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Aptandra zenkeri Engl.

General Information

Most people remember the first time they see this species in fruit. The pink waxy calyx of the fruit looks like a surreal art object. When you touch the calices to check whether they are real they feel as strange as they look. The smooth waxy texture, pink colour and saucer shape all combine to give this bizarre appearance. On the other hand, when this species is not in fruit it is very unremarkable. The flowers are tiny, there are no stipules, the leaves are dark green and the slash is whitish. It can be confused with the similar looking Olax subscorpioidea, but the short petiole of Aptandra zenkeri separates it easily. It also has small white dots visible with a hand lens on the undersurface of dried leaves. The tree can be up to 8 m tall with a diameter of 10 cm but it often flowers at a smaller size.


Mixed species and Gilbertiodendron dewevrei forest, both terra firma and seasonally flooded.


Distribution: Ivory Coast to Gabon, Angola and DRC.