Albizia bernieri (PROTA)

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Albizia bernieri E.Fourn. ex Villiers


Protologue: Legum. Madagascar: 254 (2002).
Family: Mimosaceae (Leguminosae - Mimosoideae)

Origin and geographic distribution

Albizia bernieri is endemic to Madagascar, where it is widespread in the western part of the island.

Uses

The wood is used in house construction and for planks. The bark is used for making rope, and it is also suitable for tanning hides.

Properties

Seed extracts are toxic to mice, and showed haemolytic activity in red blood cells of sheep as well as antibacterial activity.

Description

  • Shrub or small to medium-sized, deciduous tree up to 25 m tall; bole up to 100 cm in diameter; bark whitish to pale grey, finely fissured; crown umbrella-shaped; young branches sparsely pubescent, glabrescent.
  • Leaves alternate, bipinnately compound with 4–15 pairs of pinnae; stipules minute, caducous; petiole 1–2 cm long, in the apical half of upper side with a sessile gland, rachis 1.5–9 cm long, pubescent; pinnae ending in a large mucronate gland; leaflets in 10–35 pairs per pinna, sessile, slightly obliquely oblong, up to 5 mm × 1 mm, obtuse to acute at apex, glabrous except for hairs at margins. Inflorescence an axillary head on 2–4.4 cm long peduncle.
  • Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous, greenish white, almost sessile; calyx cylindrical to obconical, 1.5–2 mm long, pubescent; corolla 5–7.5 mm long, with tube 3–5.5 mm long, pubescent; stamens numerous, 2–2.5 cm long, united into a tube at base, white in lower part, pink-purplish in upper part; ovary superior, narrowly ellipsoid, with 0.5–1 mm long stipe, glabrous, gradually tapering into a c. 2.5 cm long style.
  • Fruit an oblong, flat pod 8–21 cm × 3–5 cm, with short stipe, slightly pubescent to almost glabrous, transversely veined, brown, several-seeded.
  • Seeds oblong-ellipsoid, 10–12 mm × 5.5–6 mm, black.

Other botanical information

Albizia bernieri usually flowers from October to December.

Albizia comprises about 120 species and occurs throughout the tropics. Approximately 35 species are found in continental Africa and about 30 in Madagascar. It is characterized by the head-like inflorescence, with 1–2 central flowers modified, functionally male and having a larger, nectar-producing staminal tube. Molecular analyses showed that Albizia is heterogeneous, and a revision of the genus is needed.

Albizia polyphylla

Albizia polyphylla E.Fourn. has small glands at the tips of pinnae like Albizia bernieri, but more pinnae per leaf and more and smaller leaflets (up to 3.5 mm × 1 mm). In western and southern Madagascar its wood is used for construction and dugout canoes, as well as for firewood, and the bark is used to make rope.

Ecology

Albizia bernieri occurs in deciduous woodland and scrubland up to 100 m altitude, on all soil types. It is mainly found in moist locations, such as clayey depressions and river banks.

Genetic resources

Albizia bernieri is common over a large area and not threatened by genetic erosion.

Prospects

Albizia bernieri timber will probably remain of local importance for construction purposes. It is unlikely that it will become important on a commercial scale.

Major references

  • 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.
  • Raharisoa, N., 1999. Contribution à l’étude chimique et biologique des principes toxiques de Albizia bernieri (Mimosoideae, Fabaceae). Mémoire de DEA de chimie organique option appliqué aux sciences médicales. Département Biochimie, Faculté des Sciences, Université d’Antananarivo, Madagascar. 72 pp.

Other references

  • Boiteau, P., Boiteau, M. & Allorge-Boiteau, L., 1999. Dictionnaire des noms malgaches de végétaux. 4 Volumes + Index des noms scientifiques avec leurs équivalents malgaches. Editions Alzieu, Grenoble, France.
  • Capuron, R., 1970. Le genre Albizia Durazz. (Légumineuses - Mimosoidées). Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Antananarivo, Madagascar. 145 pp.

Author(s)

  • R.H.M.J. Lemmens, PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article

Lemmens, R.H.M.J., 2007. Albizia bernieri E.Fourn. ex Villiers. In: Louppe, D., Oteng-Amoako, A.A. & Brink, M. (Editors). PROTA (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa / Ressources végétales de l’Afrique tropicale), Wageningen, Netherlands. Accessed 19 February 2019.