Commercial Timbers


H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Gossweilerodendron balsamiferum (Verm.) Harms (Agba, tola)

Nomenclature etc. FABACEAE-CAESALPINIOIDEAE. Syn.: Pterygopodium balsamiferum Verm. Trade and local names: agba (DE, FR, NL, GB, NG); tola (FR, IT, CG, CD); tola blanc (FR); tola branca (DE, AO, CG); agbara, moboron (NG); avulu, boana, bokuku, bolimba, ntola, ntuba, mpele, mupaka (CG, CD); alop, mpele (AO); sinedom (CM); emolo (GA). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Description based on 4 specimens. Tree. Geographic distribution: tropical Africa.

General. Growth ring boundaries distinct. Heartwood basically brown to yellow brown to red (pinkish brown). Sapwood colour similar to heartwood colour. Odour distinct. Density 0.45–0.55 g/cm³.

Vessels. Wood diffuse-porous. Vessels in multiples, commonly short (2–3 vessels) radial rows. Average tangential vessel diameter 90–130–155 µm. Average number of vessels/mm² 6–15. Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) 4–5 µm, vestured. Vessel-ray pits with distinct borders, similar to intervessel pits, located throughout the ray. Other deposits in heartwood vessels present (orange brown).

Tracheids and fibres. Fibres of medium wall thickness. Average fibre length 400–1000–1800 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 apotracheal and paratracheal. Apotracheal axial parenchyma diffuse. Paratracheal axial parenchyma vasicentric, aliform, and confluent. Aliform parenchyma lozenge. Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand 2–3.

Rays. Rays 5–7 per tangential mm, multiseriate (also if only few), 2 cells wide. Rays composed of a single cell type (homocellular); homocellular ray cells procumbent.

Secretory structures. Intercellular canals present, axial type or radial type, in short tangential lines and diffusely arranged. Radial canals extremely rare.

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

Illustrations. • Transverse section. Gossweilerodendron balsamiferum. ---aC. Note axial intercellular canals (aC). aC. aC. aC---. • Tangential section. Gossweilerodendron balsamiferum. Inset: Radial intercellular canal occurring very infrequently. Note lack of uniseriate rays. • Radial section. Gossweilerodendron balsamiferum. Note largely homocellular rays.

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.’.