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Trichocladus ellipticus Eckl. & Zeyh.

Protologue
Enum. pl. afric. austral.: 356 (1837).
Family
Hamamelidaceae
Chromosome number
2n = 24
Vernacular names
Wych hazel, witch-hazel, white witch-hazel, Natal hazel (En).
Origin and geographic distribution
Trichocladus ellipticus occurs from Sudan and Ethiopia, through eastern DR Congo and East Africa, south to southern Africa.
Uses
The wood of Trichocladus ellipticus is used for construction, fencing, carpentry and carvings, and as firewood. Larger boles are used as posts in building and smaller stems for cross poles. Trichocladus ellipticus is the favourite species of the Maasai people for making frames for their shields. A bark decoction is added to soup or meat to improve digestion and to cure an upset stomach.
Properties
The wood is white, tough and hard, but bends easily. It hardens when heated. The Wandorobo people of East Africa consider the wood termite resistant.
Botany
Shrub or small tree up to 10(–18) m tall; bark smooth or slightly rough, greyish white or creamy brown; young branches with yellow or rusty-brown stellate hairs. Leaves alternate, simple and entire; stipules linear, early caducous; petiole 0.5–2 cm long; blade elliptical to obovate-elliptical or oblanceolate, (1.5–)5–28 cm × 1–12 cm, cuneate to rounded at base, acute to acuminate at apex, densely soft-hairy below, pinnately veined. Inflorescence axillary, head-like; peduncle 5–15 mm long. Flowers bisexual, regular, sessile; calyx with c. 1 mm long tube and 4–5 lobes c. 1 mm long, soft-hairy; petals free, 1–1.5 mm long, white, greenish yellow or yellow, soft-hairy outside; stamens 5, filaments c. 1 mm long, anthers c. 1 mm long; ovary ellipsoid, hairy, 2-celled, styles 2. Fruit a globose capsule 6–8 mm long, pubescent, 1–2-seeded. Seeds ovoid to ellipsoid, c. 5 mm × 3–4 mm, yellowish or greyish, mottled black.
Trichocladus comprises about 4 species, 2 of them endemic to South Africa. It is the only genus of Hamamelidaceae on the African continent and it is not found elsewhere. Two subspecies are distinguished in Trichocladus ellipticus: subsp. malosanus (Baker) Verdc., widespread in tropical Africa, and subsp. ellipticus, restricted to South Africa. The latter is characterized by smaller, narrower and more acuminate leaves.
Ecology
Trichocladus ellipticus is found in the understorey of montane forest at 1250–2100(–3000) m altitude, often along streams.
Genetic resources and breeding
In South Africa Trichocladus ellipticus is considered ‘near threatened’. Elsewhere, it is widespread, often dominant and even occurring in almost pure stands. As it is apparently not heavily exploited there seems to be no threat of genetic erosion.
Prospects
Trichocladus ellipticus will remain only locally important.
Major references
• Dovie, D.B.K., Witkowski, E.T.F. & Shackleton, C.M., 2008. Knowledge of plant resource use based on location, gender and generation. Applied Geography 28(4): 311–322.
• Kokwaro, J.O., 1993. Medicinal plants of East Africa. 2nd Edition. Kenya Literature Bureau, Nairobi, Kenya. 401 pp.
• Mendes, E.J. & Vidigal, M.P., 1978. Hamamelidaceae. In: Launert, E. (Editor). Flora Zambesiaca. Volume 4. Flora Zambesiaca Managing Committee, London, United Kingdom. pp. 71–73.
Other references
• Coates Palgrave, K., 1983. Trees of southern Africa. 2nd Edition. Struik Publishers, Cape Town, South Africa. 959 pp.
• Dale, I.R. & Greenway, P.J., 1961. Kenya trees and shrubs. Buchanan’s Kenya Estates Limited, Nairobi, Kenya. 654 pp.
• Ichikawa, M., 1987. A preliminary report on the ethnobotany of the Suiei Dorobo in northern Kenya. African Study Monographs, Supplement 7: 1–52.
• Legilisho-Kiyiap, J., 1998. Forest cover type, habitat diversity, and anthropogenic influences on forest ecosystems adjoining the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. In: Proceedings of a Conference held in August 1998 in Boise, Idaho, USA: 296–304.
• Medley, K.E. & Kalibo, H.W., 2007. Ethnobotanical survey of 'wild' woody plant resources at Mount Kasigau, Kenya. Journal of East African Natural History 96(2): 149–186.
• Verdcourt, B., 1989. Hamamelidaceae. In: Hedberg, I. & Edwards, S. (Editors). Flora of Ethiopia. Volume 3. Pittosporaceae to Araliaceae. The National Herbarium, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Department of Systematic Botany, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden. pp. 252–253.
• von Breitenbach, F., 1994. The indigenous trees of Ethiopia. 3rd edition. Ethiopian Forestry Association, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 272 pp.
Author(s)
C.H. Bosch
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands


Editors
R.H.M.J. Lemmens
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
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
Associate editors
E.A. Obeng
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:
Bosch, C.H., 2010. Trichocladus ellipticus Eckl. & Zeyh. 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.


















































obtained from Zimbabweflora




obtained from Zimbabweflora




obtained from Zimbabweflora




obtained from Zimbabweflora




obtained from Zimbabweflora



wood in transverse section


wood in tangential section


wood in radial section