Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1
Oliv., Fl. trop. Afr. 1: 222 (1868).
Sterculiaceae (APG: Malvaceae)
Origin and geographic distribution
Cola clavata is distributed in Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique.
The wood of Cola clavata is used for construction, tool handles, bows, animal traps, fencing and as firewood. The tree is suitable for providing shade and as a wayside tree.
The wood of Cola clavata is heavy, hard, tough and termite-resistant.
Evergreen, dioecious medium-sized tree up to 30 m tall; bole often branched low; bark brownish grey to pale green, smooth; branchlets first stellate-pubescent but soon glabrous. Leaves alternate, simple and entire; stipules c. 3 mm long, caducous; petiole up to 6.5 cm long, slightly swollen at base and apex; blade narrowly obovate to elliptical, up to 13(–23) cm × 6(–10) cm, base cuneate, apex obtuse to obtusely acuminate, leathery, glabrous, pinnately veined with c. 10 pairs of lateral veins. Inflorescence an axillary fascicle on 1–3-year-old branches. Flowers unisexual, regular; pedicel 5–10 mm long, pubescent; calyx stellate-pubescent; petals absent. Fruit consisting of 1–3 club-shaped follicles c. 2 cm × 1 cm, narrowing into a stalk-like base, stellate-pubescent, 1-seeded. Seed oblong-ellipsoid, c. 2 cm × 1.5 cm, shiny brown.
Cola comprises about 100 species and is restricted to continental Africa. Some other Cola spp. are used as a source of wood in East Africa. Cola discoglypremnophylla Brenan & A.P.D.Jones is a small tree up to 10 m tall occurring in riverine and lowland forest in Tanzania and perhaps Mozambique; its wood is used for poles, tool handles, animal traps and firewood, and it is also a shade tree. The wood of Cola uloloma Brenan, occurring in lowland forest in Kenya, Tanzania and Malawi, is used for poles, tool handles, firewood and charcoal production; this species is also used as a shade tree. Cola usambarensis Engl. is a small tree up to 15 m tall occurring in submontane forest in Tanzania. Its wood is hard, heavy and tough, and is used for poles, animal traps, tool handles, firewood and charcoal production; rope and medicines are also obtained from the tree. Low-altitude populations of Cola usambarensis have sometimes been confounded with Cola lukei Cheek, a tree from eastern Tanzania, up to 10 m tall and sometimes coppiced for poles. Cola lukei is classified as endangered in the IUCN Red list of threatened species, due to habitat loss and growing local population pressure.
Cola clavata occurs in riverine forest and forest edges up to 600 m altitude.
Cola clavata is recorded to be sometimes cultivated on farms in the Usambara Mountains of Tanzania, but details are lacking.
Genetic resources and breeding
Cola clavata is classified as data deficient in the IUCN red list of threatened species, indicating that there is inadequate information to assess its risk of extinction.
Although the wood of Cola clavata is considered to have favourable properties, too little information on the wood properties is available to properly evaluate its prospects for increased use as a source of timber.
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Correct citation of this article:
Brink, M., 2007. Cola clavata Mast. In: Louppe, D., Oteng-Amoako, A.A. & Brink, M. (Editors). Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.