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Useful Tropical Plants

Terminalia superba

Engl. & Diels

Combretaceae

+ Synonyms

Terminalia altissima A.Chev.

Common Name: Shinglewood

Terminalia superba
Large street trees
Photograph by: Scamperdale
Creative Commons License
Terminalia superba Terminalia superba Terminalia superba Terminalia superba

General Information

Shinglewood is a large, deciduous tree, growing up to 50 metres tall, with an open, generally flattened crown consisting of a few whorled branches[
303
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World Agroforesty Centre
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An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. The cylindrical bole is long and straight with large, flat buttresses 6 metres above the soil surface, and up to 1.5 metres in diameter[
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An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
The tree is one of the major timbers of west Africa, being commonly gathered from the wild and often exported[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
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An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. It also provides medicines, dys and fuel for the local population. The tree is often grown in plantations, both within its native range and in various other tropical countries[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
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http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
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An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Known Hazards

Although the timber is widely used in the wood industry, skin irritations are rare. However, there have been various reports as follows:-
Splinters of the wood can cause wounds that become increasingly inflamed and resist healing[
407
Title
BoDD (Botanical Dermatology Database)
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://bodd.cf.ac.uk/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Brief notes on a very wide range of plants that have reports of causing harm to the skin.
].
Vesicular dermatitis of the fingers, apparently caused by the sawdust, has been observed[
407
Title
BoDD (Botanical Dermatology Database)
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://bodd.cf.ac.uk/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Brief notes on a very wide range of plants that have reports of causing harm to the skin.
].
Contact dermatitis from the wood dust in ten Swiss workers has been reported[
407
Title
BoDD (Botanical Dermatology Database)
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://bodd.cf.ac.uk/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Brief notes on a very wide range of plants that have reports of causing harm to the skin.
].
The wood can also cause respiratory disorders such as asthma and bleeding of the nose and gums, and also contact urticaria[
407
Title
BoDD (Botanical Dermatology Database)
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://bodd.cf.ac.uk/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Brief notes on a very wide range of plants that have reports of causing harm to the skin.
].

Botanical References


Range

West Tropical Africa - Guinea Bissau to Cameroon and DR Congo, south to Angola.

Habitat

A characteristic canopy tree of tropical high secondary forest areas with a dry season of about 4 months[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
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Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
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Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Properties

Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *  *
HabitDeciduous Tree
Height40.00 m
PollinatorsBees, Flies
Self-fertileNo
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of the moist, tropical lowlands, where it is found at elevations from 150 - 1,000 metres[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
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http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
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Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. It grows best in areas where the mean maximum and minimum annual temperatures are within the range 22 - 30°c, though it can tolerate 18 - 36°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
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Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
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Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,200 - 1,800mm, though can tolerate from 1,000 - 2,000mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].It is mainly found in areas with a dry season of around 4 months, but it does not respond well to long dry spells, especially when growing on sandy soils[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
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Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
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Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
Requires a sunny position - young trees grow straight and vigorously in full light, particularly if their crown is free, but they stagnate under shade[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
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Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
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Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. Grows best on rich, well-drained alluvial soils, but is also found on other types such as lateritic sands, gravel and clays, lava, black basaltic clays and crystalline soils[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
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Author
 
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http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
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Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. The tree will withstand occasional flooding[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 6.5 - 7.5, tolerating 6 - 8.5[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
A fast-growing tree. Annual growth rates of 2.5 metres in height have been reported for the first 10 years after planting, whilst 4 year old trees in in Ghana have reached a height of 14 metres with boles 22cm in diameter[
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.
].
Under good conditions, planted trees may reach a bole diameter of 50cm in 20 years[
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 average annual increment in heartwood volume in plantations has been estimated at 14.5 cubic meters per hectare[
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 tree reaches sexual maturity late and at variable ages, for example at the age of 15 years in Cote d'Ivoire and 23 years in Congo[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
In the oldest stands in Congo, which are now 30 years old, a spacing of 12 x 12 metres appears to be appropriate, and trees are straight and vigorous[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
Natural pruning is excellent and starts early, at 3 - 4 years, and from then onwards the degree of self-pruning has a strong effect on the health and future value of the tree[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
It coppices readily from tree stumps, bears copious amounts of seed every year, and under plantation conditions achieves sexual maturity after 6 - 10 years[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
The rotation period as applied in favourable locations in Africa is 40 years[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
The root system is frequently fairly shallow, and as the tree ages the taproot disappears[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
The tree is frequently struck by lightning, presumably because of its dominant position in the forest. It is very fire sensitive[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

The bark is anodyne, astringent and expectorant. Decoctions and macerations are used in traditional medicine to treat wounds, sores, haemorrhoids, diarrhoea, dysentery, malaria, vomiting, gingivitis, bronchitis, aphthae, swellings and ovarian troubles[
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 leaves are diuretic[
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 laxative[
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 bark contains gallic acid and methyl gallate, which have shown significant glycosidase inhibition 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 methanol extract of the stem bark showed vasorelaxant and antidiabetic activities[
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.
].
Ethanol extracts of the roots and stems showed distinct trypanocidal activity against both drug-sensitive as well as multi-drug-resistant strains of Trypanosoma congolense and Trypanosoma brucei[
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:

Terminalia superba is classified as a pioneer species and usually regenerates well after forest exploitation. Seedlings are often abundant along roadsides and in medium-sized forest gaps[
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 are tolerant of full exposure to the sun and so can be used in the initial stages of reforestation projects[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
The tree is occasionally used as a shade tree in banana, cocoa and coffee 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.
].

Other Uses

A yellow dye is obtained from the bark[
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.
]. Reddish brown and black dyes can also be obtained if iron-rich mud or iron salts are used as a mordant[
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 can be used to dye wraps, matting and basket fibres[
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 quite variable and three types of commercial timber are recognised from this tree:- white or straw coloured; black, olive-grey to blackish-brown; and multicoloured, with dark and light streaks. The heartwood is not clearly demarcated from the 12 - 15cm wide band of sapwood. After exposure to the air, it darkens slightly, verging on a tanned appearance, and resembling a light oak. The wood is light to medium weight; soft to moderately hard; somewhat weak; not durable, being liable to attacks by pin-hole borers, powder-post beetles, longhorn beetles, termites and marine borers. It air dries rapidly with little degrade; rates of shrinkage are moderate; once dry, the wood is stable in service. The wood is easy to saw and work with both hand and machine tools; the blunting effect on cutting edges is slight; it finishes well, but the use of a filler is necessary; it holds nails and screws well, but has some tendency to splitting; gluing is satisfactory; it accepts paints and varnish well. The wood can be made into good-quality veneer by slicing as well as rotary peeling. The steam-bending properties are poor. The wood is valued for interior joinery, door posts and panels, mouldings, furniture, office-fittings, crates, matches, and particularly for veneer and plywood. It is suitable for light construction, light flooring, ship building, interior trim, vehicle bodies, sporting goods, toys, novelties, musical instruments, food containers, vats, turnery, hardboard, particle board and pulpwood. It is used locally for temporary house construction, planks, roof shingles, canoes, paddles, coffins, boxes and domestic utensils[
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.
,
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
It is suitable for paper making, although the paper is of moderate quality[
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 has potential importance in paper making, offering the capability of producing a relatively wide range of pulps[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
The wood is used for fuel and for making charcoal[
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 - no pre-treatment is needed and seed should preferably be fresh at sowing, covered with fine soil and watered morning and evening[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
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Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
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Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. Germination takes place in 2 - 4 weeks, and temporary shading is necessary[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
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ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. The root develops clearly as a taproot[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].In the nursery, seedlings are usually slightly shaded until they are 2 months old. Inoculation with endomycorrhizae enhances the growth of seedlings by about 25% after 10 weeks. Seedlings are transplanted into nursery beds after 6 - 7 weeks when 5 - 8cm tall, spacing them 20cm × 50cm apart. This should be done carefully to avoid damage to the taproot. They often remain in the nursery for at least one year until they have reached a height of about 2 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.
].
Direct sowing is rarely done and not very effective; the normal method is raising nursery stock[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
The seeds store well in sealed containers with a little desiccant at 2 - 4°c, giving 40 - 60% germination after 1 - 2 years, but poor storage conditions reduce germination to about 30% after 1 year[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
There is no difficulty in grafting the species, and this has been practised in Congo since 1970. Here the optimum period was found to be mid-August to mid-September before the rise of sap and recurrence of the rains, with scions grafted at once, or transported under refrigeration[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

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