Aglaia elliptica Blume - MELIACEAE

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Botanical descriptions Habitat and ecology Distribution

Botanical descriptions :

Diagnostic characters : Evergreen trees, twigs pubescent, watery white sap present. Leaves compound crowded at the ends of the branches, leaflets opposite. Flowers yellowish. Fruit a capsule.
Habit : Evergreen tree up to 20 m. tall, branches ascending or horizontal to main trunk, up to 8 cm in DBH.
Trunk & bark : Trunk smooth with longitudinal lenticels, outer bark up to 1 cm. thick, green then brownish-red, inner bark creamy brownish then turning dark brown on exposure.
Branches and branchlets or twigs : Branches pubescent then glabrous, the first twigs yellow, tomentose then glabrescent, terminal buds densely covered with yellowish-brown hairs.
Exudates : White watery sap.
Leaves : Imparipinnately compound leaves, alternate, crowded at the apex of branchelets, rachis up to 50-70 cm. long, petiole up to 12 cm. long, subopposite and opposite leaflets 7-9 pairs, oblong-elliptic 2-4 x 5-12 cm. in length, asymmetric blade, the lower pair are the smallest, apex acute to acuminate, base oblique, acute, margin entire, brown hairy on both surface. The veins prominent below, parallel secondary vein about 10-12 pairs. Petiolule very short or sessile up to 3 mm. long, exstipulate.
Inflorescences or flowers : Inflorescence shorter than leaf, less then 30 cm. long; male inflorescence peduncled, female in axillary spike. Flowers unisexal, globose, yellowish-green or yellow, sessile, 3 bractiole on the base.
Fruits : Fruit is a thick capsule, rounded about 3 cm. in diameter, thick walled, glabrous. Greenish-brown with brown hairs when young then brown, later dehiscent into segments, 3 loci.
Seeds : A few, globose seeds, about 1 cm. in diameter.

Habitat and ecology :

In evergreen or open degraded forests from 400 to 600 m. altitude.

Distribution :

Chine, Vietnam, Laos and Malaysia.

Remark/notes/uses :
The wood is scarce and rarely used as a timber for general construction. The fruit is edible with a cranberry-like taste. A decoction of the bark is used to bathe tumours.

Specimens studied :
BT 60, BT 183, BT 351 (Herbarium of Faculty of Sciences-NUoL, NHN-Leiden and CIRAD-Montpellier).

Literature :
Dung, Vu Van. 1996. Vietnam Forest Trees. Agriculture Publishing House, Hanoi, Vietnam.

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