Annona senegalensis in Zanzibar

Annona senegalensis (Mtopetope) is a common coral rag tree in Zanzibar. It ranks as number 7 in the tree species abundance list of the islands.

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Annona senegalensis in Zanzibar. Mr. Said Fakih presents the emerging bud, 7 November 2006.

Annona senegalensis Pers. 1806 belongs to ANNONACEAE – Custard-apple family. By common name it is known as Wild custard apple or Wild soursop. Most often used synonym is Annona chrysophylla Bojer.

The global distribution of Annona senegalensis is typically tropical. In Africa it is Sub Saharan species (source: Missouri Botanical Garden).

In Tanzania Annona senegalensis grows within semiarid and subhumid regions as a single shrub in the understorey of a variety of ecosystems like savannah woodlands, open bush, along rivers, mixed scrub and rock at low to medium altitude. It is found also in swampy forest in high rainfall areas. It is widely distributed throughout Tanzania, like where it grows in wet lowland savannah by the coast, in the Usambaras and in Lake Victoria basin. A. senegalensis is found in Zanzibar islands, in Tanga and other coast regions, as well as in Tabora, Iringa, Ruvuma, Morogoro and Mbeya. In the mainland it is widespread in Brachystegia and Combretum woodlands.

In Zanzibar islands Annona senegalensis is more widespread in Unguja. Altogether 12.1 million trees (stems) have been estimated in Zanzibar islands out of which 10.8 million trees grow in Unguja and 1.3 million trees in Pemba. The corresponding woody biomass volumes are 67 000 m3 and 13 000 m3 for Unguja and Pemba, respectively. The figures show that the average tree size in Unguja is much smaller than in Pemba. This is due to heavier fuel wood harvesting pressure in Unguja coral rag forest thickets.

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