Prota 7(2): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 2
Engl. & Prantl, Nat. Pflanzenfam. 3(5): 344 (1895).
Origin and geographic distribution
Lychnodiscus cerospermus is distributed in DR Congo, Sudan and western Uganda. In Tanzania a single specimen has been collected very close to the border with Uganda.
The wood of Lychnodiscus cerospermus is used in DR Congo for construction and to make mortars.
Slender, small to medium-sized tree up to 20 m tall; bark smooth, greyish white; twigs soft short-hairy. Leaves alternate, paripinnately compound with 6–7 pairs of leaflets; stipules absent; petiole up to 10 cm long, rachis grooved, up to 60 cm long; petiolules 3–6 mm long; leaflets opposite to alternate, oblong-elliptical to ovate-oblong, 11–15 cm × 3–5 cm, acuminate at apex, margins usually toothed, pinnately veined with 10–16(–22) pairs of lateral veins. Inflorescence an axillary or terminal panicle up to 45 cm long, brown hairy. Flowers unisexual, regular, 5-merous; pedicel 4–6 mm long; sepals c. 2.5 mm long, fused at base; petals free, funnel-shaped, 3–3.5 mm long, whitish, with a reflexed hairy scale just below the apex; stamens 10–13, filaments c. 4 mm long; ovary superior, 3-lobed and 3-celled, style undivided. Fruit a 3-lobed ellipsoid to ovoid capsule up to 2 cm long, hairy, red when ripe, dehiscent, (1–)3-seeded. Seeds 3-angled, up to 18 mm long, covered by a waxy, red aril.
Lychnodiscus comprises 7 species and is confined to tropical Africa. Lychnodiscus reticulatus Radlk. is a small tree up to 13 m tall, occurring from Guinea Bissau to Equatorial Guinea. Its wood is whitish and hard. Lychnodiscus multinervis Radlk. is a large shrub or small tree from DR Congo. Its wood is used for construction.
Lychnodiscus cerospermus is found in the understorey of primary forest and gallery forest at 1000–1500 altitude. The forests in which it grows are often inundated part of the year.
Baboons eat the foliage of Lychnodiscus cerospermus, but not fruits and seeds. They uproot seedlings for the edible root-bark, and this may hamper regeneration.
Genetic resources and breeding
Lychnodiscus cerospermus may easily become threatened as it has both a restricted range and a low population density.
Lychnodiscus cerospermus is of some importance only locally. Because of its small size, it is not likely to become more important as a timber tree.
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Correct citation of this article:
Bosch, C.H., 2011. Lychnodiscus cerospermus Radlk. In: Lemmens, R.H.M.J., Louppe, D. & Oteng-Amoako, A.A. (Editors). Prota 7(2): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 2. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.