Botanical Name: Cedrelopsis grevei
Species: Cedrelopsis grevei
Synonyms: Katafa crassisepalum Costantin & Poisson
Common Names: Katrafay , Kathrafay
Cedrelopsis grevei is native to Africa – western and southern Madagascar. It grows on open woodland, scrubland, secondary forest and seasonally dry forest, at elevations from sea-level up to 500 metres, occasionally to 900 metres.
Cedrelopsis grevei is a deciduous, monoecious or dioecious, medium-sized tree up to 28 m tall; bole straight, branchless for up to 9 m, up to 60(–120) cm in diameter; bark surface pale greyish to yellowish, rough; young twigs short-hairy.
Leaves alternate, 12–20 cm long, paripinnately compound with up to 10 leaflets; stipules absent; petiole 3–4.5 cm long; petiolules 1.5–5 mm long; leaflets alternate or opposite, elliptical-oblong, 3–5(–8) cm × 1–1.5(–3) cm, base slightly asymmetrical, cuneate, apex slightly notched, margins slightly wavy, densely gland-dotted, hairy, pinnately veined with 12–18 pairs of lateral veins.
Inflorescence an axillary panicle, short-hairy.
Flowers unisexual or bisexual, regular, 5-merous, aromatic; pedicel 1–3 mm long; calyx with triangular lobes 4–5 mm long, thick, densely short-hairy; petals free, elliptical-oblong, 8–10 mm long, apex pointed and curled inwards, pink to yellowish, outside short-hairy; male flowers with 5 free stamens shorter than petals, disk lobed, c. 1 mm long, ovary rudimentary; female flowers with 5 rudimentary stamens, disk small, ovary superior, ovoid, 3–4 mm long, slightly 5-lobed, sparsely short-hairy, 5-celled, style c. 1 mm long, thick, stigma 5-lobed; bisexual flowers with slightly reduced stamens and ovary, and biologically non-functional.
Fruit an ellipsoid capsule up to 3 cm long, dehiscing with 5 woody valves, short-hairy to glabrous, brownish to black at maturity, up to 12-seeded.
Seeds ellipsoid, laterally flattened, c. 2 cm long, with a thin apical wing.
Found in the wild on a wide variety of soil types, often on red or yellow sandy soils, but it grows taller in river valleys than on plateau soils. The tree grows slowly, with annual increments in height of less than 50cm per year. It reaches a height of 50 – 300cm by the age of 7 years. It is estimated to need over 40 years to produce a small pole. This species can be either monoecious or dioecious. If dioecious, then both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required.
Edible Uses: The bitter and aromatic stem bark is used to aromatise local rum, and is also an ingredient of bitter, non-alcoholic drinks.
One of the most important medicinal trees in Madagascar, it is valued especially for the essential oil obtained from the bark, but also has a wide range of other applications. There have been several studies carried out on the plant. The constituents of the essential oil can be extremely variable depending on the location of collection. The main components are ishwarane, beta-caryophyllene, alpha-copaene, beta-elemene and alpha-selinene. The oils from the bark and the leaf were found to have a similar composition, but the relative percentages of some compounds notably differed. Numerous coumarins have been isolated from the stem bark. One of these, cedrecoumarin A, showed agonistic activity on both alpha and beta-oestrogenic receptors as well as superoxide scavenging activity. The hexane extract of the stem bark furthermore yielded triterpenoids, limonoid derivatives, pentanortriterpenoids, a hexanortriterpenoid and quassinoids. The bark extract has been shown to induce a progressive decrease in blood pressure, which is partly due to the presence of coumarins. A crude stem bark extract showed significant cicatrizing effect on skin ulcers, as well as antibacterial activity (e.g. against Staphylococcus albicans and Pseudomonas aeruginosa) and antifungal activity (against Candida albicans). The essential oil obtained from the bark is commonly used in massaging to treat general body pain, toothache, broken bones, muscular pain, arthritis and rheumatism, and a massage of the back is given to treat tiredness and fever. It is also used in baths for these purposes. Its tonic effects as well as its aphrodisiac effects are well appreciated, as it is considered to improve physical and mental fitness. A stem bark extract is traditionally taken against cough, asthma, tuberculosis, pneumonia, diabetes, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, rheumatism, intestinal worms, headache, tiredness and as a post-partum tonic. It is also used as a vaginal shower after childbirth for its tonic effects, and is externally applied to wounds and skin infections. Sometimes a root bark decoction is taken to treat diarrhoea or asthma. A vapour bath of the leaves is taken to treat weakness of the blood vessels, headache and a sore throat. The seeds are chewed as an anthelmintic and to treat stomach-ache.
Other uses rating: Medium (3/5). Other Uses: An essential oil is obtained from the bark. It is mainly used medicinally. The heartwood is pale yellow to pale brown, somewhat mottled and slightly darker than the 25mm wide band of whitish sapwood. The grain is usually straight; texture fine. The wood is scented and contains resin cells. The wood is very heavy, very hard, flexible. It works fairly well with hand and machine tools, but has a marked blunting effect and stellite-tipped sawteeth are needed. Splitting on nailing and screwing is common, and pre-boring is recommended. The wood glues, polishes, waxes, varnishes and paints well. It is reputed for its resistance to wood rot and insect attack. The sapwood is susceptible to Lyctus borers. The heartwood is very resistant to impregnation. The wood has a wide range of used, being employed in heavy construction, carving, cabinet work, tool handles, interior joinery, interior trim, heavy parquet flooring, sliced veneer, plywood, ship and boat building, railway sleepers, vehicle bodies, electricity and construction poles and cattle enclosures. Because of its hardness and resistance to fungal and insect attack, it is considered imperishable and it is traditionally used for making royal Sakalava tombs. The wood is used for fuel and for making charcoal.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.