Dupuya madagascariensis (PROTA)

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Dupuya madagascariensis (R.Vig.) J.H.Kirkbr.

distribution in Africa (wild)
1, flowering twig; 2, leaflet; 3, flower in cross section; 4, fruit; 5, seed. Redrawn and adapted by Achmad Satiri Nurhaman
foliage and fruit
wood in transverse section
wood in tangential section
Protologue: Novon 15(2): 310 (2005).
Family: Caesalpiniaceae (Leguminosae - Caesalpinioideae)


  • Cordyla madagascariensis R.Vig. (1949).

Origin and geographic distribution

Dupuya madagascariensis is endemic to Madagascar, where it is widespread from the northern to the south-western parts.


The wood, known and locally traded as ‘anakaraka’, is in demand because of its durability for beams, posts, frames and planks in house construction, for parquet flooring, carpentry, naval construction and shingles, and in boat building. It is suitable for mine props, vehicle bodies, sporting goods, agricultural implements, railway sleepers and turnery. Dupuya madagascariensis is traditionally used as fish poison.

Production and international trade

The wood of Dupuya madagascariensis is probably not traded on the international timber market.


The heartwood is yellowish brown to dark brown and distinctly demarcated from the yellow-white, up to 6 cm wide sapwood. The grain is usually straight, texture rather coarse. The wood is slightly oily to the touch.

The wood is heavy, with a density of 870–1050 kg/m³ at 12% moisture content, and hard. It air dries fairly well, but slowly. The rates of shrinkage are moderate, from green to oven dry 2.7–4.7% radial and 4.1–6.5% tangential. Once dry, the wood is stable to moderately stable in service. At 12% moisture content, the modulus of rupture is 140–208 N/mm², modulus of elasticity 10,700–19,800 N/mm², compression parallel to grain 65–85 N/mm² and Chalais-Meudon side hardness 8–12.5. The wood is fissile and low resistance to shocks.

The wood saws and works well, but the dulling effect on saw teeth can be considerable because the wood may contain silica. It can be finished to a smooth but dull surface. Pre-boring is needed for nailing, but the holding capacity for nails and screws is good. The wood polishes well. The wood is durable, being resistant to fungi, termites and moderately resistant to borers, including marine borers. It is resistant to impregnation with preservatives.


  • Deciduous medium-sized tree up to 20(–25) m tall; bole usually straight and cylindrical, up to 60(–90) cm in diameter; bark surface fissured and scaly with elongate scales, greyish brown to dark grey; crown rounded, large, dense; twigs glabrous.
  • Leaves arranged spirally, imparipinnately compound with 15–43 leaflets; stipules curved, up to 4 mm long, caducous; petiole and rachis together up to 18.5 cm long, with 2 narrow ridges; petiolules up to 1 mm long; leaflets usually alternate, narrowly obovate to narrowly elliptical or oblong, (1–)1.5–4 cm × 0.5–1(–1.5) cm, oblique at base, rounded to notched at apex, margins entire to slightly crenate, nearly glabrous, with translucent dots and streaks, pinnately veined.
  • Inflorescence a terminal raceme up to 18 cm long, sparsely hairy; bracts small.
  • Flowers bisexual, regular; pedicel c. 0.5 cm long; hypanthium cup-shaped, c. 2 mm long, greenish; calyx initially entire but splitting into 2(–4) lobes; petals absent; stamens numerous, inserted at rim of hypanthium, 1–1.5 cm long, white, with inner row of rudimentary stamens up to 2.5 mm long; ovary superior, ellipsoid, 1-celled, on a long stipe, style short.
  • Fruit an ellipsoid to cylindrical, indehiscent, berry-like pod 3.5–6.5(–10) cm × 2–3.5 cm, reddish brown to dark brown, with stipe of up to 3.5 cm long, with 1–3 seeds embedded in whitish pulp.
  • Seeds oblong-ellipsoid, 1.5–2 cm long, with reddish brown seed coat and thick endosperm.
  • Seedling with hypogeal germination.

Other botanical information

Dupuya madagascariensis is subdivided into two subspecies; subsp. madagascariensis is widespread, subsp. tamarindoides (Capuron) J.H.Kirkbr., which has more numerous leaflets, is restricted to northern Madagascar.

Dupuya comprises 2 species and is endemic to Madagascar. It has recently been separated from Cordyla based on the presence of staminodes and on differences in seed morphology, but this was not supported by a study on the distribution of flavonol pentaglycosides in the leaves of Cordyla, Dupuya and the closely related Mildbraediodendron. Traditionally, these genera have been placed in Caesalpiniaceae (Leguminosae- Caesalpinioideae), but chemistry, cytology, palynology and wood anatomy support the inclusion in Papilionaceae (Leguminosae- Papilionoideae), and this is also supported by molecular studies.

Dupuya haraka

Dupuya haraka (Capuron) J.H.Kirkbr. (synonym: Cordyla haraka Capuron) is a medium-sized to fairly large tree up to 35 m tall, with bole up to 80 (–100) cm in diameter, occurring in evergreen rainforest in northern and eastern Madagascar, where it is considered vulnerable. It differs from Dupuya madagascariensis in its leaves with 6–13 obovate to elliptical leaflets. The reddish brown wood is used in house construction and for boats.


Wood-anatomical description (IAWA hardwood codes):

  • Growth rings: (1: growth ring boundaries distinct); (2: growth ring boundaries indistinct or absent).
  • Vessels: 5: wood diffuse-porous; 13: simple perforation plates; 22: intervessel pits alternate; 23: shape of alternate pits polygonal; 26: intervessel pits medium (7–10 μm); 29: vestured pits; 30: vessel-ray pits with distinct borders; similar to intervessel pits in size and shape throughout the ray cell; 42: mean tangential diameter of vessel lumina 100–200 μm; 46: 5 vessels per square millimetre.
  • Tracheids and fibres: 61: fibres with simple to minutely bordered pits; 66: non-septate fibres present.
  • Axial parenchyma: 80: axial parenchyma aliform; 82: axial parenchyma winged-aliform; 83: axial parenchyma confluent; 89: axial parenchyma in marginal or in seemingly marginal bands; 91: two cells per parenchyma strand; 92: four (3–4) cells per parenchyma strand.
  • Rays: 97: ray width 1–3 cells; 104: all ray cells procumbent; 106: body ray cells procumbent with one row of upright and/or square marginal cells; 115: 4–12 rays per mm.
  • Mineral inclusions: 136: prismatic crystals present; 142: prismatic crystals in chambered axial parenchyma cells.
(P. Détienne)

Growth and development

Seedlings prefer much sunlight, and Dupuya madagascariensis is considered a pioneer. The average annual growth is about 40 cm. Trees flower in September–November. Fruits ripen 6–8 months later, in May–June. They are eaten by sifaka (Propithecus) lemurs, which may disperse the seeds.


Dupuya madagascariensis occurs in dry forest up to 600(–900) m altitude, often together with Commiphora spp. The mean annual rainfall in the area of distribution is 500–1200 mm, with 5–7 dry months. The mean annual temperature is 24°C. Dupuya madagascariensis occurs on well-drained, sandy, sandy-loamy or calcareous soils. Near Morondava it is usually found on medium-fertile to infertile soils.

Propagation and planting

Ripe fruits, characterized by a hard and brown wall, can be collected from the tree or from the ground, but it is recommended to pick them from the trees to avoid insect attack. They are often beaten in a bag to extract the seeds, which are dried in the sun for 1–2 days. The 1000-seed weight is 1200–1300 g. Dried seeds stored in a cool and dry locality still have a fair germination rate after 1.5–2 years, up to 84%. However, seeds stored for only 6 months showed a germination rate of only 30–40%, which may be a result of partial seed dormancy. Seeds are immersed in water for 24–48 hours to promote germination. They are sown in a seed bed in the nursery at a distance of 10 cm × 10 cm in the shade, and are covered by 2–3 cm of soil. Germination starts 9 days after sowing and it may continue for over 50 days. The seedlings are pricked out and planted in nursery beds at the same spacing. The seedlings can be planted into the field after 12 months, when they have reached a height of about 50 cm with a stem diameter of 1 cm. However, direct seeding into the field is also practised. Seedlings should be protected from rodents and wild pigs. Propagation by cuttings and suckers is possible.

Genetic resources

Dupuya madagascariensis is widespread and not uncommon, but it occurs in regions with a native vegetation that is highly fragmented. Although several protected areas fall within its distribution, it is found in the IUCN Red List, classified as lower risk / near threatened. Dupuya haraka is classified as vulnerable. The wood of both species is highly valued and selective logging results in more pressure on the populations.


Dupuya madagascariensis and Dupuya haraka are both subject to more or less uncontrolled harvesting. Much more information is needed on standing stocks, growth rates, propagation and adequate management measures to give recommendations for sustainable harvesting.

Major references

  • Bolza, E. & Keating, W.G., 1972. African timbers: the properties, uses and characteristics of 700 species. Division of Building Research, CSIRO, Melbourne, Australia. 710 pp.
  • Blaser, J., Rajoelison, G., Tsiza, G., Rajemison, M., Rabevohitra, R., Randrianjafy, H., Razafindrianilana, N., Rakotovao, G. & Comtet, S., 1993. Choix des essences pour la sylviculture à Madagascar. Akon’ny Ala: Bulletin du Département des Eaux et Forêts 12–13. 166 pp.
  • CFPF (Centre de Formation Professionelle Forestière), 2008. Fiches techniques: version francaise. Centre de Formation Professionelle Forestière, Morondova, Madagascar. 14 pp.
  • du Puy, D.J. & Labat, H., 1998. Cordyla madagascariensis. In: IUCN. 2010 IUCN Red list of threatened species. Version 2010.4. [Internet] http://www.iucnredlist.org. February 2011.
  • 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.
  • Guéneau, P., Bedel, J. & Thiel, J., 1970–1975. Bois et essences malgaches. Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Nogent-sur-Marne, France. 150 pp.
  • Kirkbride, J.H., 2005. Dupuya, a new genus of Malagasy Legumes (Fabaceae). Novon 15(2): 305–314.
  • Parant, B., Chichignoud, M. & Rakotovao, G., 1985. Présentation graphique des caractères des principaux bois tropicaux. Tome 5. Bois de Madagascar. CIRAD, Montpellier, France. 161 pp.
  • Takahashi, A., 1978. Compilation of data on the mechanical properties of foreign woods (part 3) Africa. Shimane University, Matsue, Japan. 248 pp.

Other references

  • Bezzola, D., Schroff, Y. & Michaud, J., 1985. La germination de l’Anakaraka (Cordyla madagascariensis). Fiche technique No 10. Centre de Formation professionnelle forestière ‘Fofampiala’, Morondava, Madagascar. 26 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. & Guéneau, D., 1969. Propriétés physiques et mécaniques des bois malgaches. Cahiers scientifiques No 2, Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Nogent-sur-Marne, France. 51 pp.
  • Schatz, G.E., 2001. Generic tree flora of Madagascar. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 477 pp.
  • Veitch, N.C., Kite, G.C. & Lewis, G.P., 2008. Flavonol pentaglycosides of Cordyla (Leguminosae: Papilionoideae: Swartzieae): Distribution and taxonomic implications. Phytochemistry 69(12): 2329–2335.

Sources of illustration

  • 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.


  • S. Rakotonandrasana, Centre National d’Application des Recherches Pharmaceutiques, B.P. 702, 101 Antananarivo, Madagascar

Correct citation of this article

Rakotonandrasana, S., 2011. Dupuya madagascariensis (R.Vig.) J.H.Kirkbr. [Internet] Record from PROTA4U. Lemmens, R.H.M.J., Louppe, D. & Oteng-Amoako, A.A. (Editors). PROTA (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa / Ressources végétales de l’Afrique tropicale), Wageningen, Netherlands.

Accessed 8 October 2019.