Commercial Timbers


H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Terminalia superba Engl.& Diels (Limba)

Nomenclature etc. COMBRETACEAE. Syn.: Terminalia altissima A.Chev. Trade and local names: limba (AO, DE, CD), limba blanc, limba clair (FR) limbo (CG), white afara (GB), fraké (CI), akom (CM, GQ), afara (NG) efram (GH) moulimba (AO); for dark (discoloured) limba: limba noir, limba bariolé, noyer du Mayombe (F)); egoin (NG) framo, ekblale, farayen frameri (GH), baye, bagi, kojagei, bili (LR) fram tra (CI), nkom, bakome, end, mukonja, akom (CM), ndimba (CG), chêne-limbo (trade). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Tree. Geographic distribution: tropical Africa.

General. Growth ring boundaries distinct. Growth ring boundaries demarcated by lower vessel frequency and thicker walled fibres. Heartwood basically brown to yellow to white or grey to green. Sapwood colour similar to heartwood colour, or distinct from heartwood colour (colour difference only when discolored heartwood is present). Density 0.4–0.52–0.69 g/cm³.

Vessels. Wood diffuse-porous. Vessels in multiples, commonly short (2–3 vessels) radial rows. Average tangential vessel diameter 70–170–300 µm. Average number of vessels/mm² 3–4. Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) 8–11 µm, vestured. Vessel-ray pits with distinct borders, similar to intervessel pits. Helical thickenings absent. Tyloses in vessels present, thinwalled. Other deposits in heartwood vessels present (brown contents only in discoloured heartwood).

Tracheids and fibres. Fibres of medium wall thickness. Average fibre length 550–1200–1950 µm. Fibre pits mainly restricted to radial walls, simple to minutely bordered. Fibres non-septate.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma paratracheal. Paratracheal axial parenchyma vasicentric to aliform to confluent. Aliform parenchyma winged. Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand 2–4–6.

Rays. Rays 9–15 per tangential mm, exclusively uniseriate (with very few 2-seriates). Rays composed of a single cell type (homocellular); homocellular ray cells procumbent.

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

Illustrations. • Macro images. Terminalia superba. Transverse. Radial. • Transverse section. Terminalia superba. • Tangential section. Terminalia superba. • Radial section. Terminalia superba. • Crystals in axial parenchyma. Terminalia superba. Typical feature: Elongate crystals (styloids) in axial parenchyma.

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.’.