Xylopia letestui Pellegrin, Bull. Mus. Hist. Nat. Paris 26: 658. 1920.

Johnson, David M. & Murray, Nancy A., 2018, A revision of Xylopia L. (Annonaceae): the species of Tropical Africa, PhytoKeys 97, pp. 1-252 : 142-146

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Xylopia letestui Pellegrin, Bull. Mus. Hist. Nat. Paris 26: 658. 1920.


33. Xylopia letestui Pellegrin, Bull. Mus. Hist. Nat. Paris 26: 658. 1920. Fig. 44 View Figure 44

Xylopia letestui var. longepilosa Le Thomas, Fl. Gabon 16: 178 + t. 33, 10-11. 1969. Type. GABON. Ngounié Province, Moumba, Haute Ngounyé, 3 Sept 1926, G. Le Testu 6046 (holotype: P! [00169154]; isotypes: BM! [000511049], BR! [0000008825315], P! [00169153, 00169155]).


GABON. Nyanga Province, Mayombe Bayaka, Tono-Sangama , 9 Aug 1914, G. Le Testu 1760 (holotype: P! [00169125]; isotypes: BM! [000511048], BR! [0000008825322], EA!, K! [000199054], LISC! [000403], P! [00169126, 00169127]) .


Tree up to 40 m tall, d.b.h. up to 28.5 cm, bole straight, buttresses narrow and thin, up to 80 cm high and extending up to 50 cm from the trunk, branches horizontal from trunk; bark pinkish beige, with shallow vertical grooves or striations. Twigs initially often lax and sinuous or somewhat zigzag, bearing a sheaf of overlapping new leaves at the apex, reddish-brown, brown or gray, densely covered with hairs 0.4-1.0 mm long, often marked with decurrent ridges from either side of the petiole base, eventually glabrate; nodes occasionally with two axillary branches. Leaf with larger blades 4.7-10.9 cm long, 1.2-2.7 cm wide, subcoriaceous, discolorous, lanceolate to lanceolate-oblong, apex acute, base truncate and often slightly asymmetrical, glabrous or pubescent along the midrib adaxially, sparsely to densely appressed-pubescent abaxially; midrib plane to slightly raised adaxially, raised abaxially, secondary veins brochidodromous, 8-14 per side, diverging at 45-50° from the midrib, these and higher order veins plane or slightly raised adaxially, raised abaxially; petiole 1-2.2 mm long, semi-terete, pubescent. Inflorescences axillary, 1-4-flowered, pubescent; peduncle 1 per axil, ca. 2.5 mm long; pedicels 2 per peduncle or arising directly from the axil, 1.4-6.9 mm long, 1.1-1.2 mm thick; bracts 2, evenly spaced along pedicel, often with lower bract caducous and upper bract persistent, 2.3-6.0 mm long, ovate, deltate, semicircular, or circular, apex acute or sometimes rounded; buds lanceolate to lanceolate-oblong, apex acute to rounded. Sepals spreading at anthesis, 1/4-2/3 connate, 4.2-5.6 mm long, 3.1 -3.2 mm wide, ovate to elliptic, apex obtuse to acute, appressed-pubescent abaxially. Petals cream-colored adaxially, becoming red toward the base in vivo; outer petals with position at anthesis not determinable, 13-22 mm long, 3.0-3.7 mm wide at base, 2.3 -3.2 mm wide at midpoint, somewhat fleshy, lanceolate-ligulate, linear-lanceolate, or narrowly triangular, apex acute, puberulent along margins and on apex but otherwise glabrous adaxially, densely appressed-pubescent except for two small glabrous patches at the base abaxially; inner petals with position at anthesis not determinable, 10.3-18.1 mm long, 2.4-3.2 mm wide at base, 1.4-1.9 mm wide at midpoint, somewhat fleshy, linear-lanceolate, apex acute, densely appressed-pubescent for distal 1/3, sparsely pilose in center proximal to that and base glabrous adaxially, with tufts of hairs on margin at the widest point of the base, densely appressed-pubescent abaxially. Stamens numerous; fertile stamens 1.3-1.6 mm long, narrowly oblong, apex of connective 0.2-0.3 mm long, depressed-globose to shieldlike, overhanging anther thecae, glabrous, anthers 12-13-locellate, filament 0.3-0.5 mm long; outer staminodes ca. 1.5 mm long, broadly clavate, apex obtuse to truncate; inner staminodes 1.2-1.3 mm long, oblong, apex truncate; staminal cone 1.2-1.6 mm in diameter, 0.9-1.0 mm high, concealing all but the apices of the ovaries, rim laciniate. Carpels 7-10; ovaries 1-1.1 mm long, oblong, pilose, stigmas loosely appressed in lower half with the tips free, 3-3.5 mm long, linear, sinuate, pilose. Torus flat, 1.8-2.0 mm in diameter. Fruit of up to 6 brown-pubescent monocarps borne on a pedicel 5-16 mm long, 5-10 mm thick, this in turn borne upon a leafless branch ca. 15 cm long, glabrate; torus 8-19 mm in diameter, 7-11 mm high, irregularly depressed-globose. Monocarps with green exterior and bright red endocarp in vivo, 2.7-4.5 cm long, 2.1-3.4 cm wide, 2.0-3.5 cm thick, nearly spherical to ellipsoid, not torulose, apex rounded or obtuse, tapered to a sessile base 7-10 mm wide, weakly wrinkled and verrucose; pericarp 5-7 mm thick. Seeds up to 6 per monocarp, in two rows, lying perpendicular to long axis, 15-19 mm long, 8-13 mm wide, 8-10 mm thick, ellipsoid, flattened-elliptic in cross-section, truncate at micropylar end, rounded at chalazal end, brownish white, smooth, dull, raphe/antiraphe not evident, micropylar scar 4.5-5.5 mm long, 4.2-4.8 mm wide, broadly elliptic to nearly circular; sarcotesta grayish white ( “glaucous”) in vivo; aril absent.


Collections with flowers have been made in February and April, and from July to September, and with fruits in January, March, April, November, and December.


(Fig. 43 View Figure 43 ). Occurs from Sierra Leone to southwestern Ghana, and from southeastern Nigeria south to southern Gabon and western Democratic Republic of the Congo, growing in lowland wet forests, sometimes secondary forests, on both clay and well-drained sandy soil, at elevations of 50-450 m.

Local name.

Canzi (Bayaka, Le Testu 1760).

Additional specimens examined.

SIERRA LEONE. Nyagoi Protected Forest , s. d. (fr), King 158 (K) . LIBERIA. Sino, Sapo NP, buffer zone, along new logging road, 5°25'N, 08°46.2'W, 29 Nov 2002 (fl buds), Jongkind 5544 (WAG); first part of Babooni road walking in the direction of Sapo NP, 5°31.20'N, 8°37.800'W, 110-140 m, 5 Mar 2009 (fr), Jongkind et al. 8821 (K) GoogleMaps . IVORY COAST. 55 km ENE of Sassandra, about 15 km N of Fresco , 16 Mar 1959 (fr), Leeuwenberg 3073 (K, P, WAG-3 sheets); Banco, Martineau 227 (P) . GHANA. Fure Forest Reserve near Prestea , 15 Dec 1971 (yg fr), Deaw Sp 465 (MO, NY, RSA) . NIGERIA. Oban, 1912 (fl), Talbot s. n. (BM). CAMEROON. Southwest Province, Ndian Division, Korup National Park , 5°01'N, 8°48'E, 100 m, 24 Feb 2008 (fl), van der Burgt 1129 (K, MO); East , Department Haut-Nyong , Dja Reserve , Bouamir Research Area , 90 km SE of Akonolinga, 3°11'05"N, 12°47'39"E, 640-700 m, 23 May 1997 (st), Fogiel 2098 (MO); TDC, Sud Cameroun, 26 Nov 1991 (fr), Hallé 4274 (WAG) GoogleMaps . GABON. 5-10 km E of Saint Germain, E of Okamo River, 11°38' E, 0°38'N, 20 Apr 1988 (fr), Breteler et al. 8867 (MO, WAG); Bélinga Mines de Fer, 21 Jul 1966 (fl), Hallé & Le Thomas 122 (K, P); Mimongo , Le Testu 5975 (BM); Woleu-Ntem, Mbe National Park , Monts de Cristal , Tchimbele Dam area , 00°37'02"N, 10°24'49"E, 400 m, Apr 2004 (st), SIMAB 012002 (MO); Woleu-Ntem, Monts du Cristal, 10 Sep 2001 (st), Nguema 341 (MO) GoogleMaps . REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO. Chaillu, region de Komono, route de Mbila , forêt des environs du village Mitoko , 24 Jan 1977 (fr), Sita 4081 (P) . DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO. Équateur: Terr. Bikoro, route Weti-Iboko , 16 Apr 1959 (fl), Evrard 6189 (K) .

The nearly sessile leaves with truncate bases, the short inner petals bearing conspicuous basal hair tufts, and the thick-walled globose monocarps readily distinguish Xylopia letestui from its congeners. It is similar to X. villosa , both being large trees with narrow buttresses, leathery leaves that are appressed-pubescent beneath, and relatively large thick-walled monocarps. In addition to the truncate leaf bases and the hair tufts on the outer petals, X. letestui differs from X. villosa in having abaxial leaf indument that is dull-colored, not golden-sericeous, and four or fewer flowers in the inflorescences. The sinuous young shoots with conduplicate new leaves sometimes seen in X. letestui have not been noted in specimens of X. villosa . The presence of X. letestui in West Africa was previously unreported ( Keay 1954-1958, 1989, Holmgren et al. 2004), probably in part due to its similarity to X. villosa , which occurs over much of the same range. Associates listed on herbarium labels include Alstonia boonei , Dichostemma glaucescens , Podococcus barteri (understory), Santiria trimera , Tabernaemontana crassa , Terminalia superba, and Uapaca guineensis .

Le Thomas (1969) distinguished two specimens from Gabon with longer and denser indument as a separate variety, X. letestui var. longepilosa . We found density and length of hairs to vary over the range of the species, and that the densest hairs seem to accompany specimens bearing new flushes of growth, suggesting that the characteristic is variable and does not merit taxonomic recognition.

The label of Leeuwenberg 3073 describes the specimen as being from a large liana about 25 m high, but this growth form has not been corroborated by any other specimen data, all of which describe the plant as an erect forest tree.