Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1
Monogr. afrik. Pflanzen-Fam. 8: 42 (1904).
2n = 26, 28
Donella pruniformis (Pierre ex Engl.) Aubrév. & Pellegr. (1961).
Origin and geographic distribution
Chrysophyllum pruniforme is widely distributed from Sierra Leone east to western Uganda and western Tanzania.
In Tanzania the wood is used for construction, grain mortars and beehives. In West Africa it is used for house construction. In Congo a tea made from the bark is drunk to treat cough. In some regions the fruit pulp is reported as edible, but in others as inedible.
The wood is yellowish white and moderately hard.
Medium-sized tree up to 30(–40) m tall; bole up to 80(–100) cm in diameter, straight and cylindrical, fluted or slightly buttressed at base; bark surface dark brown to blackish, fissured, inner bark pale brown, fibrous, exuding a little latex; young branches reddish brown hairy. Leaves distichously alternate, simple and entire; stipules absent; petiole 0.5–1 cm long, slender; blade elliptical to ovate-oblong, 4–11(–13) cm × 2–5(–6.5) cm, asymmetrically cuneate at base, long-acuminate at apex, leathery, glabrous, pinnately veined with numerous, closely spaced lateral veins. Flowers in axillary fascicles, regular, 5-merous; pedicel 2–3.5 mm long; sepals free, orbicular, up to 2 mm long, slightly pubescent to glabrous outside; corolla with up to 1 mm long tube and rounded lobes up to 1.5 mm long, ciliate at margins, greenish; stamens inserted near base of corolla tube, opposite corolla lobes; ovary superior, conical to globose, long-hairy, 5-celled, style short. Fruit a globose to ovoid berry up to 5 cm × 4 cm, yellow when ripe, glabrous, up to 5-seeded. Seeds ellipsoid, flattened, up to 2.5 cm × 1.5 cm, shiny brown. Seedling with epigeal germination.
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 pruniforme belongs to sect. Donella, characterized by the presence of numerous, closely spaced lateral veins in the leaves. It is closely related to Chrysophyllum viridifolium J.M.Wood & Franks from East and southern Africa, and the two species have often been confused.
Chrysophyllum pruniforme occurs in lowland rainforest, both primary as well as secondary forest, in East Africa up to 1500 m altitude. It is usually found on well-drained soils. It is fairly common in West and Central Africa. Seedlings of Chrysophyllum pruniforme are shade tolerant.
The 1000-seed weight is about 715 g. In Sierra Leone Chrysophyllum pruniforme sometimes constitutes more than 9% of all trees with a girth of over 30 cm, and up to 90 stems/ha have been counted.
Genetic resources and breeding
Chrysophyllum pruniforme does not seem to be liable to genetic erosion because it is widespread and in several regions fairly common.
Very little is known about Chrysophyllum pruniforme. In the past it has been recorded as a timber tree of little interest and even as a weed species in commercial forest, but research is warranted to evaluate its role in sustainably managed natural production forest in relation to its wood properties.
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Correct citation of this article:
Lemmens, R.H.M.J., 2007. Chrysophyllum pruniforme Pierre ex Engl. In: Louppe, D., Oteng-Amoako, A.A. & Brink, M. (Editors). Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.
various parts of the tree
obtained from The Virtual Field Herbarium
wood in transverse section
wood in tangential section
wood in radial section