Afrocarpus mannii usambarensis (Pilg.) Silba
Nageia mannii usambarensis (Pilg.) Silba
Podocarpus usambarensis Pilg.
Afrocarpus usambarensis is an evergreen tree developing a domed crown at maturity; it can grow around 30 metres tall. The straight, cylindrical bole can be around 200cm in diameter[
The tree is harvested from the wild for its wood, which is used locally and also traded.
This species is under severe threat from illegal logging in the Chome Forest Reserve in Tanzania (evidence from aerial photography); the same type of saw pit exploitation is known from other locations. General deforestation and fires are also reducing the rainforest, which is usually limited in extent even naturally. This species is the most valuable and specifically targeted tree for (illegal) logging in this type of forest. The plant is classified as 'Endangered' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
East and central Tropical Africa - Dr Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania
Montane evergreen rainforest and dry evergreen forest, mixed with co-dominant angiosperms; at elevations from 1,500 - 3,000 metres[
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In the Nyungwe Natural Forest Reserve of Rwanda, Afrocarpus usambarensis occurs in evergreen tropical rainforest with a mean annual precipitation of 1,744mm, a two month dry season, and temperatures averaging 15°c, with negligible seasonal variation[
]. It can withstand short-lasting, light frosts with temperatures falling to between -1°c and +4.4°[
A dioecious species - both male and female forms must be grown if fruit and seed are required[
This species yields 'yellowwood' or podocarp wood. It is highly valued for its timber and is exploited mainly for sawn timber which is used in the construction of houses. The wood is yellowish in colour, straight-grained, and clean of knots and can be used for general carpentry and furniture as well[
This species, like most African podocarps, is highly valued for its timber, which is yellow, strong, and very suitable for construction[
Seed - remains viable for several years in normal storage.
The seed has two types of dormancy; a chemical, which is overcome by removing the fleshy layer and a mechanical, imposed by the hard seedcoat. To ensure a high and even germination the seedcoat must be broken and removed. This can be done in a vice but it is very time-consuming. Freshly collected seeds will normally germinate well, up to 60% in nine weeks, even with seedcoat but once the seeds have been dried, germination can take more than six months unless the seedcoat is removed. Some reports say that soaking in saturated salt water just before sowing can improve germination. Others recommend stratification between two layers of compost for 3 - 5 days in order to weaken the seedcoat[
]. The seeds are sown directly in nursery bags or in seedbeds in a mixture of compost and sand (1:1). The seed must be pushed into the mixture and covered with a fine layer of soil. The mixture must never be allowed to dry out[
Cuttings taken from end shoots (as opposed to cuttings from lateral branches and shoots) in order to produce plants with upright growth[
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