Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1
Grandid., Hist. phys. Madagascar 34(4), Atlas 2, fasc. 34: t. 251 (1893).
Origin and geographic distribution
Quivisianthe papinae is endemic to western and southern Madagascar.
The wood is used for heavy construction, e.g. for poles of houses and bridges, and for heavy carpentry, flooring, cabinet work, and indoor and outdoor joinery.
The heartwood is pale brown, with a purplish tinge when fresh, and distinctly demarcated from the pinkish, c. 5 cm wide sapwood. The grain is straight or sometimes interlocked, texture coarse. The wood is heavy with a density of about 925 kg/m³ at 12% moisture content. Shrinkage during drying is high, from green to oven dry 5.5% radial and 9.5% tangential. Once dry, the wood is somewhat unstable in service. At 12% moisture content, the modulus of rupture is 180 N/mm², modulus of elasticity 21,200 N/mm² and compression parallel to grain 76 N/mm². The wood is very hard, but not particularly difficult to work with stellite-tipped sawteeth and tungsten-carbide-tipped cutting tools. Splitting is common during nailing and screwing, and pre-boring is recommended. The wood is durable, also withstands fungal attacks, and is suitable for use in contact with the ground or water.
A coumarin derivative has been isolated from the wood; the bark contains several oxygen-heterocyclic compounds that have not yet been identified. The seeds are rich in mexicanolide type limonoids and contain 2 triterpenoids. Its chemical composition confirms the isolated position of Quivisianthe papinae in the Meliaceae.
Deciduous, dioecious, small to medium-sized tree up to 20(–30) m tall; bole up to 50 cm in diameter. Leaves alternate, paripinnately compound with 5–8 pairs of leaflets; stipules absent; leaflets opposite, elliptical, cuneate at base, obtuse to rounded at apex, entire, pinnately veined. Inflorescence a short axillary panicle, short-hairy. Flowers unisexual, male and female flowers very similar in appearance, regular, 5-merous, small; calyx cup-shaped, lobed to the middle; petals free; stamens completely fused into a hairy tube, anthers inserted along the margin; ovary superior, pyramidal, hairy, usually 3-celled, style ending in obscurely 3-lobed stigma; male flowers with rudimentary ovary, female flowers with non-dehiscing anthers. Fruit a large pyramidal to nearly globose capsule, dehiscing usually with 3 woody valves, up to 6-seeded. Seeds flattened, with a large wing at apex.
Flowering and fruiting are irregular. In western Madagascar ripe fruits are mainly available in November.
Quivisianthe comprises a single species. In phylogeny reconstruction based on plastid DNA sequences, it clustered into the subfamily Melioideae close to Ekebergia. An unnamed second Quivisianthe species with the vernacular name ‘saniramboanjo’ has been reported from eastern Madagascar, but it is unclear whether it truly belongs in this genus.
The wood of Astrotrichilia, an endemic genus of Madagascar with about 12 species, is often known under the same vernacular names as that of Quivisianthe papinae, e.g. ‘hompy’. It is lighter in weight, moderately hard and not durable, but permeable to preservatives. It is locally used for joinery. However, Astrotrichilia is quite distinct from Quivisianthe with its stellate hairs and drupe-like fruit.
Quivisianthe papinae occurs in dry deciduous forest, often along watercourses. It prefers deeper soils and does not grow well in rocky locations.
Quivisianthe papinae usually occurs in scattered groups in the forest. Seedlings tolerate some shade. However, for proper development and good growth of the seedlings, some thinning or opening of the forest canopy is needed. Fruits should be collected from the tree and the seeds sown immediately after collection for good germination.
Genetic resources and breeding
Quivisianthe papinae has been recorded to be locally common in Madagascar, especially in forests near Morondava. However, little natural vegetation is left in this region, and Quivisianthe papinae may already be subject to considerable genetic erosion. In southern Madagascar it is also locally common, but grazing livestock and increasing rates of exploitation constitute serious threats.
Quivisianthe papinae is an important source of timber for local construction in western and southern Madagascar. An inventory of remaining populations of Quivisianthe papinae is needed before it can be determined to what extent exploitation of this species will remain justified in the future. Virtually nothing is known about growth rates in response to ecological conditions and very little on natural regeneration. A preliminary study indicated that Quivisianthe papinae may be suitable for enrichment planting.
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Correct citation of this article:
Lemmens, R.H.M.J., 2008. Quivisianthe papinae Baill. In: Louppe, D., Oteng-Amoako, A.A. & Brink, M. (Editors). Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.