Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1
Journ. Linn. Soc., Bot. 25: 314 (1890).
Mimosaceae (Leguminosae - Mimosoideae)
Gagnebina myriophylla (Baker) G.P.Lewis & P.Guinet (1986).
Origin and geographic distribution
Dichrostachys myriophylla is endemic to Madagascar, where it occurs in the north-western part.
The wood is used locally for construction and charcoal production.
Small tree up to 10 m tall; young branches densely yellowish pubescent. Leaves alternate, bipinnately compound with 30–42 pairs of opposite pinnae; stipules linear; petiole 3–7 mm long, rachis 8.5–15 cm long, both grooved and pubescent above; leaflets in 35–75 pairs per pinna, opposite, sessile, oblong, up to 2.5 mm × 0.5 mm, rounded at base and acute at apex, almost glabrous. Inflorescence an axillary short spike, solitary or in clusters of up to 3, combined into a panicle; peduncle c. 1 cm long. Flowers regular, 5-merous, sessile, those in lower part of inflorescence sterile, white, with long staminodes, those in upper part of inflorescence bisexual, creamy; calyx cup-shaped to cylindrical, c. 1 mm long, glabrous, with short lobes; petals free, narrowly elliptical, 1.5–3 mm long; stamens 10, free, anthers with a fleshy appendix at apex; ovary superior, stalked, obovoid, pubescent, style c. 3.5 mm long. Fruit a narrowly elliptical pod 4–7 cm × 0.5 cm, flattened, stalked, with slightly thickened margins, glabrous, black, dehiscent with 2 valves. Seeds flattened ovoid to ellipsoid, c. 5 mm × 3 mm, brown.
Dichrostachys comprises about 15 species, most of them restricted to Madagascar. It is closely related to Alantsilodendron and Gagnebina. Dichrostachys cinerea (L.) Wight & Arn. is the most widespread species, occurring throughout Africa and Asia and in northern Australia. The wood of this important multipurpose species is strong and durable and is used for small objects. However, its use in traditional medicine is more important.
Dichrostachys myriophylla occurs in lowland moist forest, up to 300 m altitude, often in forest margins.
Genetic resources and breeding
Dichrostachys myriophylla has a limited distribution in a vulnerable habitat, and it may be easily endangered by habitat destruction.
In view of its restricted distribution, harvesting the timber of Dichrostachys myriophylla should be discouraged. The tree is too small to have good prospects as plantation timber. More research is needed to assess its prospects in agroforestry systems.
• 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.
• Hughes, C.E., Bailey, C.D., Krosnick, S. & Luckow, M.A., 2003. Relationships among genera of the informal Dichrostachys and Leucaena groups (Mimosoideae) inferred from nuclear ribosomal ITS sequences. In: Klitgaard, B.B. & Bruneau, A. (Editors). Advances in legume systematics, part 10. Higher level systematics. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom. pp. 221–238.
• Lewis, G.P. & Guinet, Ph., 1986. Notes on Gagnebina (Leguminosae - Mimosoideae) in Madagascar and neighbouring islands. Kew Bulletin 41(2): 463–470.
• Luckow, M., 2002. Anatomical features of the leaves in the Dichrostachys group (Leguminosae: Mimosoideae) and their utility for phylogenetic studies. Systematic Botany 27(1): 29–40.
Correct citation of this article:
Lemmens, R.H.M.J., 2007. Dichrostachys myriophylla Baker. In: Louppe, D., Oteng-Amoako, A.A. & Brink, M. (Editors). Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.