Prota 7(2): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 2
Compt. Rend. Hebd. Séances Acad. Sci. 208: 374 (1939).
Caesalpiniaceae (Leguminosae - Caesalpinioideae)
Origin and geographic distribution
Tetrapterocarpon geayi is endemic to Madagascar, where it occurs in the south-western part of the island from the surroundings of Morondava to the extreme south.
The wood, locally known as ‘vaovy’, is used for poles in house construction, carpentry and cart construction. It has been recorded to be in demand for the junction of outriggers to pirogues and for wheel axes of carts. The wood is suitable for luxury mosaic parquet flooring, heavy furniture and sliced veneer. It is used for charcoal production.
In traditional medicine powdered root bark is applied to wounds and a decoction of the root bark is gargled to treat toothache.
The heartwood is orange-red; sapwood yellowish and narrow, 1.5–2 cm in diameter. The grain is slightly interlocked, texture fine. The wood is heavy and hard, with moderate shrinkage during drying.
Deciduous, dioecious small tree up to 12 m tall; bole up to 45 cm in diameter; bark surface smooth to shallowly fissured, grey, with whitish lenticels; twigs glabrous to short-hairy. Leaves alternate, bipinnately compound with (1–)2–3(–4) pairs of pinnae and with a terminal pinna; stipules small, caducous; petiole 3–5 cm long, rachis (3.5–)5–9(–10) cm long, slender; axes of pinnae 6–12 cm long; leaflets (8–)10–14(–16) per pinna, alternate to opposite, oblong-obovate, 1.5–3 cm × 0.5–1 cm, truncate to slightly notched at apex, glabrous, pinnately veined. Inflorescence an axillary panicle up to 10 cm long, minutely hairy, with densely flowered branches. Flowers unisexual, regular, 4-merous, small, greenish white; pedicel c. 2 mm long; sepals broadly ovate, c. 1 mm long, slightly hairy; petals free, broadly elliptical, c. 2.5 mm long, margins inrolled, glabrous, spreading; stamens free, equal, staminodes hairy, reflexed over the petal bases; ovary superior, spindle-shaped, c. 2 mm long, stiped, 1-celled, style short; male flowers with well-developed stamens and rudimentary ovary, female flowers with rudimentary stamens and well-developed ovary. Fruit a winged pod, broadly elliptical to circular in outline, 2.5–3.5 cm × 2–3.5 cm, with c. 0.5 cm long stipe and spindle-shaped central seed-containing part bearing 2 unequal pairs of papery wings, indehiscent, 1-seeded. Seed club-shaped, c. 1 cm long, smooth, dark brown to blackish.
Trees can be found flowering from November to January.
Tetrapterocarpon comprises 2 species. Relationships with Acrocarpus, Arcoa and Ceratonia have been suggested. Tetrapterocarpon septentrionalis Du Puy & R.Rabev. is a small to medium-sized tree up to 20 m tall with larger fruits than Tetrapterocarpon geayi; it mainly occurs in northern Madagascar, but with a population in south-central Madagascar.
Tetrapterocarpon geayi occurs in dry woodland and scrubland up to 300 m altitude, locally frequent. It has been recorded on limestone, sand and basalt soils.
Genetic resources and breeding
There is no reason to consider Tetrapterocarpon geayi as threatened, but in view of the local exploitation of its wood and bark and its probable low growth rates, monitoring of its populations is advisable.
Tetrapterocarpon geayi will probably remain of some local importance for its wood, but it has no prospects as a commercial timber.
• du Puy, D.J., Labat, J.N., Rabevohitra, R., Villiers, J.-F., Bosser, J. & Moat, J., 2002. The Leguminosae of Madagascar. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 750 pp.
• Guéneau, P., Bedel, J. & Thiel, J., 1970–1975. Bois et essences malgaches. Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Nogent-sur-Marne, France. 150 pp.
• Bedolla, A., 1997. Les trente deux essences recommendées pour la parquéterie à Madagascar. Département des Eaux et Forêts, Ecole Supérieure en Sciences Agronomiques, Université d’Antananarivo, Antananarivo, Madagascar. 126 pp.
• Debray, M., Jacquemin, H. & Razafindrambao, R., 1971. Contribution à l’inventaire des plantes médicinales de Madagascar. Travaux et Documents No 8. ORSTOM, Paris, France. 150 pp.
• du Puy, B. & Abraham, J.P., 1994. Inventaire biologique: forêt de Zombitse: les plantes. Recherche pour le Développement, série Sciences biologiques, numéro special: 15–29.
• Lewis, G., Schrire, B., MacKinder, B. & Lock, M., 2005. Legumes of the world. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 577 pp.
Correct citation of this article:
Lemmens, R.H.M.J., 2010. Tetrapterocarpon geayi Humbert. In: Lemmens, R.H.M.J., Louppe, D. & Oteng-Amoako, A.A. (Editors). Prota 7(2): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 2. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.