Kampala Tree and Palm Directory

Tree Species
Common Name
Tree Description
Tree Uses

English: Gmelina, Gmelina, Snapdragon, White Teak.

+ Tree Species

Gmelina arborea

+ Tree Family


+ Ecology

Native to Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam. It occurs in a variety of forest habitats, including tropical semi-evergreen, sub-montane, very moist teak forests, deciduous, sal and dry teak forests. The tree is a light demander, although it can stand some shade. It is moderately frost hardy and recovers quickly from frost injuries. It does not thrive where the drainage is poor, while on dry, sandy or otherwise poor soil it remains stunted and is apt to assume little more than a shrubby form because of repeated dying back through drought.

+ Description

Gmelina arborea is an unarmed, moderately sized to large deciduous tree with a straight trunk. It is wide spreading with numerous branches forming a large shady crown, attains a height of 30 m or more and a diameter of up to 4.5 m.

BARK: smooth, pale ashy-grey or grey to yellow with black patches and conspicuous corky circular lenticels. Inside surface of bark rapidly turns brown on exposure and exfoliates into thick woody plates or scurfy flakes. Blaze pale orange and mottled with a darker orange colour.

LEAVES: opposite-decussate, mostly rather soft and limp, leaf blades broadly Ovate, apically long acuminate or caudate, entire on mature plants but strongly toothed or lobed on young plants.

FLOWERS: abundant, scented, reddish, brown or yellow, in terminal and axillary 1- to-3-flowered cymes on the panicle branches.

FRUIT: drupe, 1.8-2.5 cm long, obovoid, seated on the enlarged calyx, glossy and yellow when ripe; exocarp succulent and aromatic; endocarp bony and usually 2-celled.

+ Uses

Edible: fruits, flowers. http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php id=Gmelina+arborea

Medicine: Bark, leaves, fruits, roots, leaf sap, flowers. http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php id=Gmelina+arborea

Agroforestry: an ideal choice for large-scale reforestation programmes, can be planted as shade for young and old cocoa trees providing protection whilst also suppressing invasive grasses, grown as a windbreak and as a hedge, leaves and fruits are used as a fodder, and also used for rearing silkworms.

Both the wood ash and the fruit yield a very persistent yellow dye.

The wood is important in the manufacture of furniture, plywood core stock, mine props, matches and timber for light construction. It is also used for making canoes, musical instruments, for carving images etc.

The wood produces good-quality pulp. 

It also burns well and makes a good fuel and charcoal.

An ornamental or avenue tree.

+ Propagation

Seeds, Large cuttings.

+ Management

Fast growing, coppicing, pruning, thinning.

+ Remarks

Gmelina arborea does not seem to be in danger of genetic erosion as it is a widespread pioneer species in its area of natural distribution, although usually occurring scattered in the forest.

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