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Useful Tropical Plants

Tieghemella heckelii

(A.Chev.) Pierre ex Dubard

Sapotaceae

+ Synonyms

Baillonella heckelii (A.Chev.) Baehni

Dumoria heckelii A.Chev

Mimusops heckelii (A.Chev.) Hutch. & Dalziel

Common Name: Baku

No Image.

General Information

Baku is a magnificent tree, the largest and most attractive of the forest of many parts of western Africa[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
]. It grows 50 metres tall or more, with a square bole 25 metres or more long that is angular at the base, ridged but not buttressed, cylindrical[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].
An important local food source, its seeds are commonly collected from the wild. The tree is also heavily exploited for its timber, which is traded internationally[
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 has been planted on a very small scale (almost 6 ha), mainly for seed oil production, in western Côte d’Ivoire with an average density of 357 stems/ha[
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 is often planted at a density of about 120 trees/ha, in association with coffee, cocoa, rubber or rice, and at field margins and in secondary forest following clearance of undergrowth[
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.
].
Overexploitation in some countries is leading to serious population declines, notably in Ghana and in Liberia, where there is a possibility of the species becoming extinct. Regeneration may also be limited in parts of its range because of the reduction in elephant numbers and other seed dispersers. The plant is classified as 'Endangered' 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

Dust produced from sawing the wood may cause irritation to the skin and mucous membranes[
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 has been suggested that this is caused by the presence of saponins or the contact allergen 2,6-dimethoxy-1,4-benzoquinone[
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 highly haemolytic saponin has been isolated from the wood[
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.
].

Botanical References


Range

Western tropical Africa - Sierra Leone to Ghana.

Habitat

Often an emergent tree of the high forest, it is found in moist evergreen and semi-deciduous forests[
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.
]. There is a strong preference for undisturbed 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.
].

Properties

Conservation StatusEndangered
Edibility Rating *  *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *  *
HabitTree
Height50.00 m
Growth RateMedium
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details


Prefers a heavy soil[
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.
]. Young trees are very tolerant of shade, but can survive in full sun, whilst older trees need 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.
].
Initial growth of seedlings is fast, up to 70 cm in 4 months, but then often ceases while a strong taproot (c. 20 cm long) is formed[
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.
].
Growth of the young trees is reported as slow, but strongly depends on the amount of light the plant receives. Under conditions above 40% of full light, growth may be up to 1 metre per year; whilst when light levels fall below 10% growth is almost nil[
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 Ghana, young trees have been reported to be 1 - 2 metres tall after 1 - 1.5 years in a nursery[
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.
]. However, in western Cote d'Ivoire, trees have been reported to be 3 metres tall after 4 years and 9 - 11 metres tall after 20 years with a stem diameter of 13 - 16cm. Occasional specimens have even reached 28 metres tall after 21 years with a diameter of 37cm. For 35 - 80- year-old trees the mean annual increment is 4 - 8mm[
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.
].
Trees start flowering and fruiting after about 17 years, but sometimes in as little as 10 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.
]. A large tree produces approximately 3,000 - 4,000 fruits at a time[
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 fruits are eaten by elephants, which are probably the main seed dispersers; bush-pigs are also reported to feed on the fruits[
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.
].

Edible Uses

The seed kernels (cotyledons, known as 'baco') are rich in an edible fat known as 'dumori butter' or 'makore butter'[
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 is locally popular as a cooking or seasoning oil and often preferred to palm oil[
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 seeds are 60 - 75mm long, 1 - 3 being contained in each large, pulpy fruit[
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 kernel comprises about 60% oil by weight[
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 oil is yellowish and semi-fluid, has no distinct flavour or taste (occasionally slightly spicy), and consists of about 51% oleic acid, 43% stearic acid, 3.5% palmitic acid and 2.5% linoleic 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

The bark is reportedly effective for treating blennorrhoea and 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.
].

Young buds are used to treat snake bites[
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 fat from the seed is applied as a pomade to the body and hair, and used in soap production[
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 resembles African mahogany (Khaya and Entandrophragma spp.), but the texture is finer. The heartwood is pinkish-, purplish- or reddish-brown with a silky lustre, often with a decorative figure in the form of flames or stripes; it is very distinctly demarcated from the up to 8 cm wide band of pinkish white to greyish brown sapwood. The grain is straight or interlocked, texture fine and even. The wood is medium-weight; moderately hard; it is rated as one of the most durable African timbers, being resistant to termites and fungi although damage by pinhole borers and powder-post beetles has been recorded occasionally. Although it is resistant to marine borers in temperate waters, the wood is not very durable in tropical (especially brackish) waters. The wood is somewhat difficult to work due to the presence of silica - blunting effects are moderately severe when sawing, and stellite-tipped sawteeth are recommended; it finishes well, staining and polishing give good results; pre-boring for nailing and screwing is recommended to avoid splitting; gluing properties are good; the timber can be peeled satisfactorily. The heartwood is very difficult to impregnate, the sapwood moderately easy[
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.
]. Traded as makore or cherry mahogany, the wood is used for furniture, exterior and interior construction, flooring, doors, vehicle frames, sports goods, railway sleepers, turnery and sculptures[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
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.
,
848
Title
Tropix 7
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://tropix.cirad.fr/en
Publisher
CIRAD
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line guide to the timbers of 245 species of trees.
]. It makes a good and decorative veneer, often used to face plywood, especially for marine uses[
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 - best sown as soon as it is ripe since the viability decreases rapidly once the seeds have been removed from the fruit[
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 the nursery, seeds are usually planted at a spacing of 40 cm × 40 cm under light shade. Seedbeds should be watered well. Germination is over 90% in optimal conditions, and without pre-treatment[
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.
]. Germination begins after about 4 weeks, most seeds having germinated after 10 weeks, but it may continue for 16 weeks[
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.
].
Saplings of about 2.5 years old and 1 - 1.5 metres tall are planted out into the field usually at the beginning of the rainy season, but in western Côte d’Ivoire 0.5 year-old seedlings are used[
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 seeds are heavy, there are 30 - 50 seeds per kg[
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.
]. Rodents may cause considerable damage to seeds and seedlings (cotyledons)[
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.
].
Air layering. In a test, 39% of branches rooted after 8 weeks[
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.
]
Cuttings. The average rate of rooting of branch cuttings after 6 months was 73%[
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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