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Dalbergia monticola Bosser & R.Rabev.

Protologue
Bull. Mus. natl. Hist. nat., sect. B, Adansonia 18: 198 (1996).
Family
Papilionaceae (Leguminosae - Papilionoideae, Fabaceae)
Vernacular names
Voamboana, palissandre brun, palissandre de Madagascar (Fr).
Origin and geographic distribution
Dalbergia monticola is endemic to eastern Madagascar, where it occurs in a fragmented belt of about 1000 km long and 100 km wide from Antalaha in the north to Fianarantsoa in the south.
Uses
The wood of Dalbergia monticola is usually not distinguished from that of some other Dalbergia species, notably Dalbergia baronii Baker, from which Dalbergia monticola was not distinguished until recently. The wood is one of the so-called rosewoods (‘Madagascar rosewood’, ‘palisander’) much in demand for cabinet making, furniture, marquetry and parquet flooring. It is one of the favoured woods for musical instruments, especially guitars, not only because of its beautiful colour and venation, but also because of its clearness of tone. It is also suitable for interior trim, joinery, ship and boat building, vehicle bodies, precision equipment, carvings, toys and novelties, turnery, pattern making, veneer and plywood.
Production and international trade
The wood is still traded on the international market, usually in small amounts and at high prices, for special applications such as musical instruments. In recent years it has replaced Brazilian rosewood (from Dalbergia nigra (Vell.) Benth.) because this South-American species has been included in Appendix I of CITES. It is often traded as quarter-sawn pieces of comparatively small dimensions. In 1999 Madagascar officially exported about 1500 m³ of palisander from different Dalbergia spp., but according to other estimations about 3200 m³ was exported.
Properties
The wood of Dalbergia monticola is similar to that of Dalbergia baronii, and the two are not distinguished in trade. The following description refers to both species. The heartwood is greyish yellow-brown to reddish brown or dark brown, often with darker stripes, and distinctly demarcated from the sapwood. The grain is generally straight, texture fine and even. Fresh wood has a sweetish smell.
The wood is moderately heavy to heavy, with a density of 620–950 kg/m³ at 12% moisture content. It air-dries satisfactorily but slowly; turned pieces used for precision equipment or musical instruments should be dried thoroughly to avoid distortion. The rates of shrinkage are moderate, from green to oven dry about 4.1% radial and 7.6% tangential. Once dry, the wood is very stable in service.
At 12% moisture content, the modulus of rupture is 132–221 N/mm², compression parallel to grain 58–86 N/mm², cleavage 14–20 N/mm and Chalais-Meudon side hardness 2.9–7.8.
The wood works well, both with hand tools and machine tools. It finishes well, taking a beautiful polish. The nailing properties are moderate and pre-boring is needed. Finishing with oil-based paint gives moderate results, and the gluing properties are variable. The wood is suitable for sliced veneer. It is moderately durable, and resistant to termites. The heartwood is very resistant to treatment with preservatives.
Adulterations and substitutes
The wood of several other Dalbergia species from Madagascar is traded as Madagascar rosewood or palisander.
Description
Deciduous medium-sized tree up to 30 m tall; bole usually short, sometimes branchless for up to 20 m, up to 100 cm in diameter; bark greyish, somewhat scaly; young branches shortly hairy, older branches glabrous. Leaves arranged spirally, imparipinnately compound with 20–30(–35) leaflets; stipules small, caducous; petiole and rachis densely bristly hairy; petiolules c. 1 mm long; leaflets alternate, obovate to oblong, (3–)5–17 mm × (3–)4–10 mm, leathery, whitish to pale yellowish hairy below. Inflorescence a terminal or axillary panicle 7–15 cm long, with slightly coiled final divisions, hairy. Flowers bisexual, papilionaceous, 5–6 mm long; pedicel 0.5–1.5 mm long; calyx campanulate, 2.5–3.5 mm long, lobes shorter than tube, lower lobe slightly longer, upper lobes fused; 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 short. Fruit a flat, elliptical to oblong pod 3.5–9 cm × c. 1.5 cm, with slender stipe 4–10 mm long, shortly hairy but glabrescent, reddish brown, reticulately veined, indehiscent, 1–3-seeded. Seeds kidney-shaped, c. 8 mm × 4 mm, reddish brown.
Other botanical information
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. In leaves and flowers Dalbergia monticola resembles Dalbergia baronii Baker, from which it has been distinguished only recently. It differs in its large, terminal and axillary inflorescences (short and axillary in Dalbergia baronii) and reticulately veined fruit wall, and is usually found at higher altitudes. In the literature the name Dalbergia baronii has partly been used for Dalbergia monticola, and the timber of both species is mixed in trade.
Anatomy
Wood-anatomical description (IAWA hardwood codes):
Growth rings: (1: growth ring boundaries distinct); (2: growth ring boundaries indistinct or absent). Vessels: 5: wood diffuse-porous; 13: simple perforation plates; 22: intervessel pits alternate; (23: shape of alternate pits polygonal); 26: intervessel pits medium ( 7–10 μm); 27: intervessel pits large ( 10 μm); 29: vestured pits; 30: vessel-ray pits with distinct borders; similar to intervessel pits in size and shape throughout the ray cell; 42: mean tangential diameter of vessel lumina 100–200 μm; 43: mean tangential diameter of vessel lumina 200 μm; 45: vessels of two distinct diameter classes, wood not ring-porous; 46: 5 vessels per square millimetre; 58: gums and other deposits in heartwood vessels. Tracheids and fibres: 61: fibres with simple to minutely bordered pits; 66: non-septate fibres present; 70: fibres very thick-walled. Axial parenchyma: 76: axial parenchyma diffuse; 77: axial parenchyma diffuse-in-aggregates; 80: axial parenchyma aliform; 82: axial parenchyma winged-aliform; 83: axial parenchyma confluent; 85: axial parenchyma bands more than three cells wide; 89: axial parenchyma in marginal or in seemingly marginal bands; 90: fusiform parenchyma cells; 91: two cells per parenchyma strand; (92: four (3–4) cells per parenchyma strand). Rays: 97: ray width 1–3 cells; 106: body ray cells procumbent with one row of upright and/or square marginal cells; 115: 4–12 rays per mm. Storied structure: 118: all rays storied; 120: axial parenchyma and/or vessel elements storied. Mineral inclusions: 136: prismatic crystals present; 142: prismatic crystals in chambered axial parenchyma cells.
(E. Ebanyenle, A.A. Oteng-Amoako, P. Baas & P. Détienne)
Growth and development
Dalbergia monticola flowers from August to November, and ripe fruits can be found from July to September. The flowers are pollinated by insects, the fruits simply fall on the ground, but the seeds may also be dispersed by animals. Seedlings are mainly found less than 10–20 m from the trunk. When undisturbed, Dalbergia monticola trees live for a long time, at least 200 years. Bradyrhizobium, Mesorhizobium and Ralstonia bacteria have been isolated from root nodules of Dalbergia monticola.
Ecology
Dalbergia monticola occurs in lowland humid rainforest to submontane evergreen forest, at (250–)350–1600 m altitude. The mean temperature in its region of distribution is 18–23°C, the mean annual rainfall 750–2500 mm. Dalbergia monticola usually occurs on ferrallitic soils.
Propagation and planting
On an experimental scale, propagation of Dalbergia monticola by air layering has been successful. In Madagascar there is great demand for seeds for planting.
Genetic resources
Although Dalbergia monticola is fairly widely distributed along the east coast of Madagascar, its habitat, i.e. rainforest and submontane evergreen forest, has been much reduced. Moreover, it is selectively felled. Large trees of Dalbergia monticola have become rare. It is included in the IUCN Red list of threatened species, in which it is classified as vulnerable. Studies on the genetic variability showed that Dalbergia monticola is most diverse in the central-northern part of its distribution area and less diverse towards the south and extreme north, a pattern possibly resulting from expansion from refuge areas near Lake Alaotra after the last glacial period some 20,000 years ago.
Prospects
Dalbergia monticola is overexploited, and will soon disappear from the timber market as stands have largely been depleted. Protection of remaining stands is badly needed, and Dalbergia monticola will only have a role as commercial timber in the future if plantations become successful, or if the timber is sustainably harvested from natural forest. This will probably allow only very low yield levels because trees presumably grow slowly. However, research into propagation techniques and proper management methods seems worthwhile in the light of the excellent properties of the wood.
Major references
• Andrianoelina, O., Rakotondraoelina, H., Ramamonjisoa, L., Maley, J., Danthu, P. & Bouvet, J.-M., 2006. Genetic diversity of Dalbergia monticola (Fabaceae) an endangered tree species in the fragmented oriental forest of Madagascar. Biodiversity and Conservation 15: 1109–1128.
• Bosser, J. & Rabevohitra, R., 1996. Taxa et noms nouveaux dans le genre Dalbergia (Papilionaceae) à Madagascar et aux Comores. Bulletin du Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, 4e série, section B, Adansonia 18: 171–212.
• 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.
Other references
• Andrianoelina, O., 2002. Elaboration d’éléments de base de gestion des ressources génétiques de Dalbergia monticola à Madagascar: étude de la diversité génétique et des facteurs socio économiques. Mémoire de DEA, Université d’Antananarivo, Madagascar. 50 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.
• du Puy, D., 1998. Dalbergia monticola. In: IUCN. 2006 Red list of threatened species. [Internet] http://www.iucnredlist.org. Accessed November 2006.
• Rasolomampianina, R., Bailly, X., Fetiarison, R., Rabevohitra, R., Béna, G., Ramaroson, L., Raherimandimby, M., Moulin, L., de Lajudie, P., Dreyfus, B. & Avarre, J .-C., 2005. Nitrogen fixing nodules from rose wood legume trees (Dalbergia spp.) endemic to Madagascar host seven different genera belonging to α- and β-proteobacteria. Molecular Ecology 14(13): 4135–4146.
• Takahashi, A., 1978. Compilation of data on the mechanical properties of foreign woods (part 3) Africa. Shimane University, Matsue, Japan, 248 pp.
Sources of illustration
• Bosser, J. & Rabevohitra, R., 1996. Taxa et noms nouveaux dans le genre Dalbergia (Papilionaceae) à Madagascar et aux Comores. Bulletin du Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, 4e série, section B, Adansonia 18: 171–212.
• 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.
Author(s)
R.H.M.J. Lemmens
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands


Editors
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. Dalbergia monticola Bosser & R.Rabev. In: Louppe, D., Oteng-Amoako, A.A. & Brink, M. (Editors). Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.
Distribution Map wild


1, flowering branch; 2, flower; 3, fruiting branch.
Redrawn and adapted by Iskak Syamsudin



tree habit


bark


fruiting branch


wood


table


wood used for board game peg solitaire