Our future fruiters
Uapaca guineensis Muell. Arg. Flora 47: 517 (1864)
Synonym: Uacapa bibervillensis Beille
Common Name (commercial): Rikio
Local names: Bassa: lissamba. Baya: dobo. Boulou: assam. Douala: bossombi. Ewondo: assam. Fang: Assam. Obia. Pygmy Bagielli: lesambo. Pygmy Baka: Sengui. Vouted: meyoune
Origin, geographical distribution and ecology:
Species from tropical Africa, from Sierra Leone to Democratic Republic of Congo. It is widespread in Cameroon, but its real area is poorly known because it is confused with other species especially with Uapaca togoensis Pax to the North. It is usually found in very humid places but also in dry ground. It is sometimes quite dense stands.
Tree up to 30 m tall and 80 cm in diameter, borne by arched, branched, stilt roots up to 3-4 m tall; bole straight, irregular, short, up to 15 m long; dense crown, with large ascending branches; brown bark, with a fine, rough surface, slice about 1 cm thick, brittle, brownish-red.
Leaves simple, alternate, erect, grouped at the ends of the branches; blade leathery, thick, obovate to oblanceolate, up to 35 x 20 cm, apex rounded or obtuse, margin entire and wavy up, dark green, glabrous; with primary rib projecting on both sides; petiole 2-7 cm long swollen at both ends.
Monoecious plants. Male inflorescences in fascicle at the end of short peduncles up to 2 cm; solitary female flowers.
Male flowers consisting of 6-9 whitish or greenish bracts surrounding stamens; female flowers without petals; ovary globose, topped with 3 styles.
Fruits: globular drupes up to 3 cm in diameter, weighing about 7 g, greenish-yellow when ripe, then brown; lenticellate epicarps, brownish pulp; 3-4 cores per fruit, measuring 1.5-2 x 1 x 0.5 cm, with 2 grooves.
Variability and conservation of the resource:
The wood of Uapaca guineensis is marketed under the name of Rikio. Due to the demand for its timber, this species is being felled by loggers. Unfortunately, the current rules defining the conditions of exploitation and which are likely to favor rapid natural regeneration, are not always applied.
The plant regenerates by natural germination of the seeds. It is not in fact a cultivated species, but we know that it can be multiplied easily by sowing seeds. The germination rate is 80% and the emergence is fast. The growth of the young plant in full light and even on dry ground is fast, of the order of 4-5 m at the age of 6 years under the ecological conditions of Yaoundé to Nkolbisson.
The most used parts of the plant are the fruit, bark, roots and wood.
The pulp of ripe fruit is edible. It is very sweet and constitutes 70% of the fruit (Vivien and Faure, 1995). The bark and roots have medicinal properties. The bark is used as an enema, as an emetic, as a lotion with salt, against skin conditions, or as a dye for fishing nets (Walker and Sillans, 1995). Wood is an excellent fuel and gives very good quality coal. The roots would be aphrodisiacs.