Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes à fibres
Bull. Jard. Bot. Etat 34: 422 (1964).
Caesalpiniaceae (Leguminosae - Caesalpinioideae)
Oxystigma stapfiana A.Chev. (1911), Kaoue stapfiana (A.Chev.) Pellegr. (1933).
Red pine (En).
Origin and geographic distribution
Stachyothyrsus stapfiana occurs in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire.
The large leaves are used for thatching. The wood is occasionally used as timber.
The heartwood is yellow to brown and distinctly demarcated from the pink-grey or whitish sapwood. The grain is mostly straight, texture medium. The wood is fairly heavy, with a density of about 750 kg/m³ at 12% moisture content. At 12% moisture content, the modulus of rupture is about 98 N/mm², modulus of elasticity 16,400 N/mm², compression parallel to grain 59 N/mm², Janka side hardness 7650 N, and Janka end hardness 9070 N. The wood is easy to work, finishes smoothly and polishes well, but it is liable to decay and attacks by termites and other insects. Furthermore, logs of useful sizes are not common, because the tree usually has a poor bole shape.
Evergreen, small to fairly large tree up to 30 m tall; bole branchless for up to 16 m, up to 60 cm in diameter, with sharp root ridges and sometimes aerial roots; outer bark fairly smooth, grey or brown, finely lenticellate, inner bark fibrous, brown, somewhat sticky; crown rounded, small, dense; branches usually with 1–4 small, black, hard excrescences just above the leaf axils. Leaves alternate, paripinnately compound with (2–)3–4(–5) pairs of leaflets, glabrous; petiole 0.5–1 cm long, thick, rugose, jointed; rachis 4–20 cm long; petiolules c. 5 mm long, rugose; leaflets opposite, narrowly elliptical to oblong, (4.5–)10–30 cm × (1.5–)3–11 cm, leaflets larger to the top of the leaf, rounded to cuneate at the base, acute, obtuse or acuminate at the apex, leathery, glossy green above, paler beneath, venation reticulate, prominent, 5–10 pairs of lateral veins. Inflorescence an axillary or terminal panicle or spike-like raceme 4–16 cm long, densely hairy, accrescent, lignifying after flowering; bracts triangular, c. 1.5 mm long, persistent. Flowers bisexual, small, white, glabrous, fragrant; pedicel c. 1 mm long; sepals 5, largely connate, white, tube bell-shaped and c. 1.5 mm long, lobes rounded and c. 0.7 mm long; petals 5, narrowly obovate, c. 5 mm × 2 mm, apex rounded, tapering towards the base, recurved at anthesis, white; stamens 10, unequal, 5 long ones between the petals, c. 10 mm long, alternating with 5 shorter ones in front of the petals, c. 5 mm long; ovary superior, style c. 2 mm long. Fruit a slightly sickle-shaped pod up to 18 cm × 4.5 cm, flat, long-attenuate at the base, apiculate, woody, brown, smooth, 1–2-seeded. Seeds irregularly shaped, c. 3 cm × 1.5–2 cm, dark brown to black. Seedling with epigeal germination, glabrous; hypocotyl c. 1 cm long, epicotyl c. 12 cm long, with a few scales; cotyledons transversely oblong, c. 1 cm × 2 cm; first 2 leaves with 2 leaflets.
Stachyothyrsus comprises 2 or 3 species distributed in West and Central Africa.
Stachyothyrsus stapfiana grows rapidly. Trees in the understory and secondary forest usually have a poor stem form, angular, knotty and branched. The leaves of saplings and coppice shoots are much larger than those of normal trees, with leaflets up to 50 cm × 15 cm. In Liberia flowering is in March–April and fruiting in July–November, whereas in Côte d’Ivoire flowering is in July and fruiting in December–January. The plant regenerates commonly in moist places.
Stachyothyrsus stapfiana occurs in swampy locations in evergreen forest, moist semi-deciduous forest and secondary forest. It is common and locally dominant.
The tree coppices very well, and in Liberia a kind of coppice forest is locally maintained solely for the production of large leaves for thatching.
Genetic resources and breeding
Stachyothyrsus stapfiana has a limited distribution area, but it is locally common and there are no indications that it is under threat of genetic erosion.
Stachyothyrsus stapfiana is a useful local source of thatching material, but its importance is unlikely to increase. The value of the wood is limited, because it is liable to termite attack, and the tree usually has a poor bole shape. As growth is fast and the tree coppices well, Stachyothyrsus stapfiana may have some potential as a source of fuelwood.
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• 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.
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Correct citation of this article:
Brink, M., 2010. Stachyothyrsus stapfiana (A.Chev.) J.Léonard & Voorh. In: Brink, M. & Achigan-Dako, E.G. (Editors). Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes à fibres. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.