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Octolobus spectabilis Welw.

Trans. Linn. Soc. London 27: 18 (1869).
Sterculiaceae (APG: Malvaceae)
Octolobus angustatus Hutch. (1937).
Origin and geographic distribution
Octolobus spectabilis is distributed from Sierra Leone to DR Congo and Angola; also in Tanzania.
In Nigeria the stems of Octolobus spectabilis are made into spear shafts. The seeds are said to be edible. A maceration of the root bark is taken against sexual asthenia.
The wood of Octolobus spectabilis is yellowish white, with brownish necrosis in the centre. The texture is fine. The wood is heavy and rather hard.
Shrub or small tree up to 10(–15) m tall; bole up to 15 cm in diameter; branchlets densely stellate-hairy but glabrescent. Leaves alternate, simple and entire; stipules attenuate, 4–12 mm long, usually less than 1 mm wide; petiole up to 7 cm long, pubescent, rusty brown; blade obovate-elliptical to obovate-oblong, 6–24(–30) cm × 1.5–8(–11) cm, base cuneate to rounded, apex acuminate, papery, light brown, with (5–)7–11 pairs of lateral veins. Flowers solitary, male or bisexual, yellow, sessile, surrounded at base by an involucre of 7–20 ovate bracts; calyx 8-lobed, 1.5–3.5 cm long, with tube c. 1.5 cm long and oblong-lanceolate lobes 1–1.5 cm long, with crisp marginal fringes, hairy outside; corolla absent; male flowers with an androphore 5–7 mm long, carrying a whorl of numerous connate stamens c. 4 mm long; bisexual flowers with numerous carpels in 2–4 imbricate rows. Fruit consisting of 10–65 follicles; follicles almost globose, up to 5 cm × 3.5 cm, with stipe 0.5–1.5 cm long and pointed beak 2–5 mm long, scabrous, densely and shortly hairy, reddish brown, 2–7-seeded. Seeds compressed, plano-convex, diameter c. 15 mm, black, shiny, surrounded by mucilage. Seedling with epigeal germination.
Octolobus comprises 3–4 species. It is closely related to Cola , but differs in its 8-lobed calyx and numerous carpels. Octolobus spectabilis is highly variable.
In Ghana Octolobus spectabilis flowers in January–February; fruiting is in February.
In West Africa Octolobus spectabilis occurs in the undergrowth of forest, scattered but common in dry forest types. In Central Africa its habitats are dense humid semi-deciduous forest and gallery forest. In Tanzania Octolobus spectabilis is found in forest at round 1000 m altitude.
Genetic resources and breeding
In view of its wide distribution and common occurrence, e.g. in Nigeria, Octolobus spectabilis is not threatened by genetic erosion.
Little is known on the timber properties of Octolobus spectabilis, but its small size and bole diameter are serious limitations to its use.
Major references
• Aubréville, A., 1959. La flore forestière de la Côte d’Ivoire. Deuxième édition révisée. Tome deuxième. Publication No 9. Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Nogent-sur-Marne, France. 340 pp.
• Burkill, H.M., 2000. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 5, Families S–Z, Addenda. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 686 pp.
• Cheek, M. & Frimodt-Møller, C., 1998. The genus Octolobus (Sterculiaceae) new to East Africa. Kew Bulletin 53(3): 682.
• Germain, R. & Bamps, P., 1963. Sterculiaceae. In: Robyns, W., Staner, P., Demaret, F., Germain, R., Gilbert, G., Hauman, L., Homès, M., Jurion, F., Lebrun, J., Vanden Abeele, M. & Boutique, R. (Editors). Flore du Congo belge et du Ruanda-Urundi. Spermatophytes. Volume 10. Institut National pour l’Étude Agronomique du Congo belge, Brussels, Belgium. pp. 205–316.
• Irvine, F.R., 1961. Woody plants of Ghana, with special reference to their uses. Oxford University Press, London, United Kingdom. 868 pp.
Other references
• Hallé, N., 1961. Sterculiacées. Flore du Gabon. Volume 2. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. 150 pp.
• Keay, R.W.J., 1958. Sterculiaceae. In: Keay, R.W.J. (Editor). Flora of West Tropical Africa. Volume 1, part 2. 2nd Edition. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. pp. 310–332.
• Marshall, A.R., Fazey, I., Topp-Jorgensen, J.E. & Brink, H., 2001. Tree communities and diversity in New Dabaga/Ulangambi Forest Reserve. In: Frontier Tanzania, 2001. New Dabaga/Ulangambi Forest Reserve - botanical and forest use report. Report for the Udzungwa Mountains Forest Management and Biodiversity Conservation Project, MEMA, Iringa, Tanzania. pp. 25–38.
• Neuwinger, H.D., 2000. African traditional medicine: a dictionary of plant use and applications. Medpharm Scientific, Stuttgart, Germany. 589 pp.
• Normand, D., 1955. Atlas des bois de la Côte d’Ivoire. Tome 2. Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Nogent-sur-Marne, France. 132 pp.
• Wilkie, P., Clark, A., Pennington, R.T., Cheek, M., Bayer, C. & Wilcock, C.C., 2006. Phylogenetic relationships within the subfamily Sterculioideae (Malvaceae/ Sterculiaceae-Sterculieae) using the chloroplast gene ndhF. Systematic Botany 31(1): 160–170.
M. Brink
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
M. Brink
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
General editors
R.H.M.J. Lemmens
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
L.P.A. Oyen
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
J.R. Cobbinah
Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG), University P.O. Box 63, KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana

Correct citation of this article:
Brink, M., 2007. Octolobus spectabilis Welw. In: Louppe, D., Oteng-Amoako, A.A. & Brink, M. (Editors). Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.