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Cuviera nigrescens (Scott-Elliot) Wernham

J. Bot. 49: 321 (1911).
Chromosome number
2n = 44
Vangueria nigrescens Scott Elliot ex Oliv. (1894), Cuviera trichostephana K.Schum. (1897), Cuviera minor C.H.Wright (1906).
Origin and geographic distribution
Cuviera nigrescens occurs from Guinea-Bissau eastward to southern Nigeria and Cameroon, and possibly in DR Congo.
In Ghana the branches are split to make the ribs of umbrellas for chiefs. An extract of the root is applied as eye-bath against conjunctivitis.
The wood fibres are 1.6–2.2 mm long.
Shrub or small tree up to 12 m tall; bole up to 30 cm in diameter, bearing sharp spines; outer bark pale grey, inner bark green and brown; crown drooping; branches arching. Leaves opposite, simple, entire; petiole thin; blade elliptical to obovate, up to 13 cm × 5–8 cm, base rounded or attenuate, apex long-apiculate, glabrous except for a few hairs in axils of lateral veins, membranous, shiny, lateral veins in 6–7 pairs. Inflorescence an axillary spreading cyme with conspicuous pale bracteoles c. 8 mm long. Flowers greenish white, fragrant; calyx-lobes ovate-lanceolate, c. 3 mm × 8 mm, conspicuous, pale; corolla tube very short and hairy at base, lobes 5, lanceolate, apex pointed, with thread-like tips; anthers sessile; ovary rounded, 5-celled, ridged, styles glabrous, stigmas cylindrical. Fruit a drupe c. 4 cm in diameter, slightly 5-lobed when fresh, sharply 5-ridged when dry. Seeds kidney-shaped, with keel-like wings.
In Ghana Cuviera nigrescens flowers in February–May and fruits in June–October.
Cuviera is a genus of about 30 species, all in tropical Africa. A revision of the genus is lacking. It is possibly close to Vangueriella, but the group of Vanguerieae, in which Cuviera is classified, is in need of revision to elucidate the relationships between taxa.
Cuviera nigrescens occurs in moist primary forest and secondary vegetation.
Cuviera nigrescens is only collected from the wild.
Genetic resources and breeding
The species is widespread and not threatened with genetic erosion.
Cuviera nigrescens is only used locally and its importance is unlikely to increase.
Major references
• Aubréville, A., 1959. La flore forestière de la Côte d’Ivoire. Deuxième édition révisée. Tome troisième. Publication No 15. Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Nogent-sur-Marne, France. 334 pp.
• 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.
• Irvine, F.R., 1961. Woody plants of Ghana, with special reference to their uses. Oxford University Press, London, United Kingdom. 868 pp.
• Neuwinger, H.D., 2000. African traditional medicine: a dictionary of plant use and applications. Medpharm Scientific, Stuttgart, Germany. 589 pp.
Other references
• Alexandre, D.Y., 1980. Caractère saisonnier de la fructification dans une forêt hygrophile de Côte d’Ivoire. Revue d’Ecologie la Terre et la Vie 34: 335–359.
• Fedorov, A.A., 1974. Chromosome numbers of flowering plants. Reprint. Otto Koeltz Science Publishers, Koenigstein, Germany. 926 pp.
• Lantz, H., Andreasen, K. & Bremer, B., 2002. Nuclear rDNA ITS sequence data used to construct the first phylogeny of Vanguerieae (Rubiaceae). Plant Systematics and Evolution 230(3–4): 173–187.
• Lens, F., Jansen, S., Huysmans, S., Robbrecht E. & Smets, E., 2000. Pollen morphological variation in Vanguerieae (Ixoroideae - Rubiaceae). Grana 39: 90–102.
• Lens, F., Jansen, S., Robbrecht, E. & Smets, E., 2000. Wood anatomy of the Vanguerieae (Ixoroideae–Rubiaceae), with special emphasis on some geofrutices. IAWA Journal 21(4): 443–455.
• Muoghalu, J.I., Akanni, S.O. & Eretan, O.O., 1993. Litter fall and nutrient dynamics in a Nigerian rain forest seven years after a ground fire. Journal of Vegetation Science 4: 323–328.
• Muoghalu, J.I. & Okeesan, O.O., 2005. Climber species composition, abundance and relationship with trees in a Nigerian secondary forest. African Journal of Ecology 43(3): 258–266.
• Nyerges, A.E., 1989. Coppice swidden fallows in tropical deciduous forest: Biological, technological, and sociocultural determinants of secondary forest successions. Human Ecology 17(4): 379–400.
• Unwin, A.H., 1920. West African forests and forestry. [Internet] T. Fisher Unwin Ltd, London, United Kingdom. 527 pp. details /westafricanfores00unwi. Accessed February 2010.
L.P.A. Oyen
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

M. Brink
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
E.G. Achigan Dako
PROTA Network Office Africa, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), P.O. Box 30677-00100, Nairobi, Kenya

Correct citation of this article:
Oyen, L.P.A., 2010. Cuviera nigrescens (Scott-Elliot) Wernham. In: Brink, M. & Achigan-Dako, E.G. (Editors). Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes à fibres. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.
Distribution Map wild