Sclerocroton integerrimus

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Duiker berry
Sclerocroton integerrimus Athlone.jpg
Branchlets and foliage
Duiker Berries.JPG
fruit (duiker berries)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Subfamily: Euphorbioideae
Tribe: Hippomaneae
Subtribe: Hippomaninae
Genus: Sclerocroton
Species: S. integerrimus
Binomial name
Sclerocroton integerrimus
(Hochst.) J.Léonard
Synonyms
  • Sapium reticulatum (Hochst. ex C.Krauss) Pax
  • Stillingia integerrima (Hochst.) Baill.
  • Excoecaria integerrima (Hochst.) Müll.Arg.
  • Sapium armatum Pax & K.Hoffm.
  • Sclerocroton reticulatus Hochst.
  • Excoecaria africana Sim
  • Excoecaria hochstetteriana Müll.Arg.
  • Excoecaria reticulata (Hochst.) Müll.Arg.
  • Sapium integerrimum (Hochst.) J.Léonard[1]

Sclerocroton integerrimus, the duiker berry, is a tree in the Euphorbiaceae family, from Southern Africa.

Leaves and inflorescence

Taxonomy[edit]

This species was originally named as two species; Sclerocroton integerrimus Hochst. (1845) and S. reticulatus Hochst. (1845). When Sclerocroton integerrimus was united for the first time, Baillon (in Adansonia 3: 162. 1863) adopted the name Stillingia integerrima (Hochst.) Baill. for the combined taxon.[2]

This tree has also been named Sapium integerrimum; with most literature referring to it by this name (2010).

Distribution[edit]

Found from the coastal areas of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, to Mozambique and Botswana.[3]

Description[edit]

A small to medium-sized tree growing up to 15m tall.[3]

Stem and branches[edit]

Single or multi-stemmed, with smooth pale grey bark, and arching, weeping branches.[3] The branchlets are reddish-brown, later becoming grey-brown in colour.[1]

Leaves[edit]

The leaves are alternate, shiny and dark-green above, and paler beneath.[3] The leaves are ovate-lanceolate to ovate-oblong in shape, with entire or shallowly serrated leaf margins. The leaf petioles are 3–5 mm long, and the leaf blades 20–100 mm long and 10–50 mm wide.[1]

Flowers[edit]

Small yellowish flowers are produced on terminal spikes.[3] The flowers are either all male or with 1 female flower at the base of the spike.[1]

Fruit[edit]

The fruit is a 3-lobed capsule up to 25 mm in diameter.[3] The fruit opens by splitting into three roughly circular parts, with each of the 6 valves bearing a shortly-conical appendage (horn[3]) 2 mm long.[1] When ripe; the fruit are green or coppery in colour, and leathery in texture.[3] Each of the cocci bears one seed enclosed in a 2 mm thick woody endocarp. The seeds are 7 × 5 mm in size, ovoid-ellipsoid in shape, smooth surfaced, and dull, pale greyish-brown flecked and spotted with darker brown.[1]

Wood[edit]

The wood is heavy, hard and durable.[4]

Uses[edit]

The leaves are used in traditional medicine as a mouth wash and to treat toothache. The fruit have been used to make black ink and for tanning, and the wood has been used to make furniture and for hut building.[3][4] The fruit are eaten by livestock.[3]

Ecological significance[edit]

This is one of the larval food plants for two species of butterfly; Sevenia boisduvali and Sevenia natalensis.[5] The leaves are also eaten by bushbuck[3] and red duiker.[6] The fruit are eaten by antelope, and birds[3] such as crowned hornbills.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f JSTOR Plant Science: Sapium integerrimus Hochst. [family EUPHORBIACEAE]: http://plants.jstor.org/taxon/Sapium.integerrimus
  2. ^ International Association for Plant Taxonomy: INTERNATIONAL CODE OF BOTANICAL NOMENCLATURE online: http://ibot.sav.sk/icbn/frameset/0015Ch2Sec3a011.htm, retrieved 1 July 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Pooley, E. (1993). The Complete Field Guide to Trees of Natal, Zululand and Transkei. ISBN 0-620-17697-0.
  4. ^ a b Schmelzer, H. G. and Gurib-Fakim, A. (2008). Medicinal Plants. Plant Resources of Tropical Africa (Program). ISBN 90-5782-204-0
  5. ^ Williams, M. (1994). Butterflies of Southern Africa; A Field Guide. ISBN 1-86812-516-5
  6. ^ Skinner, J.D. (1990). The Mammals of the Southern African Subregion (New Edition). ISBN 0-86979-802-2.
  7. ^ Bleher, B. Seed Dispersal and Frugivory: Ecological Consequences for Tree Populations and Bird Communities: http://deposit.d-nb.de/cgi-bin/dokserv?idn=962677744&dok_var=d1&dok_ext=pdf&filename=962677744.pdf, retrieved 1 July 2010.