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(Hausa) : gunduru, gyadar kurmi
(Igbo) : nturukpa
(Yoruba) : gbengbe
Pterocarpus santalinoides is a tree 9-12 m tall, 1 m DBH, with low straggling branches. Bark thin and flaking in small patches, slash yellowish-white exuding drops of red gum. Leaves compound, 5-9 leaflets ovate-elliptic, abruptly acuminate, rounded at the base or slightly cuneate, glabrous, glossy, rather coriaceous with about 8 pairs of prominent main lateral nerves looping away from the margin, leaf stalk slender, glabrous stalk 10-20 cm long, leaflet stalk stout 2-5 mm long. Flowers orange-yellow, fragrant in axillary racemes and panicles, inflorescence branches finely hairy, individual flowers with short stalks. Calyx rather narrowly cup-shaped, petals densely hairy outside, about 7 mm long including the prominent triangular teeth, standard petal about 12 mm long and broad. Fruit a light brown glabrous pod, 3.5-6 cm across including the soft, fleshy narrow wing which extends about three quarters way round the body. Pterocarpus is based on the Greek words ‘pteran’ meaning a wing and, ‘karpos’ meaning’ fruit. The specific epithet ‘santalinoides’ refers to its likeness to P. santalinus found in Asia.
Ecology and distributionNatural Habitat
P. santalinoides is a shade tolerant tree commonly found along riverine forests in Africa and tropical South America.
Native : Brazil, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal
Biophysical limitsAltitude: 200-500 m Mean annual temperature: 26 deg C Mean annual rainfall: 1 600 mm Soil type: Prefers well drained soils.
P. santalinoides is monoecious, flowering from December-March, fruits ripening between March-April.
Propagation and managementPropagation methodsDirect seeding, cuttings and rootstocks can be used to propagate P. santalinoides.
Pollarding, coppicing and lopping are recommended management practices for P. santalinoides.
Functional usesProductsFood: The leaves are eaten as a vegetable. Fodder: Livestock browse its young shoots and leaves. Timber: Wood white or yellow, not hard but termite-resistant. Gum or resin: Cuttings on the stem exude a red gum. Tannin or dyestuff: The bark contains tannins and dyes used for dyeing. Medicine: The tree bark is used as a stomach ache remedy.
Erosion control: An important species for soil conservation in water catchment areas. Shade or shelter: A good windbreak around settled areas and farms. Nitrogen fixation: P. santalinoides forms nodules with nitrogenase activity. The nodules are generally spherical but occasionally elongate. Soil improver: Leaf litter from P. santalinoides on decomposition slowly releases N and significantly increases soil exchangeable Ca and Mg in the soil. Ornamental: A beautiful tree with good gardening attributes its; showy flowers, beautiful foliage and form make it a suitable ornamental tree. Boundary or barrier or support: Poles from A. santalinoides are used for fencing.
BibliographyKeay RW. 1989. Trees of Nigeria. Claredon Press Oxford.
Ogan MT. 1990. The nodulation and nitrogenase activity of natural stands of mangrove legumes in a Nigerian swamp. Plant and Soil. 123(1): 125-129.
Tian G, Kang BT and Buissaard L. 1992. Effects of chemical composition on N, Ca and Mg release during incubation of leaves from selected agroforestry and fallow plant species. Biogeochemistry. 16(2): 103-119.
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