PROTA homepage Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes ΰ fibres
Record display

Julbernardia magnistipulata (Harms) Troupin

Bull. Jard. Bot. Etat 20: 314 (1950).
Caesalpiniaceae (Leguminosae - Caesalpinioideae)
Berlinia magnistipulata Harms (1922), Isoberlinia magnistipulata (Harms) Milne-Redh. (1937).
Vernacular names
Mkwe, mkue, mukuwa (Sw).
Origin and geographic distribution
Julbernardia magnistipulata only occurs in Kenya and Tanzania.
The inner bark is locally used as tying material, for instance in construction. It is also used for weaving fish traps. In Kenya the wood is locally made into tool handles, spoons, stools, beds, construction poles and canoes. It is also suitable for heavy construction, furniture, joinery, doors and door frames. It is used as fuelwood and for charcoal making. The tree is a bee forage and also used for shade and ornamental purposes.
The heartwood is reddish, darkening on exposure; the sapwood is pale yellow cream, turning red on exposure. The grain is usually crossed, but not interlocked. The wood has a density of 670 kg/m³. Seasoning is slow and should preferably be done in the shade. The wood is hard, with a modulus of rupture of 130 N/mm². It saws easily with little end checking, and is very durable, being resistant to termites and marine borers.
Evergreen, small to medium-sized tree up to 25 m tall, rarely a bush; bole up to 75 cm in diameter, buttressed; outer bark smooth, brown or grey; young branches glabrous. Leaves alternate, paripinnately compound with (1–)2–3 pairs of opposite leaflets; stipules intrapetiolar, 0.5–5 cm Χ 0.5–3 cm, connate at base, with 2 large, foliaceous lobes, persistent; petiole with rachis 4–9 cm long; leaflets elliptical, oblong-elliptical, obovate-elliptical or ovate-lanceolate, 6–11.5(–15) cm Χ 2.5–5(–8) cm, base cuneate, apex obtuse to acuminate, margin entire, glabrous (including margin), venation prominent on both surfaces. Inflorescence a terminal panicle up to 20 cm Χ 20 cm, brown-hairy. Flowers bisexual, 5-merous; pedicel 4–7 mm long; bracteoles 2, valvate, 8–9 mm Χ 8–9 mm, keeled on the back, persistent; sepals 5, (sub)orbicular, 3.5–5 mm Χ 3–4 mm, imbricate; petals 5, cream to white, 1 large and 4 small, the larger one suborbicular, 7 mm Χ 6 mm, shortly clawed, the others ovate or oblanceolate, 2–5 mm Χ 1–1.5 mm; stamens 10, 9 filaments shortly connate, 1 free; ovary superior, very shortly stipitate, style elongate, stigma capitate. Fruit an obovate-oblong or oblong pod 5.5–14 cm Χ 2.5–3.5(–5) cm, flattened, glabrescent, dehiscent into 2 woody valves. Seeds 1.5–2.5 cm Χ 1.5–2 cm, flattened, dark brown.
In Kenya Julbernardia magnistipulata flowers in August–October.
Julbernardia comprises about 10 species, all in tropical Africa. The bark of Julbernardia unijugata J.Lιonard, an evergreen tree up to 18(–30) m tall only known from Tanzania, is used for making ropes and beehives, and the wood for tool handles, fuelwood and charcoal making. The tree also provides bee forage and shade. It is easily distinguished from other Julbernardia species by its leaves always having only one pair of leaflets.
Julbernardia magnistipulata occurs from sea level up to 1150 m altitude in lowland forest, riverine forest, coastal evergreen bushland, coastal Brachystegia woodland, and thickets.
Genetic resources and breeding
Julbernardia magnistipulata is classified as vulnerable in the IUCN Red list of threatened species, due to its limited and declining area of occupancy. In the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest in eastern Kenya, for instance, the species only occurs in undisturbed parts and has completely disappeared from disturbed sites.
Julbernardia magnistipulata is a useful local source of fibre and timber, but in view of its limited distribution and declining occurrence, natural stands should be protected and unsustainable exploitation of the tree should be discouraged.
Major references
• Brenan, J.P.M., 1967. Leguminosae, subfamily Caesalpinioideae. In: Milne-Redhead, E. & Polhill, R.M. (Editors). Flora of Tropical East Africa. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. 230 pp.
• Chikamai, B.N., Githiomi, J.K., Gachathi, F.N. & Njenga, M.G., undated. Commercial timber resources of Kenya. Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), Nairobi, Kenya. 164 pp.
• Lovett, J. & Clarke, G.P., 1998. Julbernardia magnistipulata. In: IUCN. Red list of threatened species. Version 2010.1. [Internet] Accessed March 2010.
• Lovett, J.C., Ruffo, C.K. & Gereau, R.E., 2003. Field guide to the moist forest trees of Tanzania. [Internet] Centre for Ecology Law and Policy, Environment Department, University of York, York, United Kingdom. 192 pp. Documents/Final_LovettRuffoGereau_FieldGuide.pdf. Accessed April 2010.
• Pakia, M. & Cooke, J.A., 2003. The ethnobotany of the Midzichenda tribes of the coastal forest areas in Kenya: 1. General perspective and non-medicinal plant uses. South African Journal of Botany 69(3): 370–381.
Other references
• Beentje, H.J., 1994. Kenya trees, shrubs and lianas. National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya. 722 pp.
• Burgess, N.D., Clarke, G.P., 2000. Coastal forests of Eastern Africa. IUCN, Gland, Swizerland. 443 pp.
• Missouri Botanical Garden, undated. VAST (VAScular Tropicos) nomenclatural database. [Internet] W3T/Search/ vast.html. Accessed March 2010.
• Oyugi, J.O., Brown, J.S. & Whelan, C.J., 2008. Effects of human disturbance on composition and structure of Brachystegia woodland in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, Kenya. African Journal of Ecology 46(3): 374–383.
• M. Brink
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:
Brink, M., 2010. Julbernardia magnistipulata (Harms) Troupin. In: Brink, M. & Achigan-Dako, E.G. (Editors). Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes ΰ fibres. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.
Distribution Map wild