Every year during the months of July and August when the afrostyrax lepidophyllus starts fruiting, ERuDeF staff working for this project go to the foot of the mountain to collect the seeds. Not even the rains this year could stop the team as they went about collecting the seeds.
The Afrostyrax lepidophyllus was first identified at the foot hills of the Mt Etinde during a threatened tree survey in 2007 after several failed attempts. Since its identification, ERuDeF has been collecting them and propagating them in nurseries. This year, a community member Ekwalla Samuel joined the team and served as a guide into the forest. Upon identification of a tree, the team spread around the bottom of the tree searching for the little brown seeds on the forest floor. These seeds were not easily distinguished given the dark nature of the forest, however, looking keenly these little brown seeds were picked.
Afrostyrax lepidophyllus is a species of plant in the Huaceae family. It is found in Cameroon, Gabon, and Ghana. It is threatened by habitat loss. The bark extract of Afrostyrax lepidophyllus has shown pesticidal activity against nematodes and arthropods, including insecticide-resistant strains of lice and blowflies. They are found in areas of wet evergreen forest. Their major threats include forest conversion into a commercial plantation and in some cases mining activities has destroyed areas of forest. According to the IUCN Red List Classification, this plant is vulnerable.
By Asa’a Lemawah