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Oubanguia africana Baill.

Protologue
Bull. Mens. Soc. Linn. Paris 2: 869 (1890).
Family
Scytopetalaceae (APG: Lecythidaceae)
Synonyms
Oubanguia denticulata Tiegh. (1905), Oubanguia laurentii Baill. (1908).
Origin and geographic distribution
Oubanguia africana is found in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo and DR Congo.
Uses
The wood of Oubanguia africana is used in Gabon to make packing cases. In DR Congo the bark is powdered and taken orally to cure backache and haemorrhoids.
Properties
The wood of Oubanguia africana is greyish pink, heavy, and similar to that of the commercially more important timber tree Scytopetalum tieghemii (A.Chev.) Hutch. & Dalziel.
Botany
Small to medium-sized tree up to 20 m tall; bole often short, up to 50(–80) cm in diameter; bark surface longitudinally fissured, pinkish, inner bark fibrous, reddish; crown small; twigs angular. Leaves alternate, crowded towards the ends of twigs, simple; stipules very small, caducous; petiole 1–3 mm long; blade ovate to lanceolate, sometimes elliptical, 8–16 cm × 3.5–6.5 cm, base cuneate and asymmetrical, apex long-acuminate, margin entire to finely toothed, leathery, glabrous, pinnately veined with 6–8 pairs of lateral veins. Inflorescence an axillary or terminal panicle up to 15 cm long. Flowers bisexual, regular; pedicel 5–6(–8) mm long; calyx saucer-shaped to cup-shaped, 3–4 mm in diameter, margin entire or incised; petals 6–8, 6–8 mm long, recurved, white; stamens numerous, c. 5 mm long; ovary superior, globular, 3–4(–5)-celled, style slender, c. 5 mm long, stigma small. Fruit a globose to obovoid capsule, 1.5–2 cm × 1–1.5 cm, violet, usually 1-seeded. Seed oblong, 9–11 mm × 6–7 mm.
Oubanguia comprises 3 species. Oubanguia laurifolia (Pierre) Tiegh. is a rare species restricted to south-eastern Nigeria, Cameroon and Gabon. It is a small tree up to 15 m tall with a bole diameter up to 60 cm. In Cameroon the wood is used to make oars.
Oubanguia alata Baker f. is also found in south-eastern Nigeria, Cameroon and Gabon, but nowhere further from the coast than 100 km. It is a small to medium-sized tree up to 20 m tall with a low-branching bole up to 50 cm in diameter. The wood is probably used for similar purposes at the other Oubanguia spp. Fruits are produced in abundance in some years and the seeds are often eaten by children. The seeds are hard, low in oil content and they taste like coconut but have a bitter aftertaste.
Ecology
Oubanguia africana is found in swamp forest and periodically inundated forest, and along rivers.
Genetic resources and breeding
Oubanguia africana is fairly widespread and occurs locally abundantly, although in general considered to be rather uncommon. At present, there is no reason to consider this species as threatened.
Prospects
Oubanguia africana and other Oubanguia spp. will probably remain of interest for local use only.
Major references
• Ilumbe Bayeli, G., 2006. Inventaires multi- ressources préliminaires dans la zone à gestion communautaire de Bobangi, landscape 7, Province de l’Equateur. Innovative Resources Management: Rapport du Volet Ethnobotanique. Kinshasa, DR Congo. 46 pp + Annex 2–3.
• Letouzey, R., 1978. Scytopetalaceae. Flore du Cameroun. Volume 20. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. pp. 139–193.
• Raponda-Walker, A. & Sillans, R., 1961. Les plantes utiles du Gabon. Paul Lechevalier, Paris, France. 614 pp.
Other references
• Breteler, F.J., 2002. Scytopetalaceae are stipulate. Kew Bulletin 57(3): 759–761.
• Breteler, F.J., 2005. Novitates Gabonenses 55. Manuscript names and drawings of the French botanist Louis Pierre (1833-1905): a discussion about their validity with some examples of nomenclatural consequences for the Gabonese flora in particular. Adansonia, séries 3, 27(2): 325–335.
• Germain, R., 1963. Scytopetalaceae. 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. 320–331.
• Lebrun, J.P. & Stork, A.L., 2003. Tropical flowering plants; ecology and distribution. Volume 1: Annonaceae-Balanitaceae. Editions des Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la ville de Genève, Switzerland. 797 pp.
• Moyersoen, B., Alexander, I.J. & Fitter, A.H., 1998. Phosphorus nutrition of ectomycorrhizal and arbuscular mycorrhizal tree seedlings from a lowland tropical rain forest in Korup National Park, Cameroon. Journal of Tropical Ecology 14: 47–61.
• Normand, D. & Paquis, J., 1976. Manuel d’identification des bois commerciaux. Tome 2. Afrique guinéo-congolaise. Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Nogent-sur-Marne, France. 335 pp.
• Thomas, D.W., Thomas-Mc Cauley, J., Bromley, W.A. & Mbenkum, F.T., 1989. Korup ethnobotany survey. World Wildlife Fund, Godalming, United Kingdom. 108 + 35 pp.
• Vivien, J. & Faure, J.J., 1985. Arbres des forêts denses d’Afrique Centrale. Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique, Paris, France. 565 pp.
• Vivien, J. & Faure, J.J., 1996. Fruitiers sauvages d’Afrique: espèces du Cameroun. Ministère Français de la Coopération, Paris, France & CTA, Wageningen, Netherlands. 416 pp.
Author(s)
C.H. Bosch
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands


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

Correct citation of this article:
Bosch, C.H., 2011. Oubanguia africana Baill. 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