Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes à fibres
Candollea 16: 306 (1958).
Sterculiaceae (APG: Malvaceae)
Origin and geographic distribution
Dombeya viburnifloropsis is endemic to Madagascar.
The bark fibre is used for cordage and weaving.
Small tree up to 10 m tall; young branches finely and densely stellate-hairy, older branches with a brown and glabrous bark. Leaves alternate, simple; stipules ovate-lanceolate, 10–12 mm long, long-acuminate, hairy, caducous; petiole 7–10 cm long, rounded, with stellate and simple hairs; blade 3–5-lobed, up to 14 cm × 16 cm, lobes ovate, apex obtuse or acuminate, base deeply cordate, margin irregularly toothed, both surfaces covered with stellate and simple hairs, but more densely below, palmately veined with up to 9 basal veins, venation prominent, especially below. Inflorescence an axillary umbellate cyme, 10–15 cm long, hairy, many-flowered. Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous; epicalyx bracts 3, ovate, reddish hairy, 5–6 mm long, caducous; calyx 5-fid, c. 6 mm long, lobes lanceolate, hairy outside, not reflexed; petals free, narrowly obovate, 10–11 mm × 3–5 mm, white; androecium shortly tube-shaped, staminal tube 2–2.5 mm long, stamens 15, white, filaments unequal, 1–2.5 mm long, not or hardly connected above tube, alternating by 3 with 5 staminodes 4.5–6 mm long; ovary superior, hairy, 4–5-celled, stylar column 3–5 mm long, with 4–5 branches 1.5–2.5 mm long. Fruit a loculicidal capsule.
Dombeya comprises about 200 species, mainly distributed in Madagascar, with about 20 species in mainland Africa and 14 in the Mascarenes. Revisions of the genus have been carried out for mainland Africa and the Mascarenes, but not for Madagascar, and the number of species described for Madagascar is possibly too high.
Various other Dombeya species endemic to Madagascar are used as fibre plants. Dombeya tulearensis Arènes and Dombeya urschiana Arènes yield good bark fibres for rope making, whereas Dombeya valou Baill., a tree up to 25 m tall with a bole up to 40 cm in diameter, produces fibres of mediocre quality. Its bark has been used for tying captives. The bark fibre of Dombeya venosa Arènes is also used for making rope.
Dombeya viburnifloropsis occurs in forest up to 1200 m altitude.
The fibre is usually extracted after retting, and combed.
Genetic resources and breeding
The conservation status of Dombeya viburnifloropsis is unknown.
The bark fibre of Dombeya viburnifloropsis is locally used for rope making and weaving, but information on its properties and the extent of its use are lacking, making it difficult to assess the prospects of this species.
• Arènes, J., 1959. Sterculiacées (Sterculiaceae). Flore de Madagascar et des Comores (plantes vasculaires), famille 131. Firmin-Didot et cie., Paris, France. 537 pp.
• Boiteau, P., Boiteau, M. & Allorge-Boiteau, L., 1999. Dictionnaire des noms malgaches de végétaux. 4 Volumes + Index des noms scientifiques avec leurs équivalents malgaches. Editions Alzieu, Grenoble, France.
• Missouri Botanical Garden, undated. VAST (VAScular Tropicos) nomenclatural database. [Internet] http://mobot.mobot.org/ W3T/Search/ vast.html. Accessed February 2010.
• Schatz, G., undated. A catalogue of the vascular plants of Madagascar. [Internet]. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, United States. http://www.efloras.org/ flora_info.aspx?flora_id=12. Accessed September 2009.
• Seyani, J.H., 1991. The genus Dombeya (Sterculiaceae) in continental Africa. Opera Botanica Belgica 2. National Botanic Garden of Belgium, Meise, Belgium. 186 pp.
Correct citation of this article:
Brink, M., 2010. Dombeya viburnifloropsis Arènes. In: Brink, M. & Achigan-Dako, E.G. (Editors). Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes à fibres. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.