Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1
Novon 6(1): 54, fig. 1 (1996).
Papilionaceae (Leguminosae - Papilionoideae, Fabaceae)
Origin and geographic distribution
Ormocarpopsis itremoensis is only known from the Itremo Massif, a small region in central Madagascar.
The hard wood is used for house construction, carts and tool handles.
Deciduous shrub up to 3 m tall; stems with numerous robust lateral short shoots. Leaves alternate, pinnately compound with 5–13 leaflets; stipules narrowly triangular, 4–5 mm long, persistent and closely spaced on short shoots; petiole and rachis grooved above, pubescent; leaflets alternate, oblong-elliptical, 9–11 mm × 5 mm, with a small mucro at apex, thinly leathery, glabrous above, shortly hairy below. Flowers clustered at the ends of short shoots, bisexual, papilionaceous; pedicel short, elongating up to 1.5 cm in fruit; calyx c. 5 mm long, with 5 slightly unequal lobes; corolla yellow, with erect, rounded standard c. 1 cm long, oblong wings, keel as long as wings; stamens 10, fused into 2 groups of 5; ovary superior, long-stalked, glandular hairy, 1-celled, style slender, curved. Fruit an oblong-ellipsoid pod 2–5 cm long, with stipe up to 1 cm long, straw-coloured, reticulately veined, indehiscent, (1–)2–4-seeded. Seeds ellipsoid, 1–2 cm long, pale brown.
Ormocarpopsis comprises 6 species and is endemic to Madagascar. It is related to Ormocarpum, which differs in its segmented pods, and Peltiera, which differs in its 1-seeded, dehiscent pods.
Ormocarpopsis itremoensis grows slowly, with growth almost restricted to the slow extension of the short shoots which produce flowers and leaves at their tips. Flowering is in September when the plant is leafless.
Ormocarpopsis itremoensis occurs in dry woodland on thin soil above marble rocks at 1300–1400 m altitude.
Genetic resources and breeding
Ormocarpopsis itremoensis is restricted to a small area, which is under heavy pressure because of mining for marble and forest degradation. It is classified as critically endangered in the IUCN Red list of threatened species.
Protection of this rare and slow-growing species is urgently needed, and harvesting of its timber should be stopped immediately to save it from extinction.
• du Puy, D.J., Labat, J.N., Rabevohitra, R., Villiers, J.-F., Bosser, J. & Moat, J., 2002. The Leguminosae of Madagascar. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 750 pp.
• du Puy, D. & Labat, H., 1998. Ormocarpopsis itremoensis. In: IUCN. 2006 Red list of threatened species. [Internet] http://www.iucnredlist.org. Accessed September 2006.
• Labat, J.N. & du Puy, D.J., 1996. Two new species of Ormocarpopsis R. Viguier and a new combination in Ormocarpum P. Beauvois (Leguminosae - Papilionoideae) from Madagascar. Novon 6(1): 54–58.
• Schatz, G.E., 2001. Generic tree flora of Madagascar. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 477 pp.
Correct citation of this article:
Lemmens, R.H.M.J., 2007. Ormocarpopsis itremoensis Du Puy & Labat. In: Louppe, D., Oteng-Amoako, A.A. & Brink, M. (Editors). Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.