According to Kew Species Profiles[KSP]
Kew Species Profiles
- General Description
Gilbertiodendron dewevrei is a large, evergreen tree that dominates forests in parts of central Africa.
A large, evergreen tree of the African tropical humid forest, Gilbertiodendron dewevrei is an example of a species that can grow gregariously. That is to say, numerous individuals may grow together in the absence, or virtual absence, of large trees of any other species. Consequently, there are areas of forest in the Congo basin that are dominated by G. dewevrei, sometimes in almost pure stands. A handful of other tropical African forest trees from the pea and bean family (Leguminosae; Fabaceae sensu APG III 2009), such as Cynometra alexandri and Julbernardia seretii, share this tendency to form forests dominated by a single species.
- Species Profile
Geography and distribution
Gilbertiodendron dewevreiis found in Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
Overview:A large tree of lowland humid African forest, Gilbertiodendron dewevrei is often found in swampy areas. Despite growing up to 45 m tall and 2 m in diameter, it does not have buttresses (woody fins at the base of the tree to help support it).
Leaves: The leaves are compound, with 2–5 pairs of leaflets and have conspicuous stipules (leaf-like appendages) at the base of the leaf stem. It is an evergreen species and replaces its leaves almost continuously throughout the year. The young leaf shoots are reddish-purple in colour.
Flowers: Each flower has two bracteoles, three stamens (male parts) and a single large bright red petal; a colour which does not occur often in the genus. Most other species of Gilbertiodendron have a single white petal.
The trees usually flower once a year, but sometimes they skip a year. All Gilbertiodendron dewevrei trees in the forest flower simultaneously; during flowering the air is filled with the scent of the flowers and the ground is covered in the red petals.
The woody pods (fruits) are large (up to 30 cm long), flattened and covered in brown hairs. There is usually a single longitudinal nerve along the pod face near the upper margin. When pods open at maturity, they do so with explosive force. Nevertheless, because the seeds are large and heavy, they do not travel far. It has been estimated that populations of Gilbertiodendron dewevreimigrate only about 100 m every 200-300 years through successful seed dispersal and germination.
UsesThe wood is used in west-central Africa for construction work (such as boat-building) and other forms of carpentry such as making agricultural tools, furniture and toys. In traditional medicine, a decoction of the bark is used to treat diarrhoea and dysentery and to heal sores. The seeds are eaten in times of food shortage; they are also eaten by forest rodents, elephants and gorillas.
This species at Kew
Dried and alcohol-preserved specimens of Gilbertiodendron dewevrei are held in Kew’s Herbarium where they are available to researchers by appointment.
Specimens of the wood and bark are held in the Economic Botany Collection in the Sir Joseph Banks Building and are available to researchers by appointment.
Discoveries in Congo
During botanical inventory work in Congo (Kinshasa), Kew botanist Xander van der Burgt noted that local tribesmen constructed umbrellas from the large juvenile leaves of this species, sewing the leaflets together with climbing stems from other plants. He also noted that their children made toys out of the large seeds.
Kew's work on this genus
Kew scientist Xander van der Burgt has recently published an article on the Gilbertiodendron ogoouense species complex, in which eight new species are described and one species is reinstated and transferred to Gilbertiodendron.
Read the article on the Gilbertiodendron ogoouense species complex
- Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Gabon
- Lowland humid forest.
- Not assessed according to IUCN Red List criteria, but this widespread species is likely to be of Least Concern (LC).
According to Flora of West Tropical Africa[FWTA]
Caesalpiniaceae, Hutchinson and Dalziel. Flora of West Tropical Africa 1:2. 1958
- Forest tree, to 125 ft. high, with clear bole and no buttresses
- Bark yellowish-brown, scaly
- Petals wine-red
- Gregarious, often in swamp forest.
Gilbertiodendron dewevrei (De Wild.) J.Léonard appears in other Kew resources:
Herbarium Catalogue (27 records)
|Date Identified||Reference||Herbarium Specimen||Type Status|
|Jul 1, 2009||Cheek, M. , Cameroon||K000338966|
|Oct 1, 2007||Cheek, M. , Cameroon||K000437182|
|Oct 1, 2007||Mackinder, B. , Cameroon||K000436590|
|Oct 1, 2007||Mackinder, B. , Cameroon||K000437436|
|Oct 1, 2007||Mackinder, B. , Cameroon||K000436688|
|Oct 1, 2007||Cheek, M. , Cameroon||K000338218|
|Oct 1, 2007||Cheek, M. , Cameroon||K000436129|
|Mar 1, 2007||Burgt, X.M. van der , Cameroon||K000460337|
|Mar 1, 2007||Burgt, X.M. van der , Cameroon||K000460338|
|Nov 1, 2005||Cheek, M. , Cameroon||K000338956|
|Nov 1, 2005||Darbyshire, I. , Cameroon||K000338957|
|Nov 1, 2005||Mackinder, B. , Cameroon||K000338959|
|Nov 1, 2005||Cheek, M. , Cameroon||K000338960|
|Nov 1, 2005||Mackinder, B. , Cameroon||K000338963|
|Nov 1, 2005||Mackinder, B. , Cameroon||K000338964|
|Oct 1, 2005||Cheek, M. , Cameroon||K000338230|
|Oct 1, 2005||Cheek, M. , Cameroon||K000338251|
|May 1, 2005||Mackinder, B. , Cameroon||K000338192|
|May 1, 2005||Cheek, M. , Cameroon||K000338193|
|Jan 1, 1976||Letouzey, R. , Cameroon||K000092701|
|Troupin, G. , Congo, DRC||9268.000|
|Troupin, G. , Congo, DRC||9270.000|
|Thomas, D.W. , Cameroon||K000092702|
|Fay, J.M. , Central African Republic||63256.000|
|Troupin, G. , Congo, DRC||11473.000|
|Mildbraed , Cameroon||K000417633||isotype|
|Mildbraed , Cameroon||K000417634|
First published in Bull. Jard. Bot. État Bruxelles 22: 190 (1952)
-  Sita, P. & Moutsambote, J.-M. (2005) Catalogue des plantes vasculaires du Congo , ed. sept. 2005: 1-158. ORSTOM, Centre de Brazzaville.
-  Govaerts, R. (2003) World Checklist of Seed Plants Database in ACCESS G: 1-40325
-  Lock, J.M. (1989) Legumes of Africa a check-list . Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
-  Angiosperm Phylogeny Group. An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG III. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 161: 105-121.
-  (2008) Strelitzia 22: 1-279. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
-  Lewis, G., Schrire, B., Mackinder, B. & Lock, M. (eds.) (2005). Legumes of the World. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
-  Blake, S. & Fay, M. (1997). Seed production by Gilbertiodendron dewevrei in the Nouabale-Ndoki National Park, Congo, and its implications for large mammals. Journal of Tropical Ecology 14: 885–891.
-  Burkill, H. M. (1995). The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa. Edition 2. Vol. 3. Families J-L. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
-  Fl. Congo Belge 3: 429, photo 15.
-  in Bull. Jard. Bot. Brux. 22: 190 (1952)
Flora of West Tropical Africa
International Plant Names Index
The International Plant Names Index (2016). Published on the Internet http://www.ipni.org
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Kew Species Profiles
Kew Species Profiles
World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
World Checklist of Selected Plant Families(2016). Published on the Internet http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
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