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Maesopsis eminii Engler

Maesopsis eminii Engler

Family

Rhamnaceae

Synonyms

Maesopsis berchemioides (Pierre) A. Chev.

Vernacular Names

English

Umbrella tree, musizi (standard trade name).

Indone­sia Kayu Afrika.
French Musizi.

Geographical Distributions

Maesopsis emi­nii occurs naturally between 6°S and 8°N in tropical Africa along the Gulf of Guinea (including Sao Tome) from Liberia to Angola and through Zaire, southern Sudan and Uganda to Kenya and Tanza­nia. It was introduced into Java in the 1920s and is cultivated there and also in Sumatra and Kaliman­tan. From Java, it was introduced into Peninsular Malaysia in 1952. Plantations of M. eminii have been established in Africa, India, Indonesia, Ma­laysia and Fiji, while it has been introduced for testing in Costa Rica, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Solomon Islands and Western Samoa.

Description

Maesopsis emi­nii is an unarmed, evergreen to deciduous tree which can reach up to 15-25(-45) m tall with an open and spreading crown. Its bole is exceptionally straight, cylindrical, measures up to 15 m tall and 50(-180) cm in diametre, while the but­tresses are small or absent. The bark is pale grey to grey­ brown or almost white, smooth or with deep, verti­cal and often twisted furrows. The branchlets are with patent short hairs.

The leaves are mostly subopposite, simple and glandu­lar-serrulate. The stipules are subulate, measure 2-6 mm long, puberulent and caducous. The petiole is 6-12 mm long and hairy to nearly hairless. The blade is ovate-elliptical to ob­long-ovate, measuring 7-14 cm x 2.5-6 cm, lustrous above and paler beneath. It is smooth except when young, with rounded to subcordate base, and acuminate at apex, while the margins are 0.3-5 mm long and with rounded teeth.

The inflorescence is a many flowered axillary cyme and measures about 1-5 cm long. The pedun­cle is 4-25 mm long. The flowers are bisexual, 5-merous and yellowish-green. The pedicel is 1-3(-6) mm long. The sepals are 2-6 mm long and del­toid, while the petals are very strongly concave­convex, hiding the anthers and not clawed. The anthers are subsessile with short style and dilated. The stigma is stellately 10-lobed. The style and stigma are persistent in fruit.

The fruit is an obovoid drupe, measuring 20-35 mm x 10-18 mm, turns from green to yellow to purple-black when mature. The mesocarp is floury and cream-coloured while endo­carp is creamy-brown.

Ecology / Cultivation

In Africa, Maesopsis eminii occurs in associa­tion with many other species from lowland tropi­cal rain forest to savanna, extending into submon­tane forest up to 1500 m altitude, in Rwanda even up to 1800 m. In Java and Malaysia, it is mostly planted in the lowland, but it is more vigorous at 600-900 m altitude. It prefers a mean annual rainfall of at least 1200-1300 mm and tolerates a dry season of up to 2 months. In its habitat, the mean annual temperature ranges from 22-27°C, while the mean maximum temperature of the hottest month from 26-32°C, and the mean minimum temper­ature of the coldest month from 16-24°C. It is very light-demanding. M. eminii grows best on deep fertile soils. It toler­ates a wide range of soils, from medium to light and from neutral to very acid, but it does not toler­ate waterlogging. In Malaysia, good growth was obtained on alluvial and sedimentary, granite-de­rived soils. It was introduced first in German colonial times in the Usambara mountains in eastern Tanzania, then in the 1930s and 1960s, it has rapidly invaded submontane rainforest, to become the dominant species there.

Line Drawing / Photograph

Maesopsis_eminii_Engler

References

  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.11: Auxiliary plants.

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