Overview

Comprehensive Description

Botanical Description

Bole: Straight/slightly buttressed. Large/small. To 36 m. Bark: Dark brown/black/grey. Scaling in squares/longitudinally fissured. Slash: Pink; discolouring orange/brown. Smells of cyanide. Leaf: Simple. Alternate. Petiole: 1.5 cm. Channelled. Lamina: Small/medium. To 15 × 5.2 cm. Elliptic/ovate. Cuneate/rounded. Acute/acuminate/obtuse. Serrate. Glabrous. Domatia: Absent. Glands: Absent. Stipules: Small. Linear 0.2 cm long. Falling. Thorns & Spines: Absent. Flower: White/cream. Axillary raceme 3.5 - 8 cm long. Hermaphrodite. Fruit: Red/red-brown ellipsoid drupe 0.7 cm long; 1.1 cm in diameter.
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Derivation of specific name

africana: African
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Source: Flora of Zimbabwe

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Distribution

Range Description

Montane Africa (to East and South Africa) and Madagascar. This species is one of about ten Pan-African montane tree species (including e.g., Agauria salicifolia, Ilex mitis and Myrica arborea) and is not remotely in danger of extinction, so long as some montane forest survives somewhere within its enormous range.
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Eastern Arc Mountains; Lake Malawi region; Lake Tanganyika region; Lake Victoria region; Madagascar; northern Tanzania; southern Africa; tropical Africa
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Pygeum africanum Hook. f.:
Cameroon (Africa & Madagascar)
Honduras (Mesoamerica)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Source: Missouri Botanical Garden

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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Prunus africana (Hook. f.) Kalkman:
Angola (Africa & Madagascar)
Congo (Brazzaville) (Africa & Madagascar)
Cameroon (Africa & Madagascar)
Ivory Coast (Africa & Madagascar)
Kenya (Africa & Madagascar)
Malawi (Africa & Madagascar)
Madagascar (Africa & Madagascar)
Sudan (Africa & Madagascar)
Tanzania (Africa & Madagascar)
Uganda (Africa & Madagascar)
South Africa (Africa & Madagascar)
Zambia (Africa & Madagascar)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
  • Gibbs Russell, G. E., W. G. Welman, E. Reitief, K. L. Immelman, G. Germishuizen, B. J. Pienaar, M. v. Wyk & A. Nicholas. 1987. List of species of southern African plants. Mem. Bot. Surv. S. Africa 2(1–2): 1–152(pt. 1), 1–270(pt. 2).   http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1371 External link.
  • Kalkman, C. 1965. The old world species of Prunus subg. Laurocerasus including those formerly referred to Pygeum. Blumea 13: 1–115.   http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/25178 External link.
  • Quansah, N. 1999. Prunus africana: harvest and resource management in Madagascar. Med. Pl. Conserv. 5: 18.   http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1009966 External link.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Montane forest, usually at about 1800-2200 m alt.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Prunus africana

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Prunus africana

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 23
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
A1cd

Version
2.3

Year Assessed
1998
  • Needs updating

Assessor/s
World Conservation Monitoring Centre

Reviewer/s

Contributor/s

Justification
An unofficial appeal against this listing was published in The Plants of Mount Cameroon. A Conservation Checklist by Martin Cheek (1998). In this he argues that the species is not remotely in danger of extinction, so long as some montane forest survives somewhere within its enormous range. He suggests a rating of LR/nt at best. Further consultation with all parties concerned is required.
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Population

Population
Locally it can be very common.
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Threats

Major Threats
Harvesting of bark for the European medicinal market. On Mt Cameroon as with some other areas within the range of this species, many trees have died as a result of girdling caused by bark removal. The bark from the trees on Mt Cameroon is transported to the Plantecam factory at Mutengene where it is extracted to produce a powder for export to a company in France. A great deal of attention, and funding has been paid by International Conservation organizations to investigate and address this harvest and perhaps for this reason the species has received a high conservation rating. In the opinion of this author, it merits a "Lower Risk, near threatened" at best.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
The Mt. Cameroon Project has already conducted a detailed survey of this species on the mountain and has been energetic in developing methods for propagating and replanting it.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

timber; firewood; building; household; tools; food; shade
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