Prota 7(2): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 2
Blumea 55(1): 90 (2010).
Marquesia macroura Gilg (1908).
Origin and geographic distribution
Trillesanthus macrourus occurs in south-eastern DR Congo, western Tanzania, northern Zambia and north-eastern Angola.
The wood is used for posts, poles and planks in house building, and for fences. It is also used as firewood and produces charcoal of excellent quality. In Zambia the bark is used to make the end-plate of bee-hives. Trillesanthus macrourus is a valuable source of nectar and pollen for honey bees.
The wood is brownish, hard and durable. It is heavy, with a density of about 880 kg/m³ at 15% moisture content. The rates of shrinkage during drying are quite high, from green to oven dry 7.2% radial and 10.4% tangential. At 15% moisture content, the modulus of rupture is 154 N/mm², compression parallel to grain 63 N/mm², compression perpendicular to grain 3 N/mm², shear 10 N/mm² and cleavage 17.5 N/mm.
The bark contains up to 10% tannin.
Evergreen, small to medium-sized tree up to 25 m tall; bole branchless for up to 10 m, usually fluted, often twisted, with buttresses; bark surface fissured, grey-brown, often flaking in strips, inner bark thin, slightly fibrous, brown to reddish brown, fading to creamy brown; crown rounded; twigs short-hairy, soon becoming glabrous. Leaves alternate, simple and entire; stipules small, caducous; petiole c. 1 cm long; blade ovate to elliptical-oblong, 4–10 cm × 1.5–5 cm, rounded to slightly cordate at base, usually acuminate at apex, papery, glabrous to short-hairy above, densely whitish short-hairy below, with a gland at base of midrib above, pinnately veined with 8–10 pairs of lateral veins. Inflorescence an axillary or terminal panicle up to 9 cm long, densely short-hairy, many-flowered. Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous, sweet-scented; pedicel 2–3 mm long; sepals free, ovate, 1–2 mm long, short-hairy, accrescent to wings in fruit; petals free, obovate to elliptical, 6.5–8 mm long, minutely hairy, white; stamens numerous, free, 6–7.5 mm long; ovary superior, ovoid, hairy, 3-celled below but 1-celled above, style c. 2 mm long. Fruit an ovoid nut 5–8 mm × 5–6 mm, indehiscent, 1-seeded, surrounded by 5 narrowly oblong wings 2–3.5 cm long derived from the sepals.
In Zambia Trillesanthus macrourus flowers from June to October. The flowers are pollinated by insects such as bees. Fruits ripen 2–3 months after flowering. The roots have symbiosis with ectomycorrhizae.
Trillesanthus comprises 3 species and occurs from Gabon to Tanzania and Zambia. Trillesanthus excelsus Pierre (synonym: Marquesia excelsa (Pierre) R.E.Fr.) is a medium-sized to large tree up to 45 m tall with an often fluted bole up to 90 cm in diameter, occurring scattered in the forest in Gabon. Its wood is dark brown, heavy and hard, and seems to be of no economic interest.
Trillesanthus macrourus occurs in dry evergreen forest and woodland, in its eastern part of distribution often together with Brachystegia, up to 1500 m altitude. It is found on sandy, loamy as well as rocky soils. It is not very tolerant to fire.
Trillesanthus macrourus can be propagated by seed, which does not need pre-treatment. Wildlings are sometimes also collected for planting. Trillesanthus macrourus is locally very common, sometimes occurring in nearly pure stands. The tree can be managed by pollarding, lopping and coppicing. Froghoppers are commonly found on the tree; they produce a sticky exudation. Trillesanthus macrourus can be attacked by the termite Macrotermes falciger.
Genetic resources and breeding
There are no indications that Trillesanthus macrourus is threatened. It is locally common and apparently not much exploited.
Information on Trillesanthus macrourus in the literature is limited. Research on growth rates and propagation is needed to judge its usefulness in agroforestry systems and its prospects as a timber tree of more commercial importance.
• Chilufya, H. & Tengnäs, B., 1996. Agroforestry extension manual for northern Zambia. Regional Soil Conservation Unit, Nairobi, Kenya. 120 + 124 pp.
• Sosef, M.S.M., 2010. Trillesanthus, a validly published name to replace the African genus Marquesia (Dipterocarpaceae). Blumea 55(1): 88–90.
• Takahashi, A., 1978. Compilation of data on the mechanical properties of foreign woods (part 3) Africa. Shimane University, Matsue, Japan, 248 pp.
• Verdcourt, B., 1989. Dipterocarpaceae. In: Polhill, R.M. (Editor). Flora of Tropical East Africa. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, Netherlands. 11 pp.
• Duvigneaud, P., 1961. Dipterocarpaceae. In: Exell, A.W. & Wild, H. (Editors). Flora Zambesiaca. Volume 1, part 2. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. pp. 407–420.
• Mickels-Kokwe, G., 2006. Small-scale woodland-based enterprises with outstanding economic potential. The case of honey in Zambia. Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Bogor, Indonesia. 82 pp.
Correct citation of this article:
Lemmens, R.H.M.J., 2010. Trillesanthus macrourus (Gilg) Sosef. 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.