Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1
Oliv., Fl. trop. Afr. 2: 131 (1871).
Papilionaceae (Leguminosae - Papilionoideae, Fabaceae)
n = 14
Platysepalum vanhouttei De Wild. (1906).
Origin and geographic distribution
Platysepalum violaceum occurs from southern Nigeria east to DR Congo and south to northern Angola.
In DR Congo the wood is used to make traps for game. In Nigeria the flowers, parched and mixed with oil, are applied to sores.
The heartwood is dark and hard.
Shrub or small tree up to 15 m tall; bole up to 20 cm in diameter; bark smooth, reddish brown; crown spreading; twigs glabrous. Leaves alternate, imparipinnately compound with (2–)3–4 pairs of leaflets; stipules 3–4 mm long, pointed, caducous; petiole 4–6 cm long, rachis 4–11 cm long; leaflets with needle-shaped stipels 2–3 mm long and petiolules 3–4 mm long, obovate to elliptical, 9–13 cm × 2.5–4.5 cm, cuneate at base, long-acuminate at apex, margin often slightly indented, thinly leathery, glabrescent, pinnately veined with distinct lateral veins. Inflorescence a terminal or axillary panicle up to 30 cm long, densely hairy, many-flowered. Flowers bisexual, papilionaceous, with 2 bracteoles up to 1 cm long at base of calyx; pedicel 2–3 mm long; calyx 2-lipped with large hood-shaped upper lip up to 15 mm long and unequally 3-lobed lower lip up to 8 mm long; corolla pale purplish, with standard in bud covered by the upper lip of the calyx, wings and keel c. 15 mm long; stamens 10, 9 united and 1 free; ovary superior, linear, with short stipe, densely hairy, style curved, c. 6 mm long, glabrous. Fruit an ellipsoid or linear-oblong pod 9–11 cm × 2–2.5 cm, flattened, with thickened margins, silky hairy, 2–3-seeded. Seeds disk-shaped, c. 1.5 cm in diameter, black.
Platysepalum comprises about 8 species and is confined to tropical Africa.
Platysepalum violaceum occurs in primary and secondary forest, also in marshy localities.
Genetic resources and breeding
Platysepalum violaceum is widespread in Central Africa and probably not threatened by genetic erosion.
The boles of Platysepalum violaceum trees are too small to be of importance in commercial timber logging operations.
• Burkill, H.M., 1995. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 3, Families J–L. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 857 pp.
• Hauman, L., Cronquist, A., Léonard, J., Schubert, B., Duvigneaud, P. & Dewit, J., 1954. Papilionaceae (deuxième partie). 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 5. Institut National pour l’Étude Agronomique du Congo belge, Brussels, Belgium. 377 pp.
• Hepper, F.N., 1958. Papilionaceae. 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. 505–587.
Correct citation of this article:
Lemmens, R.H.M.J., 2007. Platysepalum violaceum Welw. ex Baker. In: Louppe, D., Oteng-Amoako, A.A. & Brink, M. (Editors). Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.