Pachystela msolo

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Local names:
Swahili (msavia,msambia,mochocho,mchanvya)

Pachystela msolo is a medium or tall evergreen tree with many branches; it grows to 20-50 m high, with a dense crown and a deeply fluted and pillared bole to about 3 m. 

Leaves alternate, medium to large, 8-35 x 3-14 cm (rarely larger), dark green, coriaceous, glabrous and shining on upper surfaces; underside slightly silvery, hairy or glaucous, with prominent venation; leaf shape obovate-oblong, 10-16 lateral nerves on each side of the leaf; leaf stalks short, 3-10 mm long.

Flowers small, greenish-white, fragrant, clustered below the leaves on young branchlets and older branches; pedicels short, usually 3-6 mm long.

Fruits are small, green, becoming a dull yellow with ripening; subglobose berries, about 3 x 2.5 cm, and beaked; pulp juicy; seeds ellipsoid, slightly flattened, up to 1.8 cm long; scar is prominent, lateral and occupying over half of surface.

Ecology

The species occurs naturally in lowland rainforests, extending into lower fringes of upland rainforest and riverine forests. It is abundant in lower altitudes, but its frequency in occurrence decreases with rise in altitude. P. msolo grows in areas with great variation in rainfall regime. In its natural range, low rainfall is supplemented by a permanent high groundwater table.

Native range
Benin, Cameroon, Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda

Tree management

P. msolo is a very slow-growing tree. Pollarding seems to increase the quantity of fruit it produces.

The species occurs naturally in lowland rainforests, extending into lower fringes of upland rainforest and riverine forests. It is abundant in lower altitudes, but its frequency in occurrence decreases with rise in altitude. P. msolo grows in areas with great variation in rainfall regime. In its natural range, low rainfall is supplemented by a permanent high groundwater table.

Ripe fruits are collected from standing trees. P. msolo regenerates naturally by seed and coppice. The species seeds heavily every year. When overmature, the fruit falls to the ground. During or towards the end of the rainy season, there is profuse natural regeneration of the species. However, few seedlings advance to sapling or pole-size stage, mainly because most of the seeds that germinate towards the beginning of the dry season die. Moreover, the few pole-size or mature trees that survive are frequently cut for timber.

  The fruit pulp of P. msolo is edible.

Timber:  The tree is reputed to produce good-quality poles for construction.