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Common Names: Muputu, Manga, Muputi, Mupuci, Mputi, Musewe
Family: Fabaceae (Legume Family) Caesalpinoideae

 

Growth Form, Habitat and Distribution 
A large semi-evergreen tree with cylindrical trunk, sometimes multi-stemmed, with heavy, upward branches with a round crown. Abundant across Zambia except in isolated pockets, principally in Miombo woodland where it is often a co-dominant species but also in dry evergreen forest and Kalahari woodland. See Julbernardia globiflora for similar species. 

Size     Height up to 30m, usually smaller, spread 6 to 15m.
Bark    Grey-brown, vertically and horizontally cracked in thin scales. 
Leaves    Alternate, pendulous (5 to 20cm), compound, paripinnate with 2 to 5 opposite pairs of oblong-elliptical shiny green leaflets (1.5 to 8cm), terminal leaflets largest. Petiole 1 to 5cm.
Flowers    Inconspicuous, but sweet-smelling, greenish-white in dense, terminal spikes (3 to 8cm), August to November, producing good nectar.
Fruit     Flat, oblong, dark reddish-brown, dehiscent pods (8 to 14cm), ripening June to November, splitting explosively to release 4 to 6 round, glossy, brown seeds.
Uses    Also a good “bee tree” and host to several butterlies and edible moth larvae, so also an ifinkubala tree.  The bark makes good rope and bee hives, contains a tannin used in dying and has medicinal properties. 
Other species in Zambia: 17 other species, being significant components of Miombo woodland. B. spiciformis sometimes hybridises.

Brachystegia spiciformis

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