Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1
Kew Bull. 55(4): 985 (2000).
Sterculiaceae (APG: Malvaceae)
Cistanthera holtzii Engl.(1907), Cistanthera parvifolia M.B.Moss ex Milne-Redh. (1937), Nesogordonia parvifolia (M.B.Moss ex Milne-Redh.) Capuron ex Wild (1961).
Muheru, mrunza (Sw).
Origin and geographic distribution
Nesogordonia holtzii occurs in the coastal lowland of Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique.
The wood is used for poles and sawn timber in house building, as fuelwood and in charcoal production.
The wood of Nesogordonia holtzii is moderately heavy, hard and tough. The heartwood is pale pink to brown, distinctly demarcated from the paler sapwood. The density is 810–900 kg/m³ at 12% moisture content. The grain is straight, texture fine. The wood surface is lustrous and greasy. The timber should be dried slowly to avoid case-hardening; there is some tendency to warp. Once dry, it is stable in service. It works well with machine and hand tools and planes to a smooth surface. The nailing and screwing properties are good, but pre-boring is recommended. Gluing does not cause problems. The wood turns well, takes a good polish and can be painted and varnished without difficulty. It is moderately suitable for veneer production. The wood is susceptible to pinhole borer, termite and marine borer attack. The heartwood is resistant to preservative treatment.
Small to medium-sized tree up to 30 m tall; bole usually straight and cylindrical, branchless for up to 20 m, slightly buttressed or fluted at base; bark smooth to rough or slightly flaking, whitish to grey or greyish brown; crown with spreading branches; young branchlets with stellate hairs. Leaves alternate, simple; stipules needle-shaped, c. 5 mm long, early caducous; petiole 0.5–4 cm long, hairy; blade ovate, 2.5–8 cm × 1–4 cm, base rounded, apex acuminate to acute, margin usually with blunt teeth, especially towards the apex, sparsely stellate-hairy, with domatia in vein axils. Inflorescence an axillary, compact, 1–2-flowered cyme; peduncle c. 1 cm long. Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous; pedicel 7–8 mm long, articulate; calyx lobes shortly united at base, narrowly lanceolate, c. 8 mm long, densely stellate-hairy outside; petals sword-shaped, c. 7 mm long, white or cream-coloured, glabrous; stamens 10, in 5 groups of 2; staminodes 5, linear, longer than the stamens; ovary superior, globose, minutely scaly, 5-celled, with 5 styles. Fruit an obconic capsule 2–2.5 cm long, 5-ridged, stellate-hairy, up to 10-seeded. Seeds ovoid, c. 6 mm long, with an ovate, thin wing 11–12 mm long.
Nesogordonia comprises 18 species, of which 14 are endemic to Madagascar, 1 to Mayotte and 3 occur in tropical mainland Africa. The three species in mainland Africa are closely related.
Nesogordonia holtzii grows in coastal evergreen forest, up to 500 m altitude, and is locally co-dominant.
Genetic resources and breeding
Although Nesogordonia holtzii occurs in only a narrow strip along the East African coast, it has not been recorded as vulnerable.
The wood is useful for local markets and deserves wider use in the local furniture industry because it is strong, and works, planes and polishes well. The conservation status of Nesogordonia holtzii deserves clarification.
• Beentje, H.J., 1994. Kenya trees, shrubs and lianas. National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya. 722 pp.
• 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.
• Wild, H., 1961. Sterculiaceae. In: Exell, A.W. & Wild, H. (Editors). Flora Zambesiaca. Volume 1, part 2. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. pp. 517–564.
• Barnett, L.C. & Dorr, L.J., 2000. Validation of Nesogordonia holtzii (Malvaceae: Dombeyoideae). Kew Bulletin 55(4): 985–988.
• Wild, H. & Gonçalves, M.L., 1979. Sterculiaceae. In: Mendes, E.J. (Editor). Flora de Moçambique. No 27. Junta de Investigações Científicas do Ultramar, Lisbon, Portugal. 57 pp.
Correct citation of this article:
Oyen, L.P.A., 2005. Nesogordonia holtzii (Engl.) Capuron ex L.C.Barnett & Dorr. In: Louppe, D., Oteng-Amoako, A.A. & Brink, M. (Editors). Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.