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(Filipino) : bignon (Ilokano), guest tree
(Indonesian) : (ka)timanga (Javanese)
(Malay) : temahai
(Papua New Guinea) : matakara
(Thai) : hatsakhun-thet
(Vietnamese) : c[aa]y tr[af]
Evergreen, bushy tree up to 20 m tall, with a dense rouded crown and upright pink sprays of flowers and fruits. Bole forking low, developing many suckers when old. Bark fissured, greyish outside, yellowish inside. Twigs softly hairy. Leaves simple, alternate; stipules ensiform to linier, about 8 mm long; petiole 2.5-30 cm long; blade ovate to heart-shaped, 5-30 cm x 4-25 cm, glabrous on both sides, apex pointed, secondary veins in 6-8 pairs, palmately nerved. Inflorescence a terminal, loose panicle protruding from the crown; flowers about 5 mm wide, pale pink; pedicel 2-10 mm long; bracteoles lanceolate, 2-4 mm long, pubescent; gynandrophore 4-7 mm long, pubescent; sepals 5, linear lanceolate, 6-8 mm long, pink, tomentose; petals 5, inconspicuous, upper one yellow; stamens 15, monaldelphous, 8-15 mm long, staminal tube broadly campanulate, adanate to gynandrophore, 5-lobed, each lobe with 3 anthers and alternating with staminodes; anthers sessile, extrorse; pistil with a 5-celled, pilose ovary, one style and a capitate, slightly 5-lobed stigma. Fruit a rounded, 5-lobed, membranous capsule, 2-2.5 cm in diameter, loculicidally dehiscent, each locule 1-2-seeded. Seed globose, whitish, warty, exalbuminous.
Ecology and distributionNatural Habitat
K. hospita is commonly found in abandoned clearings, grassland and secondary forest. In Indonesia and Malaysia its restricted to areas with pronounced dry season. In Indonesia it is common in teak forest. In Malaysia it occurs mainly along river banks of the northern part of the Peninsula. It is associated with riverside settlements where it is a vigorous component of secondary forest.
Occurs naturally throughout tropical Asia, from the Mascarene Islands to Polynesia. It is more common in Central and East Java than in West Java. In Peninsular Malaysia, K. hospita is naturally distributed along river banks, especially in Perak and in coastal areas near Melaka.
Biophysical limitsAltitude: 0-200(-500) m.
K. hospita flowers throughout the year. The fruits are more conspicuous than the flowers because of their abundance and size. Fruit production starts early, often in the third year after planting.
Propagation and managementPropagation methodsPropagation is by seed. Cuttings are sometimes said to be difficult to root, which is associated with the presence of an uninterrupted sclerenchym band in the pericycle. Other sources report that in the Solomon Islands the bark of the lower part of stakes used in yam plantations is removed to prevent rooting and the development of a shade-producing crown.
Plantation: K. hospita has been tested in alley-cropping system. It grows well on acid soils and provides a nutrient-rich mulch. Planting material is often easly available from natural stands. Planting in teak forest is not recommended, as it will overgrow the teak trees.
Functional usesProductsFibre: The fibrous bark is used for rough cordage. Food: The young leaves are eaten as a vegetable. Fuel: In the Solomon Islands K. hospita provides fuelwood. Medicine: The juice from the leaves makes a good eye wash. In Papua New Guinea and the Solom Islands a preparation from the cambium is used to treat pneumonia. The leaves are also used as a hair-was to get rid of lice. Other products: Its branches which are often twisted, are favoured for ornamental pieces such as knife handles. Straight branches are used for house rafters. Poles are used as stakes for yams (Dioscorea spp.).
Ornamental: The attractivenes of the pink-coloured panicles accounts for its spread as an ornamental.
Pests and diseasesPests: The wood is susceptible to drywood termites and powder post exist.
Additional InformationDevelopmentYoung trees have a fast growing, deeply penetrating main root and develop an extensive, superficial root system.
Timber: The wood shows a pinkish buff, is moderately fine in texture, soft, light, easy to season, work and finish. Its energy value is about 19 000 kJ/kg. Medicine and Poison: The leaves and bark contain cyanogenic compounds that are assumed to help to kill ectoparasites such as lice. Extracts of the leaves have shown anti-tumour activity against sarcoma in mice. A number of fatty acids wih a cyclopropenylic ring (scopoletin, kaempferol, and quercetin) have been isolated from the leaves.
Genetic resources and breeding: No germplasm collections and breeding programmes are known to exist.
K. hospita warrants further testing as a reforestation species, as it is common in abandoned clearings and secondary forest. It is also a promising ornamental, similar in habit to Hibiscus tiliaceus L.
BibliographyLatiff, A., 1997. Kleinhovia hospita L. In Faridah Hanum, I. & van der Maesen, L.J.G. (Eds.): Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 11. Auxiliary Plants. Prosea Foundation, Bogor, Indonesia. pp. 166-167.
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