Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1
Journ. Bot. 58: 188 (1920).
Papilionaceae (Leguminosae - Papilionoideae, Fabaceae)
Origin and geographic distribution
Vaughania dionaeifolia is endemic to north-western and northern Madagascar.
The wood is used for house construction and cattle enclosures.
The heartwood is brown and heavy.
Deciduous shrub or small tree up to 10 m tall; bole up to 40 cm in diameter; bark fissured, greyish brown; branches with thick and robust short shoots. Leaves alternate, clustered at the ends of short shoots, 1-foliolate; stipules fused, triangular, 2–5 mm long, persistent and covering the short shoots; petiole flattened and winged, up to 4 cm long and 1.5 cm wide; leaflet ovate to circular, 1.5–5 cm × 1.5–4 cm, rounded or slightly notched at apex, with minute 2-branched hairs on both sides. Inflorescence an axillary sessile raceme 1–2 cm long, few-flowered. Flowers bisexual, papilionaceous; calyx shallowly cup-shaped, 2–3 mm long, with small, narrowly triangular teeth; corolla asymmetrical, pale purple to violet or reddish, standard circular, 10–12 mm long, wings distorted, keel twisted and spirally curled; stamens 10, fused into a sheath for about two-thirds of their length, twisted and curved upwards; ovary superior, shortly hairy, 1-celled, style curved upwards. Fruit a linear-cylindrical pod 2.5–4 cm long, sparsely hairy, dehiscing with 2 spiralling valves, 6–10-seeded. Seeds ellipsoid, 3–4 mm long, pale brown.
Vaughania dionaeifolia usually flowers when it is leafless, shortly before the new leaves develop.
Vaughania comprises 11 species and is confined to Madagascar. It is related to the much larger genus Indigofera, which differs in its straight wings, keel and stamens, longer staminal sheath and free stipules.
The wood of Vaughania cloiselii (Drake) Du Puy, Labat & Schrire, a shrub or small tree up to 10 m tall with 7–11(–15) leaflets per leaf, is used for house construction in southern Madagascar. Vaughania cloiselii is classified as vulnerable in the IUCN Red list of threatened species. The stem of Vaughania interrupta Du Puy, Labat & Schrire, a shrub up to 3.5 m tall with generally 3–5 leaflets per leaf, is used for poles in house construction in southern Madagascar.
Vaughania dionaeifolia occurs in deciduous woodland on sandy soils, up to 200 m altitude.
Genetic resources and breeding
Although Vaughania dionaeifolia is restricted to north-western and northern Madagascar, it is fairly widespread there, with several protected areas located within its range. Therefore, it does not seem to be immediately endangered by genetic erosion. However, the number of collections in herbaria is limited and therefore the species may be uncommon.
It is unlikely that Vaughania dionaeifolia and other Vaughania spp. will become more important in the future as timber trees because they are too uncommon or too small in size.
• 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.
• du Puy, D. & Labat, H., 1998. Vaughania cloiselii. In: IUCN. 2006 Red list of threatened species. [Internet] http://www.iucnredlist.org. Accessed October 2006.
• du Puy, D.J., Labat, J.-N. & Schrire, B.D., 1994. Révision du genre Vaughania S. Moore (Leguminosae - Papilionoideae - Indigofereae). Bulletin du Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, 4e série, section B, Adansonia 16(1): 75–102.
• Schatz, G.E., 2001. Generic tree flora of Madagascar. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 477 pp.
Correct citation of this article:
Lemmens, R.H.M.J., 2007. Vaughania dionaeifolia S.Moore. In: Louppe, D., Oteng-Amoako, A.A. & Brink, M. (Editors). Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.