Commercial Timbers

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H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Berlinia spp. (Ebiara)

Nomenclature etc. FABACEAE-CAESALPINIOIDEAE. Berlinia bracteosa, B. confusa, B. grandiflora etc. Trade and local names: sarkpei (LR); pocouli, melegba (CI); ekpogoi (NG); abem, essabem (CM); ebiara (GA); m'possa (CD, AO); berlinia (trade). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Tree. Geographic distribution: tropical Africa.

General. Growth ring boundaries distinct. Growth ring limits markey by marginal parenchyma bands. Heartwood basically brown to yellow, with streaks. Sapwood colour distinct from heartwood colour. Density 0.58–0.76 g/cm³.

Vessels. Wood diffuse-porous. Vessels arranged in no specific pattern, in multiples, commonly short (2–3 vessels) radial rows. Average tangential vessel diameter 185–250 µm. Average number of vessels/mm² 3–8. Average vessel element length 150–300 µm. Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) 4–7 µm, vestured. Vessel-ray pits with distinct borders, similar to intervessel pits. Helical thickenings absent. Other deposits in heartwood vessels present (yellowish to brown).

Tracheids and fibres. Fibres of medium wall thickness. Average fibre length 1100–1900 µm. Fibre pits mainly restricted to radial walls, simple to minutely bordered. Fibres non-septate.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma banded. Axial parenchyma bands marginal (or seemingly marginal), fine, up to three cells wide. Axial parenchyma paratracheal. Paratracheal axial parenchyma aliform, or confluent. Aliform parenchyma lozenge. Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand 4–8.

Rays. Rays 8–11 per tangential mm, exclusively uniseriate or multiseriate (also if only few), 1–2 cells wide. Rays composed of a single cell type (homocellular), or two or more cell types (heterocellular); homocellular ray cells procumbent. Heterocellular rays with square and upright cells restricted to marginal rows, mostly 1 marginal row of upright or square cells. Tile cells absent.

Storied structures. Storied structure absent.

Secretory structures. Intercellular canals present, traumatic origin, axial type, in long tangential lines or in short tangential lines.

Mineral inclusions. Crystals present, prismatic, located in axial parenchyma cells. Crystal-containing axial parenchyma cells chambered. Number of crystals per cell or chamber one. Cystoliths absent. Silica not observed.

Illustrations. • Transverse section. Berlinia grandiflora. • Tangential section 1. Berlinia bracteosa -- example for species with uniseriate rays. • Tangential section 2. Berlinia confusa -- example for species with multiseriate rays. • Radial section. Berlinia bracteosa.


The interactive key allows access to the character list, illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting specified attributes, summaries of attributes within groups of taxa, and geographical distribution.

Cite this publication as: ‘Richter, H.G., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2000 onwards. Commercial timbers: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval. In English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. Version: 25th June 2009. http://delta-intkey.com’.

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