Hibiscus lasiococcus (PROTA)

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Plant Resources of Tropical Africa
Introduction
List of species


General importance Fairytale bookmark gold.svgFairytale bookmark gold.svgFairytale bookmark gold.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svg
Geographic coverage Africa Fairytale bookmark gold.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svg
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Timber Fairytale bookmark gold.svgFairytale bookmark gold.svgFairytale bookmark gold.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svg
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distribution in Africa (wild and planted)
1, flowering twig; 2, fruit; 3, seed. Redrawn and adapted by R.H.M.J. Lemmens
bole
wood
wood

Hibiscus lasiococcus Baill.


Protologue: Bull. Mens. Soc. Linn. Paris 1: 511 (1885).
Family: Malvaceae

Synonyms

  • Hibiscus domatiocarpus Hochr. (1925).

Origin and geographic distribution

Hibiscus lasiococcus is endemic to eastern Madagascar.

Uses

The wood, known as ‘alampona’, is locally used for furniture and logs are made into dug-out canoes. The wood is considered suitable for light construction, light carpentry, interior trim, ship and boat building, furniture, cabinet work, shuttering, boxes, crates, carvings, toys, novelties, model building, food containers, veneer, plywood, blockboard core and particle board. The durable bast fibre is woven into ‘lamba’ cloth and made into cordage. It is suitable for fishing nets.

Properties

The heartwood is beige to pale brown, sometimes yellow; it is sharply demarcated from the up to 5 cm wide, whitish sapwood. The grain is usually straight, texture medium. The wood is sometimes streaked or veined, and it has a pepper-like odour when freshly cut.

The wood is lightweight, with a density of (240–)380–450 kg/m³ at 12% moisture content. It air dries rapidly without deformation or checking. The rates of shrinkage from green to oven dry are moderate: (2.2–)3.2–3.9% radial and (4.1–)6.0–6.9% tangential. The wood is moderately stable in service.

The wood is flexible, tough and soft. At 12% moisture content, the modulus of rupture is 85–97 N/mm², modulus of elasticity 6600–9400 N/mm², compression parallel to grain 32–40 N/mm², shear 6–7 N/mm², cleavage 8–15 N/mm and Chalais-Meudon side hardness 1.2–1.6.

Working properties are good with all tools and the wood saws easily. It planes to a surface with a nice lustre. It peels well, but slicing is advisable because of the brittle or hollow centre of the log. The wood glues, nails and screws well, with good holding power.

The durability is low. A single test indicated resistance to termites, but this needs confirmation. The resistance to attacks by other insects and by fungi is very poor. The sapwood is susceptible to Lyctus borers. Both heartwood and sapwood are permeable to preservatives.

Description

  • Small to medium-sized tree up to 20(–25) m tall; bole up to 60(–120) cm in diameter; branchlets brown hairy.
  • Leaves alternate, simple and entire; stipules small, deciduous; petiole shorter than blade, brown hairy; blade broadly ovate-circular, more or less 3-angular, 7–12.5 cm × 7–13.5 cm, rounded to slightly cordate at base, leathery, almost glabrous above, hairy below, palmately 7-veined.
  • Flowers solitary in leaf axils, bisexual, regular, 5-merous, large; involucre of 9 bracts c. 1.5 cm long, connected to calyx for c. 1 cm, reddish hairy; calyx short-lobed, c. 2 cm × 2.5 cm, reddish hairy outside, densely silky inside, persistent; petals obovate, up to 6 cm long, densely hairy outside, yellowish; stamens numerous, united into a column up to 7 cm long fused to the base of the petals, anthers c. 2.5 mm long; ovary superior, 5-celled, style with 5 branches, stigmas head-shaped, large.
  • Fruit a globose to obovoid capsule c. 3 cm in diameter, hairy, 5-celled, many-seeded.
  • Seeds with many long hairs.

Other botanical information

Hibiscus comprises 200–300 species, mainly in the tropics and subtropics; many of them grown as ornamentals. The estimated number of species varies because opinions differ about inclusion in the genus of several related groups of species. In Madagascar about 45 species can be found.

Hibiscus boryanus

The wood of Hibiscus boryanus DC. (‘foulsapate marron’, ‘mahot bâtard’), a rare shrub or small tree up to 8 m tall with a bole up to 20 cm in diameter, endemic to Réunion and Mauritius, was formerly used in construction. A tea from the leaves was taken against cough and the leaves were used in a bath against kidney pain.

Anatomy

Wood-anatomical description (IAWA hardwood codes):

  • Growth rings: (1: growth ring boundaries distinct); (2: growth ring boundaries indistinct or absent).
  • Vessels: (4: wood semi-ring-porous); 5: wood diffuse-porous; 13: simple perforation plates; 22: intervessel pits alternate; (23: shape of alternate pits polygonal); 25: intervessel pits small (4–7 μm); 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; 47: 5–20 vessels per square millimetre.
  • Tracheids and fibres: 61: fibres with simple to minutely bordered pits; 66: non-septate fibres present; 68: fibres very thin-walled; 69: fibres thin- to thick-walled.
  • Axial parenchyma: 76: axial parenchyma diffuse; 77: axial parenchyma diffuse-in-aggregates; 78: axial parenchyma scanty paratracheal; (89: axial parenchyma in marginal or in seemingly marginal bands); 90: fusiform parenchyma cells; 91: two cells per parenchyma strand; (92: four (3–4) cells per parenchyma strand).
  • Rays: (97: ray width 1–3 cells); (98: larger rays commonly 4- to 10-seriate); 106: body ray cells procumbent with one row of upright and/or square marginal cells; 107: body ray cells procumbent with mostly 2–4 rows of upright and/or square marginal cells; 110: sheath cells present; 115: 4–12 rays per mm.
  • Storied structure: 118: all rays storied; 120: axial parenchyma and/or vessel elements storied.
  • Mineral inclusions: 136: prismatic crystals present; 137: prismatic crystals in upright and/or square ray cells.
(P. Mugabi, A.A. Oteng-Amoako, P. Baas & P. Détienne)

Growth and development

Fast growth has been observed in plantations, with 2-year-old plants reaching a height of 4–5 m, 10-year-old plants a height of 10–12 m and a bole diameter of 12–15 cm, and 14-year-old trees a height of 16–18 m and a bole diameter of 18–25 cm. Flowering is in August–October, fruiting in November.

Ecology

Hibiscus lasiococcus occurs scattered in forest in eastern Madagascar, up to 1000 m altitude.

Management

Little information is available on appropriate planting and management techniques. In Madagascar at least 13 ha were planted at the beginning of the 1960s, at a spacing of 3 m × 3 m after clear cutting of the natural vegetation. Early growth was homogenous and fast, the form of the boles was good and natural pruning very satisfactory. In 1951–1955 some enrichment plantings were carried out successfully in forest paths. The centre of large boles is often hollow or providing wood of low quality.

Genetic resources

Hibiscus lasiococcus is confined to eastern Madagascar, where it only occurs scattered, so there may be some risk of genetic erosion.

Prospects

The wood of Hibiscus lasiococcus is not much used, because of its softness and the scattered occurrence of the tree. The species deserves more research on plantation techniques, because it grows fast and the wood has good physical properties.

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.
  • Guéneau, P., Bedel, J. & Thiel, J., 1970–1975. Bois et essences malgaches. Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Nogent-sur-Marne, France. 150 pp.
  • 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.
  • Sallenave, P., 1964. Propriétés physiques et mécaniques des bois tropicaux. Premier supplément. Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Nogent-sur-Marne, France. 79 pp.
  • Sallenave, P., 1971. Propriétés physiques et mecaniques des bois tropicaux. Deuxième supplément. Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Nogent-sur-Marne, France. 128 pp.

Other references

  • Aubert, S., Rafidinarivo, H. & Razafiarison, S., 1996. La dynamique du tavy face à la gestion viable des ressources renouvelables : l’utilisation de la gestion de l’espace. Office National pour l’Environnement (ONE), Ministère de l’Environnement, Antananarivo, Madagascar. 103 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.
  • Cailliez, F. & Guéneau, P., 1972. Analyse en composantes principales des propriétés technologiques des bois Malgaches. Annales des Sciences Forestières 30: 215–266.
  • Gachet, C., 1965. Note sur les essais de plantation d’essences autochtones à Andrambovato. Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Antananarivo, Madagascar. 17 pp.
  • Guéneau, P., 1963. Note technique sur quelques propriétés physiques des bois. Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Nogent-sur-Marne, France. 23 pp.
  • Guéneau, P., 1971. Bois de Madagascar. Possibilités d’emploi. Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Antananarivo, Madagascar. 75 pp.
  • Hochreutiner, B.P.G., 1955. Malvacées (Malvaceae). Flore de Madagascar et des Comores (plantes vasculaires), familles 129–130. Firmin-Didot et cie., Paris, France. 170 pp.
  • Marais, W. & Friedmann, F., 1987. Malvacées. In: Bosser, J., Cadet, T., Guého, J. & Marais, W. (Editors). Flore des Mascareignes. Familles 51–62. The Sugar Industry Research Institute, Mauritius, l’Office de la Recherche Scientifique Outre-Mer, Paris, France & Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 57 pp.
  • Schatz, G.E., 2001. Generic tree flora of Madagascar. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 477 pp.
  • Vololomboahangy, T.E.S., 2004. Attractions culturelles. In: Proposition d’un plan d’aménagement pour le développement de l’écotourisme dans les deux communes rurales d’Ambohimitombo et d’Antoetra dans la sous préfecture d’Ambositra Province autonome de Fianarantsoa. Mémoire de fin d’étude pour l’obtention du diplôme de maîtrise spécialisée en GRENE, Université de Toamasina, Madagascar. pp. 16–22.

Sources of illustration

  • Hochreutiner, B.P.G., 1955. Malvacées (Malvaceae). Flore de Madagascar et des Comores (plantes vasculaires), familles 129–130. Firmin-Didot et cie., Paris, France. 170 pp.

Author(s)

  • M. Brink, PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article

Brink, M., 2008. Hibiscus lasiococcus Baill. 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 May 2019.