Next entry: Psychotria laurentii

Previous entry: Ficus mucuso


Synsepalum brevipes (Baker) T.D. Penn.

General Information

The white latex that is such an important character for identification in the family Sapotaceae was the origin of chewing gum. Although now most gum comes from artificial sources it used to be made from latex tapped from a member of this family (Manilkara zapota) in Central America. The identification of Synesepalum brevipes is aided by the persistent stipules and the lack of obvious tertiary venation on dried leaves. The shape of the leaves is also rather distinct, most of them being widest above the middle, or ‘obovate’. The leaves are usually 15–20 cm long. The species can reach a height of 20 m and the trunk can be very fluted and twisted. The slash is pink and oxidises quickly to pale yellow.


Riparian forest close to water or seasonally flooded forest.


Distribution: Senegal to Tanzania.