leaves arranged spirally, simple and entire; stipules absent; petiole 1.5–2 cm long, channelled, hairy; blade elliptical to obovate, 7–12(–40) cm × 2.5–3.5(–12) cm, cuneate at base, shortly acuminate at apex, densely reddish brown appressed hairy below, pinnately veined with 12–30 pairs of straight lateral veins. Flowers in axillary fascicles, bisexual, regular, 5-merous, sessile or with short pedicel; sepals free, 2.5–3 mm long, pubescent; corolla with c. 2.5 mm long tube and rounded lobes c. 1.5 mm long, hairy at margins, creamy white; stamens inserted in corolla tube, opposite corolla lobes; ovary superior, long-hairy, 5-celled, style short, tapering, glabrous. Fruit a globose berry up to 4.5 cm in diameter, up to 5-seeded. Seeds ellipsoid, flattened, up to 3 cm × 1.5 cm.
Chrysophyllum comprises about 70 species and occurs throughout the tropics. Tropical America is richest in species (about 45), followed by continental Africa (about 15), Madagascar (about 10) and tropical Asia and Australia (together 2). The genus has been subdivided into 6 sections, 2 of which (sect. Aneuchrysophyllum and sect. Donella) contain African species. Chrysophyllum boivinianum belongs to sect. Aneuchrysophyllum.
The fruits of Chrysophyllum boivinianum are commonly eaten by lemur species, which may disperse the seeds.
Chrysophyllum boivinianum occurs in humid evergreen forest from sea-level up to 1750 m altitude. It is particularly characteristic of mid-elevation forest along the escarpment in eastern Madagascar. It occurs in littoral and sub-littoral forests on sandy soils, but it prefers lateritic soils where it may be abundant. It is also found in forest remnants on high plateaus.
After felling, logs should be removed from the forest rapidly as they may develop heart shakes and end splits. They are liable to blue stain attack and therefore dipping in anti-sapstain preservatives is recommended before stacking.
Genetic resources and breeding
Chrysophyllum boivinianum is widespread in eastern Madagascar and locally common, and it does not seem to be liable to genetic erosion at present. However, there is some concern about the decrease of the species in recent years, and it was included in a TRAFFIC (the wildlife trade monitoring network, a joint programme of WWF and IUCN) list of species that are used in traditional medicine and are in need of conservation, management and/or research in eastern and southern Africa.
As long as stands of sufficient proportions remain, the timber of Chrysophyllum boivinianum will be important for local utilization. It is recommended that the propagation and management of this species be studied as a basis for possibilities for its use in timber plantations of indigenous trees in Madagascar.
Major references
• Aubréville, A., 1974. Sapotaceae. Flore de Madagascar et des Comores, famille 164. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. 128 pp.
• 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.
• Guéneau, P., Bedel, J. & Thiel, J., 1970–1975. Bois et essences malgaches. Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Nogent-sur-Marne, France. 150 pp.
• Takahashi, A., 1978. Compilation of data on the mechanical properties of foreign woods (part 3) Africa. Shimane University, Matsue, Japan, 248 pp.
Other references
• Capuron, R., 1966. Famelona (Gambeya boiviniana Pierre - Sapotacées). Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, section de Madagascar, Antananarivo, Madagascar. 8pp.
• Randrianarivelojosia, M., Rasidimanana, V.T., Rabarison, H., Cheplogoi, P.K., Ratsimbason, M., Mulholland, D.A. & Mauclère, P., 2003. Plants traditionally prescribed to treat tazo (malaria) in the eastern region of Madagascar. Malaria Journal 2: 25. [Internet] Open Access article. Accessed October 2006.
• Schatz, G.E., 2001. Generic tree flora of Madagascar. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 477 pp.
• Styger, E., Rakotoarimanana, J.E.M., Rabevohitra, R. & Fernandes, E.C.M., 1999. Indigenous fruit trees of Madagascar: potential components of agroforestry systems to improve human nutrition and restore biological diversity. Agroforestry Systems 46(3): 289–310.
R.H.M.J. Lemmens
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

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:
Lemmens, R.H.M.J., 2007. Chrysophyllum boivinianum (Pierre) Baehni. In: Louppe, D., Oteng-Amoako, A.A. & Brink, M. (Editors). Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.