Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1
Notul. Syst. (Paris) 14(3): 183 (1951).
Papilionaceae (Leguminosae - Papilionoideae, Fabaceae)
Origin and geographic distribution
Dalbergia chlorocarpa is endemic to western Madagascar.
The wood is used for construction and cabinet making, and also as fuelwood.
Production and international trade
The wood is traded in small amounts in local and international markets, often mixed with the wood of other Dalbergia spp.
Deciduous small to medium-sized tree up to 15(–20) m tall; bark greyish, longitudinally fissured; young branches short-hairy. Leaves arranged spirally, imparipinnately compound with (20–)30–35(–39) leaflets; stipules small, caducous; petiole and rachis hairy; petiolules 0.5–1.5 mm long; leaflets alternate, ovate to elliptical or oblong, 1–4 cm × 0.5–1 cm, thinly leathery, hairy below. Inflorescence a terminal or axillary panicle 10–30 cm long, with short and slightly coiled final divisions, hairy. Flowers bisexual, papilionaceous, 5–6 mm long, almost sessile; calyx campanulate, 3–4.5 mm long, violet-brown, lobes longer than tube, lower lobe slightly longer, upper lobes free; corolla whitish, with broadly obovate to violin-shaped standard and clawed wings and keel; stamens 10, fused into a tube, but free in upper part; ovary superior, with distinct stipe at base, style c. 1 mm long. Fruit a flat, elliptical to ovate pod 5–11.5 cm × 2–3.5 cm, with stipe 7–12 mm long, glabrous, pale brown, reticulately veined, indehiscent, 1–2-seeded. Seeds kidney-shaped, reddish brown.
Dalbergia chlorocarpa trees flower from March to June. The trees were found to be prolific seed bearers with abundant natural regeneration.
Dalbergia is a large pantropical genus comprising about 250 species. Tropical Asia and tropical America have about 70 species each, continental Africa about 50 and Madagascar slightly over 40. In Madagascar many Dalbergia species produce high-quality wood. Several species more or less resembling Dalbergia chlorocarpa also have recorded timber uses.
Dalbergia glaucocarpa Bosser & R.Rabev. from north-western Madagascar has been confused with Dalbergia chlorocarpa, but differs in its larger flowers, calyx characteristics and fruits lacking the reticulate venation; it is selectively felled for its timber that is used locally. It is classified as endangered in the IUCN Red list. Dalbergia abrahamii Bosser & R.Rabev. from northern Madagascar differs from Dalbergia chlorocarpa in having fewer leaflets per leaf and longitudinally veined fruits. Although it is classified as an endangered species in the IUCN Red list, it is selectively felled for its reddish and nicely streaked wood. Dalbergia urschii Bosser & R.Rabev. from the same region is also listed as endangered and is selectively felled, the wood being used for construction and carpentry. Dalbergia delphinensis Bosser & R.Rabev., which is restricted to south-eastern Madagascar, is another endangered species selectively felled for its timber; it is characterized by few (7–11) leaflets and short inflorescences. Dalbergia orientalis Bosser & R.Rabev. from eastern Madagascar has similar flowers to Dalbergia delphinensis, but differs in its leaves and fruits; its wood is used in cabinet making and carpentry. It is classified as vulnerable in the IUCN Red list.
Dalbergia chlorocarpa occurs scattered in deciduous, seasonally dry forest and woodland, up to 400 m altitude, mainly on sandy soils.
Genetic resources and breeding
Although Dalbergia chlorocarpa is fairly widespread in western Madagascar, it is selectively felled for its valued timber. It has been included in the IUCN Red list as vulnerable.
Very little information is available on Dalbergia chlorocarpa, and much research is still needed to judge its prospects as a timber tree of future importance. Its declining numbers warrant protection of the remaining stands, which are fortunately partly in protected areas.
• du Puy, D.J., Labat, J.N., Rabevohitra, R., Villiers, J.-F., Bosser, J. & Moat, J., 2002. The Leguminosae of Madagascar. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 750 pp.
• Deleporte, P., Randrianasolo, J. & Rakotonirina, 1996. Sylviculture in the dry dense forest of western Madagascar. In: Ganzhorn, J.U. & Sorg, J.P. (Editors). Ecology and economy of a tropical dry forest in Madagascar. Primate Report 46–1. German Primate Center, Göttingen, Germany. pp. 89–116.
• du Puy, D., 1998. Dalbergia chlorocarpa. In: IUCN. 2006 Red list of threatened species. [Internet] http://www.iucnredlist.org. Accessed December 2006.
Correct citation of this article:
Lemmens, R.H.M.J., 2007. Dalbergia chlorocarpa R.Vig. In: Louppe, D., Oteng-Amoako, A.A. & Brink, M. (Editors). Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.