Welcome to Carapa portal     Français   English

Carapa.org - oreophila

Carapa oreophila Kenfack sp. nov.

Ref. Kenfack, D. (2011) A synoptic revision of Carapa (Meliaceae). Harvard Papers in Botany 16 (2): 171-231.

(All photos : Mount Oku, Cameroun, March 2007. © Pierre-Michel Forget)


Cameroon, Southwest: Jiyane, 06°15'N, 10°26'E, 2350 m, 26 August 2003, S. N. Sainge 1260 (YA, MO).

Tree and leaves

It is a small tree to 12 m tall and up to 70 cm in diameter. The  bole is  branched low into a dense crown, the base being more or less cylindrical. The bark is smooth with a blood-red slash. Leaves are 45—65 cm long with a petiole 20—30 x  0.5—0.7 cm, the base being swollen, and generally with 2 nectaries. The rachis is 24—40 cm long, glabrous.

There  are  4—6 pairs, of leaflets with petiolule 1—2.5 cm long. The basal pairs  of leaflets are 5—23 x 5—10 cm, ultimate pairs being 17—38 x 5—12 cm, glabrous beneath, oblong to elliptic oblong, with the apex shortly cuspidate to rounded, mucronate, the base being broadly cuneate. The midrib is prominent beneath, glabrous, secondary veins 6—15 pairs, tertiary veins raised beneath.

Inflorescence and flowers

Inflorescence is located in the axils of fully developped or reduced scale-like leaves, up to 40 cm long, erect, densely  ramified, lowermost branches up to 7cmlong, peduncle 5—10 cm long. Flowers are 5-merous, distinctly pedicellate, pedicel 2—5 mm long, glabrous. The calyx is green, glabrous, lobes 1.5—2 mm long. The petals are 5.5—7.5 x 3—6 mm, green in buds and at anthesis, glabrous, each with a median gland. The staminal tube is 3.5—5.5 mm long, 10-lobed, lobes 0.8—1.3 mm long, not reflexed. The anthers  are 1—1.2 x 0.6—0.8 mm, and antherodes 0.8—1.2 x 0.5—0.9 mm. Disk is 1—1.5 mm high, 2.8—4 mm diameter, orange to red.

Ovary 1—1.2 x 1.8—2.3 mm  in carpellate flowers; 0.8—1.3 x 1—1.4 mm in staminate flowers. Each locule is 4-ovulate, with style 0.5—0.8 mm long in carpellate flowers, 1.2—1.7 mm long in staminate flowers; stigma 1.6—2 mm in diameter.

Fruit and seeds

Fruit are 10—15 x 7—12 cm, globose, brownish, valves with a median rib, with more or less developped warty excrescences, surface lenticelate, laking nectaries. Seeds are 3.8—4.6 x 4—4.5 cm, up to 4 per valve. The hilum is 14—18 x 5—13 mm with a shiny testa, dark brown and smooth.



Cameroon and Nigeria, in Montane forest, 1100—2500 m altitude.


C. oreophila is endemic to the Cameroon and Eastern Nigeria highlands and is morphologically similar to C. grandiflora of the montane forest of East Africa by its large flowers and the shiny seeds. However C. oreophila is distinguished from the latter by the 4-ovulate locules and the fruits that valves often have warty excrescences. Moreover, DNA sequencing data of the nuclear ribosomal ITS placed C. oreophila and C. grandiflora in two different well supported clades. C. oreophila differs from the other West and Central African lowland species by its larger flowers and smooth and shiny seeds.


Kenfack, D. (2011) A synoptic revision of Carapa (Meliaceae). Harvard Papers in Botany 16 (2): 171-231.