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STRYCHNOS COCCULOIDES*

DISTRIBUTION

A small tree growing in woodlands, mixed forests, deciduous woodlands, lowlands, and Miombo woodlands (FAO 1983). It is widespread throughout Tanzania in Brachystegia woodlands and is found in Iringa, Ruvuma, Dodoma, Kigoma, Tabora, and Tanga.

Minimum Altitude (m):

400

Maximum Altitude (m):

2000

Minimum Rainfall (mm):

600

Maximum Rainfall (mm):

1200

Minimum Temperature (C):

14

Maximum Temperature (C):

25

REQUIREMENTS

Soil Requirements: Prefers sites on deep sandy soil and on rocky slopes (Palmer and Pitman 1972). It is found on black to dark-grey clays and yellow-red loamy sands (FAO 1983).

Light Requirements: Demanding.

Influential Factors: S. cocculoides is usually left when fields are cleared. It prefers open growing conditions. Saplings need to be protected from fire.

PROPAGATION

Means of Propagation: Seed, coppice, and root suckers.

Seed Treatments: The large fruits, 7 to 13 cm in diameter, are hard shelled and smooth, and light-green or yellow in colour. The fruits contain bony seeds which are said to be poisonous (Palmer and Pitman 1972). The hard seed coat requires pretreatment. It is recommended that fresh seed be soaked in hot water for 24 to 48 hours (RSCU 1992).

Seedling Management: Seeds do not germinate readily. Annual fires soften the coat. Root suckers are easily produced by wounding the tree (fire, trampling by animals).

SILVICULTURE

Planting Types: Planted along boundaries and near home compounds.

Growth Factors: Fairly fast growing.

Growth Cycle: Flowers during the rainy season and fruits ripen in the dry season. The fruit can take up to a year to ripen.

Management Systems: The species is semicultivated. It can be raised in the nursery and planted on a cleared site. Weeds and climbers need to be cleared until trees are established. The tree coppices well.

IMPORTANT USES

Use #1: MEDICINE
The fruit is mixed with honey or sugar to treat coughing. The root can be chewed to alleviate eczema and is an alleged cure for gonorrhoea (FAO 1983).

Use #2: FRUIT
The ripe fruit is eaten mainly by children, but also by adults. It has a pleasant taste. The tree is often retained and protected because of the fruit. The fruit is also used to make a dye to colour trays and containers which provides protection from insect attacks. It is used as a soap for washing clothes.

Use #3: GENERAL PURPOSE WOOD
The wood is white and tough, rather soft, and pliable. It is used primarily for building materials and tool handles.


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