Written on 02 May 2014, 08.17
hildegardia-barteri-okurugbedu-yoruba Hildegardia barteri okurugbedu (Yoruba) This spectacular rainforest tree reaches about 30 m high. It belongs to subfamily Sterculiaceae within the mallow family, Malvaceae, and is a fast-growing and highly specialized species, colonizing rock outcrops and exposed areas with shallow soils. The large heart-shaped leaves and green bark enable it to take full advantage of high light levels in these open areas during the rainy season. Then, as temperatures and light levels increase to blistering...
Written on 16 October 2013, 09.09
hoslundia-opposita-orange-bird-berry-efinrin-ajagbo-efinrin-oso-yoruba Hoslundia opposita orange bird berry, efínrín-àjàgbò, efínrín-osó (Yoruba) This sprawling shrub of the mint family (Lamiaceae) is found in most parts of tropical Africa, including Madagascar, especially at the edges of forest and bush, and along paths in both forest and savanna zones where the soil is deep and moist. Though scattered in distribution, it is locally common as is evident in forest areas of IITA-Ibadan. On average it reaches 3-4 m high and is easily recognized in the rainy season whe...
Written on 05 February 2013, 21.15
caesalpinia-bonduc-ayo-bonduc-molucca-nut-nicker-nut Caesalpinia bonduc (ayo, bonduc, Molucca nut, nicker nut) The ayo plant is a huge sprawling shrub with extremely prickly stems up to 15 m long. It forms impenetrable thickets in open disturbed areas of forest and bush in West Africa and can be planted as hedging. The leaves are bright yellow-green and up to 80 cm long, divided into leaflets which in turn are subdivided into pointed elliptic leaflets up to 4.5cm long. Spikes of yellow five-petalled flowers are produced throughout the year,...
Written on 26 September 2012, 16.06
yoruba-indigo-philenoptera-cyanescens-syn-lonchocarpus-cyanescens Yoruba indigo (Philenoptera cyanescens syn. Lonchocarpus cyanescens) The Yoruba indigo vine, known locally as èlú, is a large forest liana but if unable to climb because there is no support, it has a more shrubby habit. In cultivation this is an advantage as it is easier to harvest. This species belongs to the third largest family of flowering plants, known as the legumes – Leguminosae or Fabaceae – and to a group within this family known as the pea-flowered or papilionoid legum...
Written on 08 August 2012, 01.51
myrianthus-arboreus-cecropiaceae-soup-tree-ibisere Myrianthus arboreus Cecropiaceae (soup tree, ìbisèrè) There is no mistaking this tree with its enormous leaves that reach 70cm in diameter, with 7 to 9 leaflets up to 50cm long and 25cm across. Commonly known as the soup tree, young leaves are an ingredient of a very popular soup in southeast Nigeria. The leaves are also an ingredient of medicine to treat dysentery and relieve fever in infants, and the leaf stalks are mashed as a poultice for boils.  The timber is no good for construction ...
Written on 08 June 2012, 22.45
pycnanthus-angolensis-myristicaceae-african-nutmeg-akomu Pycnanthus angolensis Myristicaceae (African nutmeg, àkomu) This fast-growing evergreen tree, up to 35 m tall, is related to true nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) which originated from the Indonesian Molucca Islands but is now grown commercially in various parts of the tropics. The fruits of the two species are very similar in general appearance, splitting open when ripe to reveal a glossy brown seed (the nutmeg) inside a red aril – the part which in M. fragrans yields the spice known as mace.In size t...
Written on 11 April 2012, 10.30
camwood-baphia-nitida Camwood (Baphia nitida) This small understorey tree, known as ìyèròsùn in Yoruba, occurs in most West African rainforests from Sierra Leone to Cameroon. It reaches about 9 m (30 ft) and produces small, fragrant pea flowers, white with yellow centres, from February to May. These are followed by pointed pods, 7cm (3 ins) long, which ripen in October and split open to release one or two dark brown, shiny seeds. The dark red wood is extremely hard and heavy and is traditionally used to make dru...
Written on 27 February 2012, 08.36
strophanthus-hispidus Strophanthus hispidus Known as ságèrè or iságèrè in Yoruba, this is one of several different kinds of Strophanthus – arrow poison plants - found in the IITA Forest Reserve. Traditionally this species is the most important arrow poison in West and Central Africa... It was often cultivated for the purpose by pruning the long climbing stems to form a bush which produced more fruits. The compact habit also made it easier to harvest the long woody fruits intact, otherwise they would ripen high in the ...


African whitewood (Triplochiton scleroxylon)

The African whitewood (Triplochiton scleroxylon), known as arere in Yoruba and obeche in Bini, is a large fast-growing tree, reaching 65 m (213 ft), usually with a straight trunk and buttresses up to about 8 m (26 ft) high. It belongs to the family Sterculiaceae and is common in semi-deciduous rainforests from Sierra Leone to Gabon and Congo, including secondary forests where it may fill gaps as a pioneer species.

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