Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1
Kew Bull. 14: 301 (1960).
Sideroxylon aylmeri M.B.Scott (1915).
Origin and geographic distribution
Neolemonniera clitandrifolia is distributed from Sierra Leone to Ghana, and in Nigeria (Calabar).
The wood is recorded as being used for construction, planks and canoes, but the extent of its actual usage is unclear. The fruits are sometimes eaten. Oil from the seed is used for frying food and as hair oil.
The heartwood is reddish or purplish brown, the sapwood pinkish. The grain is fairly straight; texture medium. The wood is heavy (density 900–1000 kg/m³ at 12% moisture content), tough and very hard. It requires care in seasoning. The wood is rather difficult to work, but it finishes smoothly. It is very durable.
Although the fruit pulp is edible, the presence of latex in the fruits makes them very sticky. The taste of the seed oil is said to be similar to that of coconut oil.
Medium-sized to fairly large tree up to 35 m tall; bole up to 90 cm in diameter, with buttresses up to 3 m high and often extending into lateral roots; outer bark brownish grey to dark brown, smooth or scaly, with scattered brown lenticels, inner bark reddish, exuding white latex; crown dome-shaped. Leaves arranged spirally, clustered at the ends of branchlets, simple and entire; stipules short, sharp; petiole 1–3 cm long; blade lanceolate-elliptical, 7–15(–35) cm × 2.5–5(–10) cm, cuneate at base, acuminate at apex, leathery, glabrous, finely striate, pinnately veined with c. 10 pairs of indistinct lateral veins. Flowers in fascicles in leaf axils, bisexual, regular, 5-merous, c. 5 mm long; pedicel 1.5–3 cm long; sepals free, ovate; corolla with short tube and 5 lobes divided to near the base into 3 segments, white, hairy; stamens opposite each corolla lobe, alternating with large, hairy staminodes; ovary superior, hairy, 5-celled. Fruit a pendulous capsule 7–8 cm in diameter, dehiscent, 1-seeded. Seed slightly obliquely ellipsoid, c. 3.5 cm × 1.5 cm, brown, shiny, with a scar over almost the full length.
In Sierra Leone Neolemonniera clitandrifolia flowers in April and May, in Côte d’Ivoire in March. The seeds are reportedly dispersed over short distances by the explosively opening fruits.
Neolemonniera comprises 5 species found in West and Central Africa.
Neolemonniera clitandrifolia is rare and occurs scattered in dense humid forest, sometimes in small groups in hilltop forest, mainly on rocky slopes.
Genetic resources and breeding
Neolemonniera clitandrifolia is classified as endangered in the IUCN Red list of threatened species. Much of its habitat has been lost to agriculture, mining and logging, and a rapid decline in population numbers has been observed.
The wood of Neolemonniera clitandrifolia is hard and durable but, in view of its rapidly declining numbers, usage should be discouraged or prohibited. Particular attention should be given to planting Neolemonniera clitandrifolia in arboreta and botanical gardens.
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• Normand, D., 1960. Atlas des bois de la Côte d’Ivoire. Tome 3. Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Nogent-sur-Marne, France. 182 pp.
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Correct citation of this article:
Brink, M., 2007. Neolemonniera clitandrifolia (A.Chev.) Heine. In: Louppe, D., Oteng-Amoako, A.A. & Brink, M. (Editors). Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.
various parts of the tree
obtained from The Virtual Field Herbarium