Prota 7(2): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 2
Bull. Jard. Bot. Etat 25(2): 203 (1955).
Caesalpiniaceae (Leguminosae - Caesalpinioideae)
Macrolobium diphyllum Harms (1901).
Faux copalier (Fr).
Origin and geographic distribution
Pellegriniodendron diphyllum occurs in Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
In Ghana the wood is used for door frames and in Gabon for joinery. It is suitable for cabinet work.
The heartwood is brown to reddish brown, often marbled. The texture is moderately fine. The wood is quite heavy and hard.
Small to medium-sized tree up to 25 m tall; bole often low branching, up to at least 30 cm in diameter, often with adventitious shoots at base; bark surface smooth, finely fissured, with lenticels, greyish brown, inner bark fibrous, reddish; crown rounded, with drooping branches. Leaves alternate, paripinnately compound with 1 pair of leaflets; stipules triangular, c. 3 mm long; petiole 3–5 mm long; petiolules 2–3 mm long, with short stipels at base; leaflets elliptical to oblong or obovate, 10–24 cm × 3–10 cm, asymmetrical at base, short-acuminate at apex with acumen often contorted or rolled up, leathery, glabrous, with some glands near margins, pinnately veined with c. 10 pairs of lateral veins. Inflorescence a terminal, drooping panicle up to 10 cm long, with raceme-like, densely flowered side branches 2–3 cm long, with conspicuous scars of fallen flowers and bracts, usually glabrous. Flowers bisexual, zygomorphic, with 2 pinkish bracteoles up to 1 cm long at base; pedicel 6–8 mm long; sepals 5, lanceolate, 3–4.5 mm long, slightly fused at base; petals 5, free, unequal, upper one up to 1.5 cm long, 2-lobed, whitish, other ones resembling the sepals; stamens 3, free, 1–2 cm long, reddish, with a collar of small rudimentary stamens at base; ovary superior, oblong, hairy at margins, 1-celled, style c. 1.5 cm long. Fruit an elliptical to obovoid, flattened pod c. 10 cm × 4 cm, pointed at apex, smooth, glabrous, reddish brown, dehiscing with 2 spiralling thinly woody valves, 1–3-seeded. Seeds rectangular to elliptical, flattened, up to 3 cm × 2 cm, glossy brown, seed coat thin. Seedling with epigeal germination; hypocotyl 1.5–4 cm long, epicotyl 3.5–7 cm long; cotyledons thick and fleshy, rectangular-elliptical, 2–2.5 cm long; first 2 leaves strongly reduced to opposite scales, subsequent leaves alternate, with 1 pair of leaflets.
Young leaves are often bright pink. In West Africa Pellegriniodendron diphyllum flowers in September–December and fruits mature about 5 months after flowering. The presence of ectomycorrhizae has been recorded.
Pellegriniodendron comprises a single species and seems to be related to Gilbertiodendron.
Pellegriniodendron diphyllum usually occurs in the understorey of lowland rainforest, often on humid localities along streams and in moist gullies.
Natural regeneration is often abundant, and the seedlings are shade tolerant. Germination starts 1.5–4 weeks after sowing, with a germination rate of 70–80%. Mature trees are often found in small, dense groups.
Genetic resources and breeding
Pellegriniodendron diphyllum is not threatened because it is fairly widespread and locally common with abundant regeneration. However, in Ghana it has been rated as a gold star species, meaning that there is some inescapable responsibility for maintaining this species because it has a very restricted distribution in Ghana.
Pellegriniodendron diphyllum will remain of little importance as a timber tree because the logs are usually too small and too poorly shaped.
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Correct citation of this article:
Lemmens, R.H.M.J., 2010. Pellegriniodendron diphyllum (Harms) J.Léonard. 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.