Desplatsia subericarpa (PROTA)
|Geographic coverage Africa|
|Geographic coverage World|
|Dye / tannin|
Desplatsia subericarpa Bocq.
- Protologue: Adansonia 7: 51 (1866).
- Family: Tiliaceae
Origin and geographic distribution
Desplatsia subericarpa is distributed in West and Central Africa, from Sierra Leone to DR Congo and Cabinda (Angola).
The fibrous bark is used in DR Congo for making rope. The leaves have been recorded to be eaten as a leaf vegetable in Nigeria, whereas other sources mention they have been used for poisoning. In Ghana and Gabon the ripe fruit is boiled to obtain a black dye, derived from an orange-red gum present in the fruit. The dye is used for cloth and stains like printer’s ink. The fruit is recorded to be eaten as a vegetable in Nigeria, and it is rubbed on the body to prevent animals from biting.
Shrub or small tree up to 10 m tall; bole 4–10 cm in diameter; branchlets densely reddish hairy to glabrescent. Leaves alternate, simple; stipules 3–6-fid, 4–9 mm long, with linear-filiform lobes, hairy, persistent; petiole 5–20 mm long, hairy; blade ovate-oblong to obovate-oblong, 7–25 cm × 2.5–9.5 cm, base cordate to subcordate and asymmetric, apex long-acuminate, margin obscurely toothed, pinnately veined with 8–50 pairs of lateral veins, papery, glabrous above except for the sparsely hairy veins, sparsely hairy below. Inflorescence composed of axillary or terminal umbelliform cymes, slender, lax, 3–7-flowered; peduncle 0.5–4.5 cm long, hairy; involucral bracts 3–4-fid, 4–6 mm long, with linear-filiform lobes, hairy, more or less persistent. Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous; pedicel 4–10 mm long; sepals oblanceolate, 8–10 mm × 2–3 mm, fringed at the apex, hairy on both sides; petals oblong, 1.5–3 mm × 2–3 mm, rounded at the apex, pinkish white, hairy outside; stamens numerous, connected at the base in a glabrous tube; ovary superior, 5–7-celled. Fruit an oblong-ellipsoid drupe 6–10 cm × 5–7.5 cm, glabrous, surface uneven, yellow at maturity, containing a gum changing from yellow through orange and red to black, many-seeded. Seeds ovoid, winged. Seedling with epigeal germination; first leaves opposite, simple, toothed.
In Ghana Desplatsia subericarpa flowers in November–March. In Côte d’Ivoire it fruits in July.
Desplatsia comprises 4–6 species, distributed in tropical Africa.
Desplatsia subericarpa occurs from sea-level up to 600 m altitude, in the understorey of dense, evergreen, often secondary forest, and along rivers. It is common in Ghana.
The 1000-seed weight of Desplatsia subericarpa is 165–200 g. In Côte d’Ivoire germination takes 15–30 days.
Desplatsia subericarpa has a wide distribution, and is not threatened by genetic erosion.
Desplatsia subericarpa is a local source of fibre, dye and food, but it seems not important in any of these aspects and is unlikely to become more important in the future.
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- M. Brink, PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
Correct citation of this article
Brink, M., 2009. Desplatsia subericarpa Bocq. [Internet] Record from PROTA4U. Brink, M. & Achigan-Dako, E.G. (Editors). PROTA (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa / Ressources végétales de l’Afrique tropicale), Wageningen, Netherlands. <http://www.prota4u.org/search.asp>.
Accessed 6 March 2020.
- See the Prota4U database.