Prota 7(2): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 2
Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 1: 425 (1881).
Sorindeia longifolia (Hook.f.) Oliv. (1868).
Origin and geographic distribution
Trichoscypha longifolia is restricted to Sierra Leone and Liberia.
The wood is used for planks and construction in local house building. A bark decoction is used as an antiseptic wash for sores and wounds. Leaves are applied to heal ulcers. The oily seeds are edible.
The wood is greyish to greenish yellow and somewhat variegated. The grain is fairly straight, texture fine. The wood is lustrous and has no distinct odour or taste. It is heavy, hard, tough and strong, and somewhat splintery. It is not easy to work when dry, but takes a fine polish. The bark exudes a clear, sticky, pungent resin which becomes black upon exposure. This resin can stain hands and clothing and is very difficult to remove.
Evergreen, dioecious, small to medium-sized tree up to 25 m tall; bole often branchless to a considerable height, usually straight, up to 30 cm in diameter, without buttresses; bark surface greenish brown, inner bark exuding a clear resin becoming black upon exposure; twigs densely short-hairy. Leaves alternate, clustered near ends of twigs, up to 60 cm long, imparipinnately compound with 6–9 pairs of leaflets; stipules absent; petiole deeply grooved and slightly winged at base; petiolules c. 1.5 cm long, wrinkled; leaflets alternate to opposite, oblong-lanceolate, up to 30 cm × 10 cm, cuneate at base, acuminate at apex, leathery, nearly glabrous, midrib impressed above, pinnately veined with 13–25 pairs of lateral veins. Inflorescence a lax panicle up to 35 cm long, terminal or on branches below the leaves, red-brown short-hairy. Flowers unisexual, regular, 5(–6)-merous, red-brown, small, nearly sessile; calyx with short lobes, hairy; petals free, ovate, c. 3 mm long, whitish; disk hairy; stamens free, alternating with petals, anthers 1.5–2 mm long; ovary superior, 1-celled, styles 3–4, short; male flowers with strongly reduced ovary, female flowers with reduced stamens. Fruit an ellipsoid drupe c. 2.5 cm × 1.5–2 cm, laterally compressed, glabrous, dehiscent, 1-seeded.
Trees flower between July and September, and fruits ripen about 5 months later.
Trichoscypha comprises about 30 species and is nearly confined to West and Central Africa. Cameroon and Gabon are richest, with 16 and 13 species, respectively.
Trichoscypha longifolia occurs in moist evergreen forest.
Genetic resources and breeding
Trichoscypha longifolia has a limited distribution area and specific habitat requirements, and is therefore liable to threats of genetic erosion.
It is very unlikely that Trichoscypha longifolia will become a valuable commercial timber species in future because of its small bole size and very limited area of occurrence. However, it is valued by local people as source of timber for construction purposes, edible seeds and bark for medicinal purposes. Protection in the wild and its domestication should therefore be promoted and be given research attention.
• Breteler, F.J., 2001. The genus Trichoscypha (Anacardiaceae) in Upper Guinea: A synoptic revision. Adansonia, sér. 3, 23(2): 247–264.
• 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.
• Cooper, G.P. & Record, S.J., 1931. The evergreen forests of Liberia. School of Forestry, Yale University, Bulletin 31, New Haven, United States. 153 pp.
• Hawthorne, W. & Jongkind, C., 2006. Woody plants of western African forests: a guide to the forest trees, shrubs and lianes from Senegal to Ghana. Kew Publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom. 1023 pp.
Correct citation of this article:
Obeng, E.A., 2010. Trichoscypha longifolia (Hook.f.) Engl. 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.