Gambeya africana

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(Redirected from Chrysophyllum africanum)

Gambeya africana
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Sapotaceae
Genus: Gambeya
G. africana
Binomial name
Gambeya africana
(A.DC.) Pierre (1891)[2]
  • Chrysophyllum africanum A.DC. (1844)
  • Chrysophyllum africanum var. aubrevillei (Pellegr.) Aubrév. (1936)
  • Chrysophyllum africanum var. multinervatum De Wild. (1926)
  • Chrysophyllum delevoyi De Wild. (1926)
  • Chrysophyllum edule Hoyle (1932)
  • Chrysophyllum macrophyllum Sabine (1824), nom. illeg.
  • Chrysophyllum omumu J.D.Kenn. (1936), sphalm.
  • Gambeya africana var. aubrevillei Pellegr. (1931 publ. 1932)
  • Gambeya kali Aubrév. & Pellegr.(1961)
  • Planchonella africana (A.DC.) Baehni (1965)

Gambeya africana is a medium sized tree within the Sapotaceae family. It is sometimes known as the African Star Apple along with the closely related Gambeya albida.[3] Both species have similar leaf indumentum and are widespread in the Lower and Upper Guinea forest mosaic.[4]


Species reaches 25 meters in height, the trunk is straight, often grooved and angular with buttressed roots at the base.[5] Bark is greyish brown to dark brown with white latex exuding from slash.[6] Leaves simple and appear at the end of branches in tufts; petiole is 1.5-3.5 cm long,[7] the abaxial surface has dense and appressed hairs and varies in color from pale brown to reddish-brown, adaxial surface is glabrous; leaf-blade is elliptical to oblong, 15-35 cm long and 5-13 cm wide, with 18-26 primary nerves on each side spaced 1-2 cm apart. Fruit is ovoid to globular shaped, with up to 5 shiny brown elliptical seeds; the fruit is rounded at the base, pointed or rounded at apex, 2.3-3 cm in diameter and up to 7 cm long,[4] when ripe is it yellowish to orange colored.[6]


Gambeya africana grows in West and Central Africa, from Guinea eastwards to Uganda and southwards to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cabinda.[2] It is commonly found in lowland rainforest vegetation, near rivers.


Latex is obtained from the tree bark and used for birdlime while the wood is often mixed with other African Gambeya species traded in the timber market. The fruit is edible though acidulous, while bark extracts are used in decoctions to improve digestion.[5]


  1. ^ Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) & IUCN SSC Global Tree Specialist Group. 2019. Chrysophyllum africanum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T61961728A143719189. Accessed 4 December 2022.
  2. ^ a b c Gambeya africana (A.DC.) Pierre. Plants of the World Online. Retrieved 5 June 2023.
  3. ^ Council, National Research; Affairs, Policy and Global; Cooperation, Development, Security, and (2008-01-25). Lost Crops of Africa: Volume III: Fruits. National Academies Press. p. 321. ISBN 978-0-309-16443-6. {{cite book}}: |first2= has generic name (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ a b Hemsley, J. H. (1966). "Notes on African Sapotaceae". Kew Bulletin. 20 (3): 461–510. doi:10.2307/4108249. JSTOR 4108249.
  5. ^ a b Timbers. D. Louppe, A. A. Oteng-Amoako, M. Brink, Plant Resources of Tropical Africa. Wageningen: PROTA Foundation. 2008. p. 158. ISBN 978-90-5782-209-4. OCLC 299747129.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  6. ^ a b Voorhoeve, A. G. (1979). Liberian high forest trees : a systematic botanical study of the 75 most important or frequent high forest trees, with reference to numerous related species (2nd impr ed.). Wageningen: Pudoc. p. 344. ISBN 90-220-0701-4. OCLC 63303450.
  7. ^ "Gambeya africana in Global Plants on JSTOR". Retrieved 2021-09-21.