Triplochiton scleroxylon

Picture of Triplochiton scleroxylon fruits and seeds. credits: O.Olubodun

Triplochiton scleroxylon

Scientific Name: Triplochiton scleroxylon K. Schum.
Family: Malvaceae.
Distribution/conservation status: widely distributed in forest and transition zones, both in evergreen and semi-deciduous rainforest, secondary and disturbed forests where it is often gregarious in clearings. Though assessed as LC by the IUCN Red List, it is declining due to overexploitation for timber and forest clearance.
Common Names: African whitewood (English), Okpobo (Igbo), Arere (Yoruba), Obeche (Edo).
Fruits/seeds: clusters of 1-5 brown, winged carpels.
Fruiting time: February – March but not annually.
Seed collection: fruits are wind-dispersed but many fall under and around the parent tree where they are easily collected. Remove wing to extract seed.
Type of seed: recalcitrant.
Sowing method: sow in nursery pots covering with a thin layer of soil.
Sowing medium: forest soil.
Germination period: 7 – 14 days.
Germination percentage: 60%.
Growth and development: seedlings require shade and frequent watering. Growth is quite fast and seedlings can be planted out 8 weeks after germination.
Notes: examine fruits carefully for tiny holes, indicating insect damage which prevents germination. They are attacked by fruit-boring weevil Apion ghanaensis and by pathogens such as smut fungus Mycosyrinx sp. Crickets and grasshoppers can cause severe damage to seedlings. Larvae of the silk moth Anaphe venata may defoliate trees.

Picture of Triplochiton scleroxylon. credits: D.Bown

Triplochiton scleroxylon. credits: D.Bown

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