Kampala Tree and Palm Directory

Tree Species
Common Name
Tree Description
Tree Uses

English: Croton Luganda: Nkulumire Luganda, dialect Buddu:Mbula Rukiga: Mutakura, muyuni Runyankore: Mutugunda Rutoro: Munyabakuru, mwenyabakikuru.

+ Tree Species

Croton megalocarpus

+ Tree Family


+ Ecology

Croton is native to Uganda. A dominant upper-storey tree in some evergreen or semi-deciduous forested areas of East Africa. Wide spread in most forests, particularly in Kibale and the Impenetrable (Bwindi) Forests and in some Toro forests, but uncommon in Bunyoro. It can be found in a range of semi-humid habitats, 1,200-2,400 m, but has been planted at lower altitudes. In Kampala, Croton can be found within Makerere university, National housing & Medical quarters, Uganda Golf course club, Kitante courts, at Bombo Road, Prince Charles drive among other places.

+ Description

A spreading deciduous tree to 35 m with distinctive layering of branches, the crown rather flat and giving light shade.

BARK: dark grey, rough, cracking.

LEAVES: variable, long oval and pointed to 12 cm but often much smaller, stalked. The dull green upper surface contrasts with the pale, silvery underside.

FLOWERS: very short-lived but conspicuous, the buds opening after heavy rains into pale yellow, hanging spikes to 25 cm, with only a few female flowers at the base.

FRUIT: very many grey woody capsules, about 2.5 cm long with three flattened seeds inside, grey-brown when mature with a small bump (the caruncle).

+ Uses

Medicine: bark, sap from leaves and young twigs. http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php id=Croton+megalocarpus

Agroforestry: used to re-establish native woodland or to set up woodland gardens, planted in hedges, live fences, shelterbelts and windbreaks, retained when the forest is cleared and is used as a shade tree for coffee plantations, foliage provides good mulch, fruit shells are used as mulch in vegetable gardens and as a component of potting mixtures, flowers provide nectar for honey bees (promotes apiculture).

The seeds can be used to dye wool yellowish.

The press-cake remaining after oil extraction can be utilized as bio-fuel and as an organic fertilizer.

The wood is used for construction, flooring, stools, mortars, beehives, veneer and plywood. It is suitable for joinery, interior trim, ship building, vehicle bodies, furniture, cabinet work, railway sleepers and agricultural implements.

The wood is used for fuel and to make charcoal.

The well-dried nuts can be used as a fuel, mixed with charcoal in cooking stoves.

Provides poles.

An ornamental tree.

+ Propagation

Seeds, wildings.

+ Management

Fast growing in high-potential areas, slow elsewhere; lopping, pollarding, coppicing.

+ Remarks

The seed has high oil content (30%) and high protein content (50%). The oil extract can be a strong purgative. The heavy timber is not durable and the heartwood has a very bad smell. The sap also has a spicy odor.

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