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Musanga cecropioides R.Br. ex Tedlie

Protologue
T.E.Bowdich, Miss. Ashantee: 372 (1819).
Family
Cecropiaceae (APG: Urticaceae)
Chromosome number
2n = 28
Synonyms
Musanga smithii R.Br. ex Benn. (1838).
Vernacular names
Umbrella tree, African corkwood (En). Parasolier, bois bouchon (Fr).
Origin and geographic distribution
Musanga cecropioides is widespread from Guinea east to eastern DR Congo and western Uganda, and south to southern DR Congo and northern Angola. It has been introduced in Madagascar.
Uses
The wood is used for light interior construction, partitions, doors, fences, roof rafters, stools, beds, musical instruments, toys, walking sticks, paddles, trays, baskets, and as a substitute of cork to make floats for fishing nets and rafts. It is suitable for sporting goods, boxes, crates, carvings, veneer, plywood, hardboard, particle board and wood-wool. The boles are traditionally hollowed out to make containers for palm wine and canoes, and the wood is used traditionally to produce thin split boards. The wood can be used as industrial insulation. It is suitable for paper production, and is used in Nigeria as fuel although it burns only for a short period.
Musanga cecropioides is an important medicinal plant. Several plant parts are used in traditional medicine. Bark decoctions are taken to treat cough, arterial hypertension, constipation, pain during childbirth and schizophrenia, and as antidiabetic and anthelmintic, and in combination with the barks of other trees to treat tuberculosis. Bark decoctions are applied in a bath to treat skin complaints and gargled to treat toothache, whereas bark is applied externally against stiffness and lumbago. Stem sap is administered against dysmenorrhoea and as galactagogue, and root sap against stomach spasms, diarrhoea, gonorrhoea, pulmonary complaints, trypanosomiasis, skin diseases, otitis, rheumatism, oedema and epilepsy, and to ease childbirth. The sheath-like stipules are applied as emmenagogue and oxytocic, and to treat stomach complaints, hiccough and wounds. An infusion of young leaves is taken to treat gonorrhoea and cough. In Cameroon leaves are used in the treatment of hypertension. A decoction of inflorescences is administered to ease childbirth.
The flesh of the compound fruit is edible. The wood ash is used as a vegetable salt and as a lye in soap making. The fibrous bark can be made into paper and rope. Bark shavings are added as intoxicant in the preparation of palm wine. The bark sap has been used as ink. Leaves have been used to polish ivory. As a pioneer, Musanga cecropioides is valuable in forest regeneration after felling. It produces good-quality humus that is favourable for the establishment of other tree species later in the succession. It has been used as shade tree in coffee plantations and is also planted as ornamental tree. The stilt roots and young branches provide drinking water in times of scarcity. The flowers provide nectar and/or pollen to honey bees. Edible caterpillars are collected from the leaves.
Production and international trade
The wood has some local importance, but is rarely traded on the international timber market.
Properties
The heartwood is white, sometimes with a pinkish tinge when freshly cut, turning to pale yellow or pale brown upon exposure, and not distinctly demarcated from the sapwood. The grain is straight, texture coarse. The wood is lightweight with a density of 190–370 kg/m³ at 12% moisture content, and soft. Air drying may result in checking and distortion; kiln drying is preferred. The rates of shrinkage are moderate, from green to oven dry 2.1–2.5% radial and 6.2–8.3% tangential. Once dry, the wood is moderately stable in service. At 12% moisture content, the modulus of rupture is 31–67 N/mm², modulus of elasticity 2550–6570 N/mm², compression parallel to grain 15–25 N/mm², shear 4–7 N/mm², cleavage 3.5–9.5 N/mm, Janka side hardness 735 N, Chalais-Meudon side hardness 0.3–1.5 and Janka end hardness 1470 N.
The wood saws well, but the use of saws with small teeth is recommended. It is difficult to plane and polish because of the coarse texture. It can be nailed without splitting but the nail-holding power is poor. The gluing properties are satisfactory. The wood is non-durable, being susceptible to attacks by fungi, pinhole borers and Lyctus borers, but some resistance to termites has been recorded.
The lignin content of the wood is quite low, 20–28%. The wood contains 46–55% cellulose and 12–17.5% pentosan. The solubility is 2.4–5.6% in alcohol-benzene, 1.0–2.6% in hot water and 15.3–17.1% in a 1% NaOH solution. The wood is suitable for paper production; the pulp has higher tensile index and burst index than that of Gmelina arborea Roxb. ex Sm., but the tearing strength is less. The kraft pulp yield is 53–57%.
The bark contains saponins, tannins and flavonoids. Bark extracts showed a dose-related hypotensive effect. Daily oral administration of bark extracts for 14 days significantly lowered fasting plasma glucose levels in a dose-dependent way in normal and diabetic rats. Tests showed that aqueous extracts of the bark are relatively safe toxicologically to rats when administered orally. Leaf extracts showed contractile effect on uterine smooth muscle as well as hypotensive activity in tests with rats, with saponins as the active compounds for the latter activity. Leaf extracts produced significant inhibition of the twitch and pendular movement of rat and rabbit smooth muscles, and reduced writhing induced by acetic acid in mice.
Description
Deciduous or evergreen, dioecious medium-sized tree up to 30 m tall; bole branchless for up to 15 m, straight and cylindrical, up to 120 cm in diameter, usually with well-developed stilt roots; bark surface with ring marks and corky outgrowths, pale grey, inner bark thin, fibrous, whitish to pinkish or greenish grey; crown flattened, with branches in whorls and often spreading in the form of a candelabra; twigs 1–1.5 cm thick, hairy. Leaves arranged spirally, peltate, radially incised with (9–)11–18 segments, up to 110 cm in diameter; stipules fused and completely embracing the stem, 7–30 cm long, hairy; petiole up to 110 cm long, broadened towards base and apex; leaf segments oblanceolate, 6–75 cm × 1.5–15 cm, cuneate at base, usually short-acuminate at apex, whitish short-hairy below, pinnately veined with many parallel lateral veins. Male inflorescence repeatedly branched, up to 15 cm in diameter, with many heads on the ultimate branches, peduncle up to 9 cm long; female inflorescence a club-shaped spike up to 5 cm long, peduncle up to 12 cm long. Flowers unisexual, sessile or with short pedicel; male flowers with 2-lobed perianth c. 1.5 mm long and 1 stamen; female flowers with tubular perianth c. 2 mm long and superior 1-celled ovary, style c. 0.5 mm long, stigma c. 0.5 mm long. Fruit drupe-like, with fleshy perianth, greenish white, 1-seeded, closely arranged and many together forming a compound fruit up to 12 cm long. Seed up to 1 mm long. Seedling with epigeal germination; hypocotyl 0.5–1 cm long, epicotyl 2–3 cm long, glabrous; cotyledons elliptical, c. 7 mm long, leafy; first leaves opposite to alternate, simple.
Other botanical information
Musanga comprises 2 species. Musanga leo-errerae Hauman & J.Léonard is a medium-sized tree up to 30 m tall, occurring in secondary mountain forest at 1000–2000 m altitude in eastern DR Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and western Uganda. It differs from Musanga cecropioides in lacking stilt roots or having short ones, leaf segments usually fewer and rough above, larger male flower heads in little-branched inflorescences, and smaller female spikes and compound fruits. Probably it has uses similar to Musanga cecropioides, although these have not been documented.
Anatomy
Wood-anatomical description (IAWA hardwood codes):
Growth rings: 2: growth ring boundaries indistinct or absent. Vessels: 5: wood diffuse-porous; 13: simple perforation plates; 22: intervessel pits alternate; 23: shape of alternate pits polygonal; 27: intervessel pits large ( 10 μm); 31: vessel-ray pits with much reduced borders to apparently simple: pits rounded or angular; 32: vessel-ray pits with much reduced borders to apparently simple: pits horizontal (scalariform, gash-like) to vertical (palisade); 43: mean tangential diameter of vessel lumina 200 μm; 46: 5 vessels per square millimetre; (47: 5–20 vessels per square millimetre); 56: tyloses common. Tracheids and fibres: 61: fibres with simple to minutely bordered pits; 66: non-septate fibres present; 68: fibres very thin-walled. Axial parenchyma: 78: axial parenchyma scanty paratracheal; 92: four (3–4) cells per parenchyma strand; 93: eight ('5–8) cells per parenchyma strand; 94: over eight cells per parenchyma strand. Rays: 97: ray width 1–3 cells; 98: larger rays commonly 4- to 10-seriate; (102: ray height > 1 mm); 106: body ray cells procumbent with one row of upright and/or square marginal cells; 114: 4 rays per mm; (115: 4–12 rays per mm). Mineral inclusions: 136: prismatic crystals present; 137: prismatic crystals in upright and/or square ray cells; 140: prismatic crystals in chambered upright and/or square ray cells; 142: prismatic crystals in chambered axial parenchyma cells.
(E. Ebanyenle, P.E. Gasson & E.A. Wheeler)
Growth and development
In the forest seedlings are often found on the boles and root-balls of fallen trees. Later they develop stilt roots and when the dead trees have decomposed, the young Musanga cecropioides trees are supported by their stilt roots. Musanga cecropioides is a strong light demander. It grows rapidly and may reach 5 m tall in 1 year and 24 m tall in 9 years. In tests in Gabon, planted trees reached an average height of 13 m and a bole diameter of 19 cm 6 years after planting. The trees are short-lived with an estimated life span of 15–20 years.
In many regions Musanga cecropioides has been reported to flower and fruit throughout the year. The fruits are eaten by pigeons, turacos, fruit bats, monkeys and elephants, which all may serve as seed dispersers. They are considered to be local ‘keystone resources’ for chimpanzees in times of food scarcity. In Cameroon the fruits have been recorded to be a major food source for drills.
Ecology
Musanga cecropioides is mainly found in disturbed areas in wetter forest, in regions with a mean annual temperature of 25–30°C and annual rainfall of 1300–2500(–5000) mm. It is often found around villages and along roads. It usually occurs below 800 m altitude, in DR Congo occasionally up to 1200 m. It prefers soils of medium texture.
Propagation and planting
In natural forest areas, Musanga cecropioides is a colonizer of forest clearings. In the forest soil, the fruit stones appear to be viable for years. Musanga cecropioides is one of the most characteristic species in the seed bank of forest soils in some areas. In young secondary forest in Côte d’Ivoire, an average density of 500 stones/m³ has been estimated. Natural regeneration can be abundant in burned forest. There are about 865,000 stones in 1 kg.
Artificial propagation by seed is not easy. Compound fruits can be mashed up in a bucket of water. The stones sink to the bottom and can be collected after pouring off the water. After subsequent drying, they can be stored for more than 12 months in sealed containers in a dry and cool place. Sowing is usually done directly on site by broadcasting. To have a fair germination rate, pre-treatment of stones is recommended. Under natural conditions this is done by passing through the digestive system of animals such as birds. In an experimental station in Côte d’Ivoire, a simple technique of pre-treatment has been developed. Stones are fermented during two weeks in the shade, after which the resulting paste is dried in the sun for two weeks, pounded and passed through a sieve to collect the stones, which are ready for sowing. After this treatment, the germination rate is 60–65% and 40–50% when the stones are stored for one year at room temperature. Another method developed in DR Congo consists of pounding fresh compound fruits, extracting the fibrous matter and mixing this with charcoal; stones start to germinate after 2 weeks. Optimum conditions for germination include a temperature of 24–28°C and saturated air humidity.
After the development of young seedlings, they should be thinned in plantations. Wildlings are sometimes also collected for planting. It has been recorded that Musanga cecropioides can be propagated by layering from stilt roots.
Management
In open, naturally regenerating forest, Musanga cecropioides can grow in dense populations. In young secondary forest in DR Congo, Musanga cecropioides may cover more than 50% of the soil surface. It can be problematic in okoume (Aucoumea klaineana Pierre) plantations in Gabon, especially when thinning young plantations, which may be followed by an invasion of the umbrella tree. In several areas it is poisoned by using arboricides. Trees can be managed by pollarding. They coppice readily.
At the end of the 1980s, it was reported from Cameroon that the neotropical Cecropia peltata L. had locally replaced Musanga cecropioides as a pioneer in a large area, after introduction at the beginning of the 20th century in Limbe Botanical Garden.
Harvesting
The lightweight wood of Musanga cecropioides, with a green density of less than 500 kg/m³, is easy to harvest and handle without heavy machinery.
Yield
In DR Congo a Musanga cecropioides bole of 15 m long and 104 cm in diameter above the stilt roots yielded 10.8 m³ of timber.
Handling after harvest
The freshly harvested boles float in water and can be transported by river. They should be removed from the forest immediately after harvesting, or treated with preservatives, because they are susceptible to attacks by fungi and insects.
Genetic resources
Musanga cecropioides, being a pioneer with wide distribution, is not liable to genetic erosion. There is no information on its genetic variability.
Prospects
Musanga cecropioides is a multipurpose tree that has prospects for use in agroforestry systems. Its rapid growth makes it suitable for wood pulp production; the pulp seems to have satisfactory properties for paper production. However, the invasive nature of Musanga cecropioides should be taken into consideration.
Major references
• Bolza, E. & Keating, W.G., 1972. African timbers: the properties, uses and characteristics of 700 species. Division of Building Research, CSIRO, Melbourne, Australia. 710 pp.
• Burkill, H.M., 1985. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 1, Families A–D. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 960 pp.
• CAB International, 2005. Forestry Compendium. Musanga cecropioides. [Internet] http://www.cabicompendium.org/ fc/report.asp?ccode=musace. Accessed April 2010.
• de Koning, J., 1983. La forêt de Banco. Part 2: La Flore. Mededelingen Landbouwhogeschool Wageningen 83–1. Wageningen, Netherlands. 921 pp.
• de Ruiter, G., 1976. Revision of the genera Myrianthus and Musanga (Moraceae). Bulletin du Jardin Botanique National de Belgique 46: 471–510.
• Katende, A.B., Birnie, A. & Tengnäs, B., 1995. Useful trees and shrubs for Uganda: identification, propagation and management for agricultural and pastoral communities. Technical Handbook 10. Regional Soil Conservation Unit, Nairobi, Kenya. 710 pp.
• Latham, P., 2004. Useful plants of Bas-Congo province, Democratic Republic of the Congo. DFID, London, United Kingdom. 320 pp.
• Orwa, C., Mutua, A., Kindt, R., Jamnadass, R. & Simons, A., 2009. Agroforestree database: a tree reference and selection guide. version 4.0. [Internet] World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Nairobi, Kenya. http://www.worldagroforestry.org/ resources/databases/ agroforestree. Accessed April 2010.
• Savill, P.S. & Fox, J.E.D., 1967. Trees of Sierra Leone. Forest Department, Freetown, Sierra Leone. 316 pp.
• Takahashi, A., 1978. Compilation of data on the mechanical properties of foreign woods (part 3) Africa. Shimane University, Matsue, Japan. 248 pp.
Other references
• Adeneye, A.A., Ajagbonna, O.P. & Ayodele, O.W., 2007. Hypoglycemic and antidiabetic activities of the stem bark aqueous and ethanol extracts of Musanga cecropioides in normal and alloxan induced diabetic rats. Fitoterapia 78: 502–505.
• Adeneye, A.A., Ajagbonna, O.P., Adeleke, T.I. & Bello, S.O., 2006. Preliminary toxicity and phytochemical studies of the stem bark aqueous extract of Musanga cecropioides in rats. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 105(3): 374–379.
• Ayinde, B.A., Omogbai, E.K.I. & Onwukaeme, D.N., 2004. Pharmacognostic characteristics and hypotensive effect of the stem bark of Musanga cecropioides R. Br. (Moraceae). West African Journal of Pharmacology and Drug Research 19: 37–41.
• Ayinde, B.A., Onwukaeme, D.N. & Nworgu, Z.A.M., 2006. Oxytocic effects of the water extract of Musanga cecropioides R. Brown (Moraceae) stem bark. African Journal of Biotechnology 5(14): 1350–1354.
• Aziba, P.I. & Gbile, Z.O., 2000. Pharmacological screening of the aqueous extract of Musanga cecropioides. Fitoterapia 71(2): 143–146.
• Berg, C.C., 1989. Cecropiaceae. In: Polhill, R.M. (Editor). Flora of Tropical East Africa. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, Netherlands. pp. 87–91.
• Berg, C.C., Hijman, M.E.E. & Weerdenburg, J.C.A., 1985. Moraceae (incl. Cecropiaceae). Flore du Cameroun. Volume 28. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. 298 pp.
• Doat, J., 1971. Le parasolier - Une bonne essence papetière africaine (1re partie). Bois et Forêts des Tropiques 137: 39–51.
• Doat, J., 1971. Le parasolier - Une bonne essence papetière africaine (2è partie). Bois et Forêts des Tropiques 138: 49–57.
• Dongmo, A.B., Kamanyi, A. & Bopelet, M., 1996. Saponins from the leaves of Musanga cecropioides (Cecropiaceae) constitute a possible source of potent hypotensive principles. Phytotherapy Research 10(1): 23–27.
• Dongmo, A.B., Kamanyi, A., Franck, U. & Wagner, H., 2002. Vasodilating properties of extracts from the leaves of Musanga cecropioides (R. Brown). Phytotherapy Research 16(S1): S6–S9.
• Hawthorne, W.D., 1995. Ecological profiles of Ghanaian forest trees. Tropical Forestry Papers 29. Oxford Forestry Institute, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, United Kingdom. 345 pp.
• Kamanyi, A., Bopelet, M. & Tatchum, T.R., 1992. Contractile effect of some extracts from the leaves of Musanga cecropioides (Cecropiaceae) on uterine smooth muscle of the rat. Phytotherapy Research 6(3): 165–167.
• Latham, P., 2005. Some honeybee plants of Bas-Congo Province, Democratic Republic of Congo. DFID, United Kingdom. 167 pp.
• Neuwinger, H.D., 2000. African traditional medicine: a dictionary of plant use and applications. Medpharm Scientific, Stuttgart, Germany. 589 pp.
• Raponda-Walker, A. & Sillans, R., 1961. Les plantes utiles du Gabon. Paul Lechevalier, Paris, France. 614 pp.
• Sekyere, D., 1997. Pulping characteristics of Gmelina arborea and Musanga cecropioides. Ghana Journal of Forestry 4: 63–68.
• Vivien, J. & Faure, J.J., 1985. Arbres des forêts denses d’Afrique Centrale. Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique, Paris, France. 565 pp.
• White, L. & Abernethy, K., 1997. A guide to the vegetation of the Lopé Reserve, Gabon. 2nd edition. Wildlife Conservation Society, New York, United States. 224 pp.
• Wilks, C. & Issembé, Y., 2000. Les arbres de la Guinée Equatoriale: Guide pratique d’identification: région continentale. Projet CUREF, Bata, Guinée Equatoriale. 546 pp.
Sources of illustration
• Berg, C.C., Hijman, M.E.E. & Weerdenburg, J.C.A., 1985. Moraceae (incl. Cecropiaceae). Flore du Cameroun. Volume 28. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. 298 pp.
• White, L. & Abernethy, K., 1997. A guide to the vegetation of the Lopé Reserve, Gabon. 2nd edition. Wildlife Conservation Society, New York, United States. 224 pp.
• Wilks, C. & Issembé, Y., 2000. Les arbres de la Guinée Equatoriale: Guide pratique d’identification: région continentale. Projet CUREF, Bata, Guinée Equatoriale. 546 pp.
Author(s)
G. Todou
Ecole Normale Supérieure, Université de Maroua, B.P. 55, Maroua, Cameroon
M.G. Meikeu Kamdem
Musée Ecologique du Millénaire, B.P. 8030, Yaoundé, Cameroun


Editors
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
Photo editor
G.H. Schmelzer
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article:
Todou, G. & Meikeu Kamdem, M.G., 2011. Musanga cecropioides R.Br. ex Tedlie. 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


1, base of bole; 2, tree crown; 3, stipule and male inflorescence; 4, leaf, stipule and female inflorescences.
Redrawn and adapted by Achmad Satiri Nurhaman



Musanga cecropioides


Musanga cecropioides


Musanga cecropioides


Musanga cecropioides


Musanga cecropioides


Musanga cecropioides


Musanga cecropioides


Musanga cecropioides


Musanga cecropioides


Musanga cecropioides


Musanga cecropioides


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Musanga cecropioides


wood in transverse section


wood in tangential section