PROTA homepage Prota 7(2): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 2
Record display

Molinaea tolambitou (Cambess.) Radlk.

Sitz.-Ber. Bayer. Akad. 9: 662 (1879).
Origin and geographic distribution
Molinaea tolambitou is endemic to eastern Madagascar.
The primary use of Molinaea tolambitou timber is for boat building.
Monoecious shrub or small to medium-sized tree up to 20 m tall. Leaves alternate, paripinnately compound with (1–)2–4 pairs of leaflets; stipules absent; petiole c. 3 cm long; petiolules short; leaflets opposite or nearly so, elliptical, up to 14 cm × 5 cm, rounded to acuminate at apex, margins entire, pinnately veined. Inflorescence an axillary, slender panicle up to 16 cm long, branches angular, with lenticels. Flowers unisexual, regular, 5–6 mm in diameter; sepals 5, free; petals 5, free, slightly smaller than sepals; stamens usually 8, free, hairy; ovary superior, 3-celled, style short; male flowers with rudimentary ovary, female flowers with reduced stamens. Fruit a 3-lobed, dehiscent, slightly winged capsule up to 3.5 cm in diameter, tapering at base, up to 3-seeded. Seeds surrounded at base by a solid, waxy, whitish yellow to red aril.
Molinaea comprises 9 species, 6 of which are endemic to Madagascar and 3 endemic to the Mascarene islands. Molinaea brevipes Radlk., Molinaea petiolaris Radlk. and Molinaea sessilifolia Capuron are all restricted to Madagascar and their timber is also used for boat building.
Molinaea arborea J.F.Gmel. (synonym: Molinaea alternifolia Willd.) and Molinaea laevis Willd. (synonym: Cupania laevis (Willd.) Pers.) are both distributed in Mauritius, but the former is found in Réunion as well. Molinaea arborea is a small tree up to 15 m tall. Its wood is considered excellent for construction; it is known in Réunion under the French names ‘tan Georges’, ‘bois de gaulettes blanc’ and ‘bois de gaulettes bâtard’, and in Mauritius as ‘bois de gaulettes’ and ‘bois de sagaie blanc’. Molinaea laevis occurs in drier areas and is a shrub. Its wood is occasionally used. The leaves of both species are made into a decoction that is drunk to cure chronic diarrhoea and gargled to treat throat infections.
The genera Neotina and Tina closely resemble Molinaea; they are difficult to distinguish unless in fruit, and have the same vernacular names and probably also uses.
Molinaea tolambitou is found in humid evergreen and sub-humid deciduous forest, from sea-level up to 1000 m altitude.
Genetic resources and breeding
There are no reports that Molinaea tolambitou is under threat, but monitoring its populations will be meaningful in view of the reduction of natural forest areas in eastern Madagascar.
Molinaea tolambitou will remain of local importance only as a timber tree. Very little is known about this species and other Molinaea spp.
Major references
• Capuron, R., 1969. Révision des Sapindacées de Madagascar et des Comores. Mémoires du Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Nouvelle série, Série B, Botanique 19: 1–189.
• InsideWood, undated. [Internet] Accessed May 2010.
• Guéneau, P., 1971. Bois de Madagascar. Possibilités d’emploi. Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Antananarivo, Madagascar. 75 pp.
Other references
• Adsersen, A. & Adsersen, H., 1997. Plants from Réunion Island with alleged antihypertensive and diuretic effects - an experimental and ethnobotanical evaluation. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 58: 189–206.
• Buerki, S., Forest, F., Acevedo-Rodriguez, P., Callmander, M.W., Nylander, J.A.A., Harrington, M., Sanmartin, I., Kupfer, P. & Alvarez, N., 2009. Plastid and nuclear DNA markers reveal intricate relationships at subfamilial and tribal levels in the soapberry family (Sapindaceae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 51(2): 238–258.
• de Cordemoy, E.J., 1895. Flore de l’île de la Réunion (Phanérogames, Cryptogames vasculaires, Muscinées), avec l’indication des propriétés économiques et industrielles des plantes. Paul Klincksieck, Paris, France. 574 pp.
• Friedmann, F., 1997. Sapindacées. In: Bosser, J., Cadet, T., Guého, J. & Marais, W. (Editors). Flore des Mascareignes. Familles 69–79. The Sugar Industry Research Institute, Mauritius, l’Institut Français de Recherche Scientifique pour le Développement en Coopération (ORSTOM), Paris, France & Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 23 pp.
• Gurib-Fakim, A. & Brendler, T., 2004. Medicinal and aromatic plants of Indian Ocean Islands: Madagascar, Comoros, Seychelles and Mascarenes. Medpharm, Stuttgart, Germany. 568 pp.
• Gurib-Fakim, A., Guého, J. & Bissoondoyal, M.D., 1997. Plantes médicinales de Maurice, tome 3. Editions de l’Océan Indien, Rose-Hill, Mauritius. 471 pp.
• Schatz, G.E., 2001. Generic tree flora of Madagascar. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 477 pp.
• Styger, E., Rakotoarimanana, J.E.M., Rabevohitra, R. & Fernandes, E.C.M., 1999. Indigenous fruit trees of Madagascar: potential components of agroforestry systems to improve human nutrition and restore biological diversity. Agroforestry Systems 46(3): 289–310.
• Vary, L.B., Lance, S.L., Hagen, C., Tsyusko, O., Glenn, T.C., Sakai, A.K. & Weller, S.G., 2009. Characterization of microsatellite loci from the Malagasy endemic, Tina striata Radlk. (Sapindaceae). Conservation Genetics 10: 1113–1115.
C.H. Bosch
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

R.H.M.J. Lemmens
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
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
Associate editors
E.A. Obeng
Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG), University P.O. Box 63, KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana

Correct citation of this article:
Bosch, C.H., 2011. Molinaea tolambitou (Cambess.) 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.
Distribution Map wild