Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois duvre 1
Trans. Linn. Soc. London, Bot. 4: 25 (1894).
Tabernaemontana johnstonii (Stapf) Pichon (1948).
Wild magnolia, soccerball fruit (En). Mwambe (Sw).
Origin and geographic distribution
Tabernaemontana stapfiana occurs from eastern DR Congo to eastern Kenya, and south to Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
In eastern DR Congo the wood is used for construction of local houses, combs, spoons and handles for knives and swords. It is also used as firewood. The bark, seeds and roots are used against high blood pressure. The latex is applied to wounds. In Kenya a leaf decoction is used as an appetizer and to treat colic, and in DR Congo and Burundi as a galactagogue and in strong doses as an abortifacient. The latex is used as birdlime. Tabernaemontana stapfiana is planted as an ornamental, and as a shade tree and bee plant.
The wood is soft and white to yellow or pale brown.
About a dozen indole alkaloids have been isolated from the bark and stems of Tabernaemontana stapfiana. These include perivine, tubotaiwine and ibogamine, and several pharmacologically active derivatives.
Small to medium-sized tree up to 25(35) m tall, glabrous; bole up to 90 cm in diameter; bark rough, pale to dark grey-brown; crown widely spreading. Leaves opposite, simple and entire; ocrea conspicuous, usually widened into stipules in axils of petioles; petiole 530 mm long; blade narrowly elliptical, 1240 cm Χ 314 cm, base cuneate, often decurrent into the petiole, apex acuminate to rounded, pinnately veined with 1224 pairs of lateral veins. Inflorescence a rather lax corymb 1028 cm long, few- to many-flowered; peduncle 315 cm long, rather robust. Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous, sweet-scented; pedicel 530 mm long; sepals almost free, orbicular to oblong, 57 mm long, thick and fleshy; corolla tube almost cylindrical, 2142 mm long, twisted, pale green often with pale yellow throat, widened around the anthers, inside hairy, lobes obliquely elliptical, 1760 mm Χ 835 mm, undulate, spreading, apex rounded, white; stamens inserted about halfway the corolla tube, included, anthers sessile; ovary superior, almost cylindrical, consisting of 2 separate carpels connate at base, style cylindrical, 510 mm long, pistil head composed of a basal ring, 5 almost orbicular lobes and a stigmoid apical part. Fruit consisting of 2 separate subglobose follicles up to 20 cm in diameter, dark green with paler dots, indehiscent, several- to many-seeded. Seeds obliquely ellipsoid, 1.52 cm long, grooved, covered by minute warts, dark brown, aril whitish.
Tabernaemontana comprises about 110 species and is pantropical. About 18 species occur in mainland Africa and 15 in Madagascar.
Tabernaemontana penduliflora K.Schum. is a shrub or small tree up to 8(12) m tall, occurring from Nigeria to DR Congo. In DR Congo the trunk is used for house posts, and the wood is also used for small blackboards as it is so soft that letters written on it can be easily erased; the wood serves as firewood. The latex is used as birdlime and in traditional medicine to treat colds and wounds. In Cameroon the roots are used to treat malaria. In the Central African Republic fruit juice is applied to wounds, and the bark is made into rough rope.
The main flowering period of Tabernaemontana stapfiana is December to February.
Tabernaemontana stapfiana occurs in forest at 7002500 m altitude. It is commonly found in secondary forest and on river banks.
In forest in Kenya, more than 5 Tabernaemontana stapfiana stems of over 20 cm diameter can be found locally per ha.
Genetic resources and breeding
Tabernaemontana stapfiana is not threatened by genetic erosion because it is common even in disturbed forest.
Tabernaemontana stapfiana deserves more attention as a multipurpose tree, being useful not only for its timber but also in traditional medicine and as an ornamental.
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Correct citation of this article:
Lemmens, R.H.M.J., 2006. Tabernaemontana stapfiana Britten. In: Louppe, D., Oteng-Amoako, A.A. & Brink, M. (Editors). Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois duvre 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.
obtained from Zimbabweflora
obtained from Zimbabweflora