Prota 7(2): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 2
Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 41: 288 (1908).
Origin and geographic distribution
Monotes kerstingii occurs from Guinea and Mali east to Sudan.
The wood is used for poles and also as firewood and for charcoal production. Several plant parts are used in traditional medicine. Decoctions of bark and leafy twigs are taken to treat dysentery and diarrhoea, whereas a decoction of leafy twigs is also used to treat jaundice. Leaf and root decoctions are applied to abscesses and fractures.
The heartwood is brown to dark brown and distinctly demarcated from the pinkish brown sapwood. The grain is usually straight, texture fine. The wood is heavy, with a density of about 1050 kg/m³ at 12% moisture content, hard, and difficult to work.
Shrub or small to medium-sized tree up to 16 m tall; bole up to 60(–90) cm in diameter; bark surface smooth to slightly fissured or scaly with rectangular scales, grey, brown under the scales, inner bark brown to reddish brown; crown rounded, open; twigs greyish short-hairy, with reddish brown lenticels. Leaves alternate, simple and entire; stipules triangular, c. 4.5 mm long, caducous; petiole 1–3 cm long, hairy; blade ovate to elliptical-oblong, 6–15 cm × 3.5–8 cm, rounded to slightly cordate at base, usually rounded at apex, leathery, glabrous to slightly hairy above, densely greyish short-hairy below, with a gland at base of midrib above, pinnately veined with 12–16 pairs of lateral veins. Inflorescence an axillary or terminal, short panicle up to 6 cm long, densely short-hairy, many-flowered. Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous; pedicel short; sepals slightly fused at base, broadly ovate, 3–3.5 mm long, short-hairy, accrescent to wings in fruit; petals free, contorted, lanceolate, 10–12 mm long, partially hairy at both surfaces, yellowish green to greenish white; stamens numerous, free, 5–10 mm long; ovary superior, ovoid, c. 2.5 mm long, hairy, 3-celled, style 2.5–3.5 mm long, stigmas 3. Fruit an ovoid to globose nut 8–18 mm × 10–13 mm, indehiscent, 1-seeded, surrounded by 5 elliptical to narrowly obovate wings 2.5–5.5 cm long derived from the sepals. Seed ovoid, c. 5.5 mm long, brown.
Monotes kerstingii usually flowers in the rainy season, from June to October. The flowers are pollinated by insects such as bees. The fruits persist for a long time on the tree. Monotes kerstingii is associated with ectomycorrhizae and arbuscular mycorrhizae.
Monotes comprises about 25 species and occurs in mainland tropical Africa and Madagascar (one endemic species). Monotes africanus A.DC. is a shrub or small tree up to 9(–15) m tall occurring in Brachystegia woodland from DR Congo to Tanzania, Zambia, Angola and Mozambique. The wood is used for poles and tool handles, and as firewood. The flowers provide nectar and pollen for honey bees.
Monotes wood is used in Angola for construction, but the identity of the species is uncertain; it may be Monotes caloneurus Gilg. The wood of Monotes elegans Gilg, a small tree up to 15 m tall with bole up to 50 cm in diameter occurring in DR Congo, Tanzania, Zambia and Angola, is locally used for building houses and for railway sleepers.
Monotes engleri Gilg is a shrub or small tree up to 7(–10) m tall occurring in mixed woodland in Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and southern Mozambique. Its wood is used for poles to support roofs and for floors of granaries, and to produce charcoal. In Zimbabwe leaves are applied to treat leprosy and bark infusions or decoctions are administered to wounds and rash. Extracts of Monotes engleri showed antifungal activity against Candida albicans. Several prenylated flavanones have been isolated from the leaves; these displayed cytotoxic activity against several human cancer cell lines.
The reddish brown wood of Monotes glaber Sprague, a small tree up to 10 m tall occurring in open woodland in Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, is used for poles of huts and is suitable for furniture although pieces are often small and the wood is difficult to work. In Zimbabwe root decoctions or infusions are used to treat haematuria and loss of blood during pregnancy, and as aphrodisiac. Roots are chewed to treat toothache and pulverized roots are taken against male infertility, whereas pulverized bark is taken to treat cardiac pain. Extracts of Monotes glaber displayed significant dose-dependent mutagenicity in Salmonella typhimurium strains.
Monotes kerstingii occurs in wooded savanna and dry, open forest. It is found on reddish, well-drained soils. It is fire tolerant. Monotes kerstingii is often found together with Isoberlinia doka Craib & Stapf and Uapaca togoensis Pax.
Genetic resources and breeding
Monotes kerstingii is not threatened. It is locally common and apparently not much exploited. In Cameroon it has been recorded that woodland dominated by Afzelia africana Sm. ex Pers. is invaded by the more fire-tolerant Monotes kerstingii.
The small size and poor shape of the bole make Monotes kerstingii and other Monotes spp. less interesting for commercial timber exploitation. They will continue to be used locally for construction because of the fair durability of the wood.
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Correct citation of this article:
Lemmens, R.H.M.J., 2010. Monotes kerstingii Gilg. 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.
1, flowering twig; 2, fruiting twig.
Source: Flore analytique du Bénin