Commercial Timbers

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H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Microberlinia brazzavillensis A. Chev., M. bisulcata A. Chev. (Zebrano)

Nomenclature etc. FABACEAE-CAESALPINIOIDEAE. Trade and local names: zebrano, zingana (DE, GA, CM), amouk, allen ele (CM), izingana (GA), enuk-enug (GQ), African zebrawood (GB). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Tree. Geographic distribution: tropical Africa.

General. Heartwood basically brown to white or grey, with streaks (dark brown). Sapwood colour distinct from heartwood colour. Density 0.65–0.73 g/cm³. Interlocked grain; green wood with unpleasant odour.

Vessels. Wood diffuse-porous. Vessels in multiples, commonly short (2–3 vessels) radial rows. Average tangential vessel diameter 110–205–265 µm. Average number of vessels/mm² (1–)4–11. Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) 6–8 µm, vestured. Vessel-ray pits with distinct borders, similar to intervessel pits. Helical thickenings absent. Other deposits in heartwood vessels present (brown).

Tracheids and fibres. Fibres of medium wall thickness. Average fibre length 1120–1440–1680 µm. Fibre pits mainly restricted to radial walls, simple to minutely bordered. Fibres non-septate.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma banded and not banded. Axial parenchyma bands marginal (or seemingly marginal), fine, up to three cells wide. Axial parenchyma paratracheal. Apotracheal axial parenchyma diffuse-in-aggregates. Paratracheal axial parenchyma aliform. Aliform parenchyma lozenge. Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand 2–4.

Rays. Rays 10–14 per tangential mm, exclusively uniseriate. Rays composed of a single cell type (homocellular); homocellular ray cells procumbent.

Storied structures. Storied structure present (rarely), all rays storied, axial parenchyma not storied, vessel elements storied, fibres not storied. Arrangement of tiers irregular.

Secretory structures. Intercellular canals absent.

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. • Macro images. Microberlinia brazzavillensis. Transverse. Radial. • Transverse section: M. brazzavillensis. Microberlinia brazzavillensis. • Tangential section: M. brazzavillensis. Microberlinia brazzavillensis. • Radial section: M. brazzavillensis. Microberlinia brazzavillensis. • Transverse section: M. bisulcata. Microberlinia bisulcata. • Tangential section: M. bisulcata. Microberlinia bisulcata. • Radial section: M. bisulcata. Microberlinia bisulcata.


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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