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Trichilia welwitschii C. DC.

General Information

This species has rather dull fruits which, when ripe, split open to reveal two to three shiny black seeds with bright red arils. The seeds hang suspended from the fruit by a fragile thread that moves gently in the slightest breeze. With this colour combination they must be attractive to birds and mammals. For most of the year, however, this is a particularly unremarkable small tree with pinnately compound leaves in the forest understory. Two important characters that separate it from Trichilia rubescens, which is similar, are the presence of a little white latex in the bark (absent in T. rubescens) and the roundish petiole base (winged in T. rubescens). If you have both species side by side the tertiary venation is tighter on the underside of the leaflets in T. welwitschii.


A very common understory tree in mixed species terra firma forest.


Distribution: Nigeria to DRC, Gabon and Angola.