Kampala Tree and Palm Directory

Tree Species
Common Name
Tree Description
Tree Uses

English: champak, Joy perfume tree, Yellow jade orchid tree and fragrant Himalayan champaca.

+ Tree Species

Magnolia champaca

+ Tree Family


+ Ecology

The tree is native to the Indomalaya ecozone, consisting of South Asia, Southeast Asia Indochina, and southern China. It is found in Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests ecoregions, at elevations of 200 1,600 meters (660 5,250 ft.). The fragrant flowers attract butterflies and humming birds. Its aril covered seeds are highly attractive to birds.In Kampala, champak can be found within Uganda Golf course club, Kitante courts, Makerere University, along Lugogo bypass, Wandegeya road among other places.

+ Description

Champaca is a large evergreen tree with a close tapering conical to cylindrical crown composed of ascending branches. It can grow 33 meters or taller, with some specimens attaining 50 meters. It has a long straight bole that can be 18 - 21 meters long more and, under ordinary forest conditions, 80 - 120cm in diameter. This tree has large mid-green leaves and sweetly fragrant flowers. Branchlets terete with annular scars of caducous stipules, glabrous; apical bud covered by sericeous lanceolate stipules.

BARK:  smooth grey trunk, lenticellate; blaze cream with orange speckles.

LEAVES: slender, glossy bright green leaves droop from horizontal branches, simple, alternate, spiral; petiole 1-3 cm long, stout and plano-convex in cross section; lamina 9.5-25 x 3.5-9 cm, elliptic-lanceolate, apex acuminate with twisted acumen, base acute to attenuate, margin slightly undulate, glabrous, chartaceous; midrib nearly flat above; secondary nerves 12-16 pairs; tertiary nerves closely and strongly reticulate.

FLOWES: solitary, axillary, largeorange, yellow / golden flowers.

FRUIT: red when mature, fruit capsule, follicles, warty, 2-3 cm long, arranged as spike, dehiscing dorsally; seeds 1, scarlet.

+ Uses

Edible: the aromatic bark is sometimes used for the adulteration of cinnamon.

Medicine: bark, leaves, the flowers, and seeds. http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php id=Magnolia+champaca

Agroforestry: the tree is used to reforest badly eroded areas, soil under tree cover increases soil pH, soil organic carbon and available phosphorus.

The flowers yield an essential champaca oil used in perfumery.

Michelia leaf oil is extracted from the leaves.

The sweetly scented flowers are used for hair adornment.

A yellow dye is obtained from the flowers.

Provides timber for furniture, cabinet work, carvings, turnery and pattern making. It can also be used for cement-bonded wood-wool board.

The tree is used as fuel wood.

The tree can be used to make fragrant hair and massage oils.

Flowers are used to be floated in bowls of water to scent the room, as a fragrant decoration for bridal beds, and for garlands.

The flowers can be used for worship at temples and home.

The flowers are worn in hair by girls and women as a means of beauty ornament as well as a natural perfume.

An ornamental tree useful for large gardens and parks.

+ Propagation

Seeds, grafting, cuttings, Air-Layering.

+ Management

Pruning is seldom needed. Provide adequate water in dry periods. The seeds are oily and quickly lose their viability, so should be sown as soon as possible after harvesting. It is planted in containers in cooler temperate climates and it requires full sun and regular watering.

+ Remarks

Champaca is particularly valued for its essential oil and timber, and is sometimes cultivated for these. The tree is also used in reforestation projects. It is commonly cultivated as an ornamental and wayside tree throughout the tropics, being valued especially for its fragrant flowers, which are often used in religious ceremonies. "Magnolia Champaca however is rarer and has a strong perfume, and is not that commonly or plentifully used for example: in hair it is worn singly or as a small corsage but rarely as a whole garland, and for bridal beds it is most often jasmine and roses while for bowls of water to be placed around rooms usually other, more colorful for visual decoration and less strongly perfumed flowers are used."

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