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Useful Tropical Plants

Parkia bicolor

A.Chev.

Fabaceae

+ Synonyms

Parkia agboensis A.Chev.

Parkia klainei Pierre ex De Wild.

Parkia zenkeri Harms

Common Name: African Locust Bean

Parkia bicolor
Inflorescences starting to open
Photograph by: Tariq Stévart
Creative Commons License
Parkia bicolor Parkia bicolor Parkia bicolor

General Information

African locust bean is a briefly deciduous tree with an open, widely spreading crown; it can grow up to 40 metres tall. The cylindrical bole is usually straight but is sometimes twisted or curved. It can be up to 100cm, occasionally 150cm, in diameter, with thin and fairly spreading buttresses up to 3 metres tall[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
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Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The tree is mainly harvested from the wild - its wood is exploited commercially whilst it also provides food and medicines for the local population. It is sometimes cultivated for its edible pods and seeds[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
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Year
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Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. It is usually left when areas of forest are felled for agriculture due to the edible fruits and seeds it produces[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
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Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
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Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].
There are no major threats to this taxon, however, there are general threats to the habitats within the species range. These include logging, urbanization and agriculture. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2011)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References


Range

West tropical Africa - Sierra Leone to DR Congo, south to Angola.

Habitat

Found in a range of forest types, from wet evergreen to dry semi-deciduous. It is most common in mixed, moist, lowland, semi-evergreen rainforest, especially in well-drained places, but it can also be found along creeks and rivers and in swamps[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Properties

Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitSemi-deciduous Tree
Height35.00 m
PollinatorsBats
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of the moist tropics where it is found at elevations up to 1,200 metres[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. It occurs in regions with a mean annual rainfall of 2,000 - 4,000mm, and with a dry season of up to 3 months[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Requires a sunny position[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Seedlings can become 1 metre tall in their first year of growth[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
In Cote d'Ivoire, the mean annual growth in diameter is about 7mm for trees with a diameter at breast height of 10 - 70cm in natural forest stands, and 17mm per year in 14-year-old plantations[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Individual trees flower for 6 - 8 weeks. At night, the sterile flowers near the base of the inflorescence produce abundant nectar, which attracts bats. The flowers are probably most commonly pollinated by these bats, but dormice and pottos have also been recorded as feeding on the nectar[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Fruits develop in about 2 months[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Regeneration is fairly common in secondary forest[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Although many species within the family Fabaceae have a symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria, this species is said to be devoid of such a relationship and therefore does not fix atmospheric nitrogen[
755
Title
Nodulation Plants in GRIN Taxonomy
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ars-grin.gov/~sbmljw/cgi-bin/taxnodul.pl?language=en
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database listing plants that have either positive or negative reports on root and stem nodulation with nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
].

Edible Uses

The fruit pulp is occasionally eaten[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The fermented seeds serve as a condiment for seasoning sauces and soups, in the same way as those of Parkia biglobosa, although much less commonly so[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The seed oil has been analyzed and was found to be non-toxic. It resembles the seed oil from Parkia biglobosa. Arachidic acid is the most abundant fatty acid (slightly over 40%), other acids are behenic, stearic, palmitic, linoleic acids and the uncommon bicolargic acid[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Medicinal

Several parts of the tree are used in traditional medicine[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Preliminary phytochemical screening of the leaves have shown the presence of cardiac glycosides, tannins, alkaloids and steroids[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The roots contain gallic acid, lichexanthone and lupeol[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. A root extract has shown antibacterial activity[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

A bark maceration is applied to treat eye complaints[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. A decoction of the bark is used to treat toothache[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. The dried and powdered bark is applied externally to enhance the healing of wounds and sores[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. A vapour bath of the bark is used to treat rheumatism[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The leaf pulp is rubbed on smallpox and chicken pox[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The roots are used to treat measles, infertility in women and sexually transmitted diseases[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

The tree with its open, widely spreading crown is used as a shade tree for crops, and it is sometimes retained when cutting the forest for agricultural land[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Other Uses

The heartwood is pale yellow, sometimes with darker irregular streaks; it is indistinctly demarcated from the wide sapwood. The grain is variable, from straight to interlocked; texture coarse but even; fresh wood has an unpleasant odour[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. The wood is moderately light, soft and moderately tough; it is not durable and is liable to termite, pinhole borer and marine borer attacks[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. It saws moderately well and works satisfactorily with both hand and machine tool; it can be planed to a smooth and lustrous surface, but the wood is difficult to polish and varnish; the nailing and gluing properties are satisfactory[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. The wood yields about 57% sulphate pulp and is considered suitable for the paper industry[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. The wood is used for planks, carpentry and canoes. It is also suitable for light construction, interior trim, joinery, furniture, cabinet work, shipbuilding, toys, novelties, implements, turnery, boxes, crates, matches, veneer, plywood, hardboard, particle board and pulpwood[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Propagation

Seed - it loses its viability rapidly and should be sown fresh. Removal of the seed coat improves germination. Germination occurs 4 - 10 days after sowing. The seedlings are sensitive to damping off[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

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