Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes à fibres
Bull. Jard. Bot. Etat 26(2): 197 (1956).
Origin and geographic distribution
The distribution of Placodiscus splendidus is restricted to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire.
In Sierra Leone the leaf petioles and rachis are bundled together to serve as a broom.
Small tree up to 10 m tall, unbranched or little branched with the leaves clustered at the top; bark grey-brown, longitudinally grooved. Leaves alternate, paripinnately compound with (6–)8–12 pairs of subopposite leaflets; petiole 9–18 cm long; rachis 25–50 cm long; petiolules 3–6 mm long; leaflets elongate-oblong to oblong-lanceolate, 5–23 cm × 1.5–5 cm, cuneate at base, acuminate at apex, underside with small glandular and non-glandular hairs, pinnately veined with 11–15 pairs of lateral veins. Inflorescence a raceme up to 15 cm long, hairy. Flowers sessile or subsessile, functionally unisexual; calyx 5-merous with tube about as long as lobes, c. 4 mm in diameter, pinkish brown; petals absent; stamens 8, free; ovary superior, 3-lobed and 3-celled; male flowers with rudimentary ovary, female flowers with reduced stamens. Fruit an ovate capsule c. 3 cm long and wide, indehiscent, hard, yellow when ripe, short-hairy when young, later glabrescent, 3-lobed but only 1–2 lobes developed.
Placodiscus splendidus flowers in August–September, and fruiting is in October.
Placodiscus comprises about 20 species, distributed from Guinea Bissau eastward to Tanzania.
Placodiscus splendidus occurs in the understorey of forest and secondary vegetation.
Genetic resources and breeding
As the distribution of Placodiscus splendidus is rather restricted, loss of habitat may be a serious threat but very little has been published on the species.
Unless new insights arise, Placodiscus splendidus will remain of localized interest only.
• 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.
• Hall, J.B., 1980. New and little-known species of Placodiscus (Sapindaceae) in West Africa. Adansonia séries 2, 20(3): 287–295.
• Keay, R.W.J., 1958. Sapindaceae. 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. 709–725.
• Fouilloy, R. & Hallé, N., 1973. Sapindacées. Flore du Cameroun. Volume 16. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. 202 pp.
• Hawthorne, W. & Jongkind, C., 2006. Woody plants of western African forests: a guide to the forest trees, shrubs and lianes from Senegal to Ghana. Kew Publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom. 1023 pp.
• Keay, R.W.J., 1956. New taxa and combinations for the ‘Flora of West Tropical Africa": II. (Sapindaceae, Anacardiaceae). Bulletin du Jardin botanique de l’Etat (Bruxelles) 26(2) : 193–209.
Correct citation of this article:
Bosch, C.H., 2011. Placodiscus splendidus Keay. In: Brink, M. & Achigan-Dako, E.G. (Editors). Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes à fibres. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.