Dombeya lucida (PROTA)
|Geographic coverage Africa|
|Geographic coverage World|
Dombeya lucida Baill.
- Protologue: Bull. Mens. Soc. Linn. Paris 1: 496 (1885).
- Family: Sterculiaceae (APG: Malvaceae)
Origin and geographic distribution
Dombeya lucida is endemic to Madagascar, where it occurs in the northern, central, eastern and southern parts of the country.
The bark fibre is used for cordage and weaving. The bark is used for tying; it formerly served for tying captives. Fibrous material is also used for wickerwork.
The wood is locally used for construction and for purposes where workability is more important than durability. It is considered suitable for non-visible parts of furniture, interior trim, boxes and other forms of packaging, but the relative small size of the logs is limiting its usability. The wood is also used as fuelwood. The tree has ornamental value for its flowers.
Reports on the fibre quality are inconsistent, ranging from inferior to good.
The dark heartwood is normally distinctly demarcated from the paler, cream-coloured sapwood, but in young trees both may have the same white or pink colour. The wood is lightweight, soft and easy to work, with an average stability in service. It is very liable to attacks by fungi, termites and other insects.
Shrub or small to medium-sized tree up to 20 m tall; bole up to 40 cm in diameter; young branches angular, older branches rounded, reddish brown or blackish, covered with a dense, scaly indumentum. Leaves alternate, simple; stipules ovate, up to 8 mm long, attenuate-acuminate, caducous; petiole 1–14 cm long, angular, scaly; blade very variable in shape and size, ovate, obovate, oblong, elliptical or suborbicular, up to 20 cm × 20 cm, apex rounded or acuminate, base rounded or cordate, margin entire or wavy, coriaceous, lower surface densely scaly, upper surface first scaly, later glabrous, palmately veined with 3–7 basal veins, strongly prominent below. Inflorescence an axillary, solitary cyme 8–20 cm long, often branched from the base, scaly, rust-coloured. Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous; pedicel 2–5 mm long; epicalyx bracts 3, inserted on pedicel, early caducous; calyx deeply 5-fid, lobes ovate, ovate-lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate, 3–6 mm long, scaly outside, glabrous inside, not reflexed; petals free, asymmetrical, broadly obovate or obovate-globose, 5–12 mm × 2–12 mm, white to cream; androecium crown-shaped, stamens 5–15, staminal tube 0.5–2 mm long, filaments free or connate above the crown, unequal, up to 3 mm long, alternating by 1–3 with 5 staminodes 2.5–6.5 mm long; ovary superior, densely scaly for at least the upper part, 5-celled, stylar column 1–4 mm long, with 2–4 branches 1–4 mm long. Fruit a loculicidal capsule.
Dombeya comprises about 200 species, mainly distributed in Madagascar, with about 20 species in mainland Africa and 14 in the Mascarenes. Revisions of the genus have been carried out for mainland Africa and the Mascarenes, but not for Madagascar, and the number of species described for Madagascar is possibly too high.
Several Dombeya species endemic to Madagascar yield bark fibres of inferior quality, only used for coarse, not very strong cordage, such as Dombeya bemarivensis (Hochr.) Arènes, a small to medium-sized tree up to 22 m tall, Dombeya borraginea Hochr., a shrub or small tree up to 9 m tall, Dombeya leucomacrantha Hochr., a shrub or small tree up to 6 m tall, Dombeya oblongifolia Arènes, a shrub or small to medium-sized tree up to 15 m tall and Dombeya subsquamosa Hochr., a shrub or tree.
Dombeya lucida occurs from sea level up to 2300 m altitude in forest, along rivers and in swamps. It is locally common.
The fibre is usually extracted after retting, and combed.
Dombeya lucida i s widely distributed within Madagascar and is locally common. Therefore it is unlikely to be threatened by genetic erosion.
Dombeya lucida is a useful local source of fibre, but reports on the quality of the fibre are inconsistent, and detailed and quantitative information on the fibre properties is lacking. Therefore the prospects of Dombeya lucida as a fibre plant are unclear. Its prospects as a source of timber are limited because the wood is not durable and the logs are often small.
- Arènes, J., 1959. Sterculiacées (Sterculiaceae). Flore de Madagascar et des Comores (plantes vasculaires), famille 131. Firmin-Didot et cie., Paris, France. 537 pp.
- 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.
- Guéneau, P., Bedel, J. & Thiel, J., 1970–1975. Bois et essences malgaches. Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Nogent-sur-Marne, France. 150 pp.
- Cailliez, F. & Guéneau, P., 1972. Analyse en composantes principales des propriétés technologiques des bois Malgaches. Annales des Sciences Forestières 30: 215–266.
- Huttel, C., Touber, L. & Clüsener-Godt, M., 2002. La Réserve de Biosphère de Mananara-Nord: un défi pour la conservation et le développement intégrés. MAB-UNESCO & ANGAP, Antananarivo, Madagascar. 188 pp.
- Missouri Botanical Garden, undated. VAST (VAScular Tropicos) nomenclatural database. [Internet] http://mobot.mobot.org/ W3T/Search/ vast.html. January 2010.
- Razafimahatratra, V., 1996. Méthodologie de suivi écologique Masoala. Acte de l’atelier Suivi et Evaluation, Hotel de Thermes Antsirabe, 7–11 Octobre 1996, Antsirabe, Madagascar. pp. 67–75.
- Schatz, G., undated. A catalogue of the vascular plants of Madagascar. [Internet]. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, United States. http://www.efloras.org/ flora_info.aspx?flora_id=12. September 2009.
- Seyani, J.H., 1991. The genus Dombeya (Sterculiaceae) in continental Africa. Opera Botanica Belgica 2. National Botanic Garden of Belgium, Meise, Belgium. 186 pp.
- Thiel, J. & Bedel, J., 1973. Essai de résistance naturelle de bois à Madagascar: premier rapport. Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Antananarivo, Madagascar. 74 pp.
- M. Brink, PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
Correct citation of this article
Brink, M., 2010. Dombeya lucida Baill. [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.