Geography and distribution
Restricted to northeast Madagascar (Antsiranana province), Dalbergia andapensis is found in the area stretching from the region of Andapa to just south of Vohemar. It occurs at 400-500 metres above sea level.
Herbarium type specimen of Dalbergia andapensis collected in Madagascar by H. Humbert and R. Capuron in 1948.
Overview: Dalbergia andapensis is a small tree, growing up to 10 m tall. Its blackish-brown twigs are covered in fine hairs, which are later lost as the twigs age.
Leaves: Its leaves are 5-9 cm long and are composed of 7-13 alternately arranged leaflets. The leaflets are elliptic, or sometimes narrowly egg-shaped, and are 1.5-4.4 x 1-1.8 cm in size. The upper surface of the leaflets is hairless, or occasionally with some hairs along the midvein, and the lower surface is densely covered with fine hairs.
Flowers: The creamy white flowers are 5-6 mm long and are borne on a branched (paniculate) inflorescence. Flowering occurs in December. The calyx (consisting of a tube and five sepals) is yellowish except for the dark purple base. The standard (banner) petal is more or less violin-shaped and slightly notched at the tip.
Fruits: The leathery fruits are 4-10 cm long, elliptic to ovate, and 1- or 2-seeded.
Seeds: The blackish brown seeds measure 10-12 x 6-7 mm and are more or less kidney-shaped.
Threats and conservation
The major threat to Dalbergia andapensis is the rapid deforestation of the humid forest in which it occurs.
Forest clearance continues for cattle-grazing, slash-and-burn cultivation, charcoal production and logging for ebony and rosewood, and uncontrolled bush-fires are a common part of the process.
Although D. andapensis is known to occur within one protected area (Marojejy National Park), illegal logging remains a high risk. Further research is needed to establish the extent of the remaining populations of this species, and to produce recommendations for its protection.
Conservation assessments carried out at Kew
Dalbergia andapensis is being monitored as part of the 'IUCN Sampled Red List Index for Plants', which aims to produce conservation assessments for a representative sample of the world’s plant species. This information will then be used to monitor trends in extinction risk and help focus conservation efforts where they are needed most.
Although not used itself, other species of Dalbergia, many known as rosewoods, are important timber trees and are valued for their hard, rich burgundy-coloured, scented wood. Rosewood, in the generic sense, is used for the production of fine furniture and musical instruments.
Where to see this species at Kew
Pressed, dried specimens of Dalbergia andapensis are held in the Herbarium at Kew, where they are made available to bona fide researchers by appointment. The details of one of these specimens can be seen online in the Herbarium Catalogue.