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Rhodognaphalon brevicuspe (Sprague) Roberty

Protologue
Bull. Inst. Franç. Afrique Noire, ser. A, 15: 1404 (1953).
Family
Bombacaceae (APG: Malvaceae)
Chromosome number
2n = 144
Synonyms
Bombax brevicuspe Sprague (1909), Bombax chevalieri Pellegr. (1921).
Vernacular names
Kondroti (Fr).
Origin and geographic distribution
Rhodognaphalon brevicuspe is distributed from Sierra Leone eastward to Gabon, Congo and DR Congo, possibly also in Guinea.
Uses
The wood (trade names: alone, kondroti) is used for the production of veneer, plywood, interior joinery, packaging material, pallets, boxes, crates, panelling, trim, light furniture and decorative boards. Traditionally, canoes are dug out from the bole in Liberia, and smaller branches are hollowed out to produce quivers in Ghana. The wood is also suitable for light construction, light flooring, musical instruments, matches, carvings, toys, novelties, turnery, hardboard and particle board. It is suitable for pulping.
Floss from the fruit is used for stuffing pillows, cushions and mattresses, and for making sacks. It has been suggested as a source of pulp for paper making. The bark is used for making hut walls. A fast, red-brown dye is extracted from the bark by boiling and used for dyeing cloth. A black dye obtained from the root is locally used for making funeral cloth in Ghana.
In traditional medicine the powdered root is applied to swellings and dislocations. A paste of the root powder mixed with water is taken to treat rheumatism and dysentery. The root is recorded to be used as an antitumour agent in Guinea. A bark decoction is gargled to treat sore throat, and used to promote wound healing. The bark is also used for treatment of boils and venereal diseases, as an emetic, and to prevent abortion.
Production and international trade
Gabon exported 3260 m³ of Rhodognaphalon brevicuspe timber in 2000, 280 m³ in 2001, 50 m³ in 2002, 790 m³ in 2003, 1370 m³ in 2004 and 270 m³ in 2005. In 2003 about 3000 m³ was exported from Congo, at a price of US$ 107/m³, and in 2005 about 1000 m³ at a price of US$ 403/m³. In 2006 Congo exported 16 m³ of logs, 35 m³ of rotary veneer, and 1800 m³ of plywood. Cameroon produced 70 m³ of this timber in 2000.
Properties
The heartwood is pinkish to red when freshly cut, turning violaceous brown to brown ochre with darker veins upon drying; it is distinctly demarcated from the white and up to 10 cm wide sapwood, which turns pale brown on exposure. The grain is usually straight, texture coarse.
The wood is medium-weight, with a density of 440–640 kg/m³ at 12% moisture content. The rates of shrinkage from green to oven dry are 4.3–4.7% radial and 4.4–9.0% tangential. The dry wood is stable in service, but the wood absorbs moisture readily, becoming very heavy, and its use in humid conditions is not recommended.
At 12% moisture content, the modulus of rupture is 54–94 N/mm², modulus of elasticity 7100–8800 N/mm², compression parallel to grain 32–45 N/mm², cleavage 7–16 N/mm, Janka side hardness 4540 N, Janka end hardness 5250 N and Chalais-Meudon side hardness 1.2–1.8. The wood is moderately brittle.
The wood saws and works easily when sharp-edged tools are used, although it is occasionally fibrous. It nails and screws well, but holding properties are poor. It does not polish well, but turning and moulding properties are good, and it paints and varnishes satisfactorily. Peeling characteristics are moderate to good. The wood glues well. It may cause dermatitis in workers when it comes into contact with the skin.
The durability is low to moderate; the wood is liable to attacks by fungi, borers and termites. Both heartwood and sapwood are liable to attack by Lyctus borers. Both are permeable to impregnation with preservatives.
The wood contains cellulose 43%, pentosans 16%, lignin 32% and ash 1.3%. The solubility in hot water is 2.4%, in alcohol-benzene 2.3% and in 1% NaOH 18.1%.
Description
Large, deciduous tree up to 45(–50) m tall; bole straight, cylindrical, branchless for up to 27(–30) m, up to 120(–200) cm in diameter, with buttresses up to 1.5 m high and 10–20 cm thick; bark surface greyish brown, smooth on young trees, rough on older trees, inner bark pink to bright red turning brown on exposure, very fibrous, easily detached from the wood; crown rounded and lax; buds and young branches hairy. Leaves alternate, digitately compound, with 5–7 leaflets, the central one largest; stipules linear or triangular, c. 8 mm long, densely hairy outside, deciduous; petiole 2–8 cm long, densely hairy; leaflets sessile, obovate, 3–14 cm × 1–4 (–5) cm, base cuneate, apex short-acuminate with obtuse or notched acumen, margin entire, leathery, dark green above, paler green below, glabrescent, pinnately veined with 8–15 pairs of lateral veins. Inflorescence an axillary 2–3-flowered fascicle or flowers solitary. Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous, fragrant; pedicel 5–10 mm long, hairy; calyx campanulate, 6–11 mm long, stellate hairy outside, densely to sparsely hairy inside, persistent after flowering; petals free, oblanceolate, elliptical or oblong, contorted, 3.5–6 cm × c. 1 cm, white or pinkish red, hairy outside, glabrous inside; stamens numerous, c. 4 cm long, fused to the petals at their base, filaments grouped in bundles, pink to red; ovary superior, 5-celled, glabrous, style as long as petals. Fruit an obovoid to oblong capsule 5–8(–10) cm × 3–4 cm, dehiscent with 5 valves, narrowed at base, apex pointed, glabrous outside, 4–5-seeded. Seeds pear-shaped, 8–13 mm × 6–8 mm, glabrous, brown, embedded in abundant yellowish or reddish brown floss. Seedling with epigeal germination; hypocotyl 4–7 cm long.
Other botanical information
Rhodognaphalon comprises 3 species, all in tropical Africa. It was formerly included in Bombax, but it is now considered a separate genus, differing from Bombax in being unarmed, and having larger seeds, only 1 whorl of stamens and persistent calyx.
Anatomy
Wood-anatomical description (IAWA hardwood codes):
Growth rings: 2: growth ring boundaries indistinct or absent. Vessels: 5: wood diffuse-porous; 13: simple perforation plates; 22: intervessel pits alternate; 23: shape of alternate pits polygonal; 26: intervessel pits medium (7–10 μm); 27: intervessel pits large ( 10 μm); 31: vessel-ray pits with much reduced borders to apparently simple: pits rounded or angular; 43: mean tangential diameter of vessel lumina 200 μm; 46: 5 vessels per square millimetre; (47: 5–20 vessels per square millimetre); 56: tyloses common. Tracheids and fibres: 61: fibres with simple to minutely bordered pits; 66: non-septate fibres present; 69: fibres thin- to thick-walled. Axial parenchyma: 77: axial parenchyma diffuse-in-aggregates; 79: axial parenchyma vasicentric; 86: axial parenchyma in narrow bands or lines up to three cells wide; 92: four (3–4) cells per parenchyma strand; 93: eight (5–8) cells per parenchyma strand; (94: over eight cells per parenchyma strand). Rays: 97: ray width 1–3 cells; (102: ray height > 1 mm); 104: all ray cells procumbent; 106: body ray cells procumbent with one row of upright and/or square marginal cells; 115: 4–12 rays per mm. Storied structure: (119: low rays storied, high rays non-storied); 120: axial parenchyma and/or vessel elements storied. Mineral inclusions: 136: prismatic crystals present; 141: prismatic crystals in non-chambered axial parenchyma cells.
(P. Mugabi, A.A. Oteng-Amoako & P. Baas)
Growth and development
Initial growth of Rhodognaphalon brevicuspe is very slow. The mean height of nursery-grown plants in Guinea was 13 cm at 3.5 months after sowing, 20 cm after 10 months and 80 cm after 2 years. After planting out in the field, the growth was 20 cm/year during the first 2 years. In southern Côte d’Ivoire the average annual diameter increment was 2.4 mm in natural evergreen forest and 4.3 mm in thinned forest. In Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Cameroon flowering is usually in November, and fruiting in February–March. Flowers develop in the dry season, often when the tree is leafless. The seeds are dispersed by wind together with the floss. Rhodognaphalon brevicuspe is characterized as a light-demanding pioneer, but regeneration is rarely abundant.
Ecology
Rhodognaphalon brevicuspe occurs scattered in primary as well as secondary forest, but is most common in secondary evergreen forest.
Propagation and planting
The 1000-seed weight is about 100 g. Germination normally starts after 5–8 days, with 60–80% germination. It is recommended that nursery-grown seedlings not be planted out until they are at least 1 year old.
Management
In south-western Cameroon Rhodognaphalon brevicuspe trees with a diameter over 60 cm were found at a mean density of only 0.02 trees/ha, with an average standing bole volume of 0.14 m³ per ha. In western Gabon the estimated standing volume in the 1960s was 0.17 m³ per ha.
Diseases and pests
Rhodognaphalon brevicuspe is a host tree of Cacao Swollen Shoot Virus (CSSV) which causes swollen shoot disease in cocoa, a disease that has had a devastating effect on cocoa production in Ghana and neighbouring countries. The virus causes chlorosis of the leaves in Rhodognaphalon brevicuspe.
Harvesting
In Côte d’Ivoire the minimum cutting diameter is 60 cm, in Ghana 70 cm.
Yield
It has been estimated that trees with a bole diameter of 60 cm, 70 cm and 100 cm yield 4.3 m³, 5.8 m³ and 11.9 m³ of wood, respectively.
Handling after harvest
After felling, rapid extraction from the forest or treatment with preservatives is necessary to prevent deterioration of the wood by fungi and insects.
Genetic resources
Rhodognaphalon brevicuspe has a wide distribution, but is nowhere abundant. It is classified as vulnerable in the IUCN Red list, as its occurrence is decreasing and it is overexploited.
Prospects
The wood of Rhodognaphalon brevicuspe has low strength and is not durable, but the species has local importance as a multipurpose tree and commercial importance as a source of plywood. Given its slow growth it is unlikely to gain importance as a plantation species. In view of its vulnerable conservation status, natural stands should only be allowed to be exploited in a sustainable way.
Major references
• Beentje, H. & Smith, S., 2001. FTEA and after. Systematics and Geography of Plants 71(2): 265–290.
• Bolza, E. & Keating, W.G., 1972. African timbers: the properties, uses and characteristics of 700 species. Division of Building Research, CSIRO, Melbourne, Australia. 710 pp.
• Burkill, H.M., 1985. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 1, Families A–D. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 960 pp.
• CIRAD Forestry Department, 2003. Kondroti. [Internet] Tropix 5.0. http://tropix.cirad.fr/ afr/kondroti.pdf. Accessed January 2008.
• Gérard, J., Edi Kouassi, A., Daigremont, C., Détienne, P., Fouquet, D. & Vernay, M., 1998. Synthèse sur les caractéristiques technologiques des principaux bois commerciaux africains. Document Forafri 11. Cirad, Montpellier, France. 185 pp.
• Takahashi, A., 1978. Compilation of data on the mechanical properties of foreign woods (part 3) Africa. Shimane University, Matsue, Japan, 248 pp.
• Thirakul, S., 1983. Manuel de dendrologie. Centre National de Développement des Forêts (CENADEFOR), Yaoundé, Cameroun. 640 pp.
• Villiers, J.-F., 1973. Bombacaceae. Flore du Gabon. Volume 22. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. pp. 31–54.
• Vivien, J. & Faure, J.J., 1985. Arbres des forêts denses d’Afrique Centrale. Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique, Paris, France. 565 pp.
• Voorhoeve, A.G., 1979. Liberian high forest trees. A systematic botanical study of the 75 most important or frequent high forest trees, with reference to numerous related species. Agricultural Research Reports 652, 2nd Impression. Centre for Agricultural Publishing and Documentation, Wageningen, Netherlands. 416 pp.
Other references
• Adu-Gyamfi, F., 2006. Phytochemical screening for secondary metabolites in the roots of Bombax brevicuspe (kuntunkuni). BSc thesis, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Physical Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana. 37 pp.
• ATIBT (Association Technique Internationale des Bois Tropicaux), 1986. Tropical timber atlas: Part 1 – Africa. ATIBT, Paris, France. 208 pp.
• ATIBT (Association Technique Internationale des Bois Tropicaux), 2005. Statistics. ATIBT Newsletter 22: 26–47.
• ATIBT (Association Technique Internationale des Bois Tropicaux), 2007. Statistiques. La lettre de l’ATIBT 26: 38–52.
• Beentje, H.J., 1989. Bombacaceae. In: Polhill, R.M. (Editor). Flora of Tropical East Africa. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, Netherlands. 9 pp.
• CTFT (Centre Technique Forestier Tropical), 1961. Résultats des observations et des essais effectués au Centre Technique Forestier Tropical sur l’Alone, Bombax chevalieri Pellegr. Information technique No 106. Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Nogent-sur-Marne, France. 5 pp.
• de la Mensbruge, G., 1966. La germination et les plantules des essences arborées de la forêt dense humide de la Côte d’Ivoire. Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Nogent-sur-Marne, France. 389 pp.
• de Saint-Aubin, G., 1963. La forêt du Gabon. Publication No 21 du Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Nogent-sur-Marne, France. 208 pp.
• Durrieu de Madron, L., Favrichon, V., Dupuy, B., Bar-Hen, A. & Maître, H.-F., 1998. Croissance et productivité en forêt dense humide: bilan des expérimentations dans le dispositif d’Irobo, Côte d’Ivoire (1978–1990). Document Forafri 2. Cirad, Montpellier, France. 69 pp.
• Gassita, J.N., Nze Ekekang, L., De Vecchy, H., Louis, A.M., Koudogbo, B. & Ekomié, R. (Editors), 1982. Les plantes médicinales du Gabon. CENAREST, IPHAMETRA, mission ethnobotanique de l’ACCT au Gabon, 10–31 juillet 1982. 26 pp.
• Graham, J.G., Quinn, M.L., Fabricant, D.S. & Farnsworth, N.R., 2000. Plants used against cancer – an extension of the work of Jonathan Hartwell. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 73(3): 347–377.
• Hawthorne, W.D., 1995. Ecological profiles of Ghanaian forest trees. Tropical Forestry Papers 29. Oxford Forestry Institute, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, United Kingdom. 345 pp.
• Hawthorne, W., 1998. Rhodognaphalon breviscupe. In: IUCN. 2007 IUCN Red list of threatened species. [Internet] http://www.iucnredlist.org. Accessed January 2008.
• ICTV (International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses), undated. The Universal Virus Database, ICTVdB. [Internet] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ICTVdb/ICTVdB/. Accessed January 2008.
• InsideWood, undated. [Internet] http://insidewood.lib.ncsu.edu/search/. Accessed May 2007.
• ITTO, 2006. Annual review and assessment of the world timber situation 2005. International Timber Trade Organisation, Yokohama, Japan. 214 pp.
• Kryn, J.M. & Fobes, E.W., 1959. The woods of Liberia. Report 2159. USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, Madison, Wisconsin, United States. 147 pp.
• Neuwinger, H.D., 2000. African traditional medicine: a dictionary of plant use and applications. Medpharm Scientific, Stuttgart, Germany. 589 pp.
• Raponda-Walker, A. & Sillans, R., 1961. Les plantes utiles du Gabon. Paul Lechevalier, Paris, France. 614 pp.
• Villiers, J.-F., 1975. Bombacaceae. Flore du Cameroun. Volume 19. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. pp. 71–98.
• Wilks, C. & Issembé, Y., 2000. Les arbres de la Guinée Equatoriale: Guide pratique d’identification: région continentale. Projet CUREF, Bata, Guinée Equatoriale. 546 pp.
Sources of illustration
• Villiers, J.-F., 1973. Bombacaceae. Flore du Gabon. Volume 22. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. pp. 31–54.
• Voorhoeve, A.G., 1979. Liberian high forest trees. A systematic botanical study of the 75 most important or frequent high forest trees, with reference to numerous related species. Agricultural Research Reports 652, 2nd Impression. Centre for Agricultural Publishing and Documentation, Wageningen, Netherlands. 416 pp.
• Wilks, C. & Issembé, Y., 2000. Les arbres de la Guinée Equatoriale: Guide pratique d’identification: région continentale. Projet CUREF, Bata, Guinée Equatoriale. 546 pp.
Author(s)
V.A. Kémeuzé
Millennium Ecologic Museum, BP 8038, Yaoundé, Cameroon


Editors
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
M. Brink
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
General editors
R.H.M.J. Lemmens
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
L.P.A. Oyen
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
J.R. Cobbinah
Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG), University P.O. Box 63, KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana
Photo editor
G.H. Schmelzer
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article:
Kémeuzé, V.A., 2008. Rhodognaphalon brevicuspe (Sprague) Roberty. In: Louppe, D., Oteng-Amoako, A.A. & Brink, M. (Editors). Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.
Distribution Map wild


1, base of bole; 2, leafy twig; 3, flowering branch; 4, fruit; 5, seed with floss.
Redrawn and adapted by Achmad Satiri Nurhaman



base of bole


bark


slash


opened fruit with seeds and floss


wood in transverse section


wood in tangential section


wood in radial section