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TREMA ORIENTALIS*

DISTRIBUTION

T. orientalis is widely distributed through a range of altitudes in higher rainfall areas. It is common along the margins of lowland and upland forests, extending into riverine forests and forest gaps. T. orientalis is a pioneer species and is found in clearings and on abandoned farmland (FAO 1986). It is found throughout Tanzania on suitable sites, including the Coast, Dodoma, and Tabora.

Minimum Altitude (m):

0

Maximum Altitude (m):

2100

Minimum Rainfall (mm):

1000

Minimum Temperature (C):

16

REQUIREMENTS

Soil Requirements: Prefers sites on well-drained, exposed soils without leaf litter, demonstrating an ability to become established on poor or disturbed soil (Forest Division 1984).

Influential Factors: It quickly invades clearings and disturbed soil.

PROPAGATION

Means of Propagation: Seed, cuttings, or by coppice.

Seeds per kg:

370000

Germination Rate (%):

75

Germination Length:

10-30 days

Seed Sources:

1800 TSH per kg - Silviculture Research Centre 1991/92.

Seed Treatments: Fruits are small and round, turning black when mature, about 3 to 5 mm in diameter. Collect ripe fruits directly from healthy trees. Seed may be air dried and stored for up to 6 months, but may also be planted immediately. No pretreatment is required (RSCU 1992). Germination occurs within 10 to 30 days, with 70 to 80% of the seeds germinating. Full light encourages germination. Seedlings show rapid growth in a nursery, and will reach 1 m within 6 weeks of germination. Seedlings may be outplanted after 3 months in the nursery (Forest Division 1984).

Seedling Management: Reported to germinate easily from seed. Full light encourages germination.

SILVICULTURE

Planting Types: Recommended for planting in lower and wetter parts of the highland zone. It could be used as a shade plant for coffee or cardamom or for the rehabilitation of poor sites (Forest Division 1984). It does not compete with crops.

Growth Factors: Very fast growing (RSCU 1992). The fastest growth occurs in warm, moist areas with consistent temperatures.

Growth Cycle: Flowers throughout the year. It generally lives only 8 to 10 years (Forest Division 1984).

Limitations to Planting: Short lifespan.

Management Systems: Foliage is browsed by livestock and wild animals. Cultivated trees require protection. The tree has the ability to coppice readily.

IMPORTANT USES

Use #1: MEDICINE
The leaves are used to treat coughs and sore throats and the bark is used to make a cough syrup. Other reported uses include remedies for asthma, bronchitis, gonorrhoea, malaria, yellow fever, toothaches, and intestinal worms (Rulangaranga 1989). The tree also contains sapiens, condensed tannins, and other chemical constituents important for pharmaceuticals (FAO 1986). It is used as an insect repellent and an antidote to general poisoning.

Use #2: LAND IMPROVEMENT
T. orientalis is nitrogen fixing and considered to have immediate potential for the rehabilitation of poor exposed soils. The leaves can also provide mulch and the tree can be used for shade without affecting crops.

Use #3: FODDER
The leaves, pods, and seeds are used as fodder.

NOTES

It is a host tree for butterflies. The fruit attracts birds; bees are attracted to the flowers. The timber is considered to be poor and of only fair quality, but the wood is used for firewood, charcoal, poles, and posts.


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