Lannea sp. Tulear (2013)

PhotoBy Nikki Murdick (January 2003)

Lannea sp. Tulear is a recently recognized species introduced to the field by the Huntington Botanical Gardens ISI offerings in 2007. As a result, there is not much information available that is specific to this particular plant. In some instances, it is known as L. asymmetrica.

Lannea sp. Tulear is a succulent shrub or tree that is a member of the cashew family, Anacardiaceae. Plants in the Anacardiaceae family include pistachios, mangos, cashews and numerous species of sumac that can be found worldwide. But Lannea sp. Tulear is found specifically in the area around Tulear or Tolieara, Madagascar.

Tulear is the name of both a city and a region on the southwestern side of the island of Madagascar. It has been described as a sweltering, humid and dusty place in an area where the savannah, bush and grassy plains meet, and vast sand dunes run along the coast. Lannea sp. Tulear typically grows in hilly areas and near water features.

Plants within the Anacardiaceae are closely related to the Burseraceae family. And similar to the burseras, Lannea sp. Tulear has an attractive knobby pachycaulous trunk that thickens slowly but consistently. The trunk is said to be either a purplish-grey or light grey color with fine white “hairs” on the trunk.

In habitat, Lannea sp. Tulear can grow to about 30 feet in height. It is a summer grower with flowers and fruit appearing on the ends of the twigs before or at the same time as the leaves appear. As with other members of the Anacardiaceae family, it is said the fruit can be eaten – and is by some people in the area around Tulear.

Plants within the Anacardiaceae family often have aromatic resin or latex that is toxic. Many species within this family produce a class of chemicals known as urishols, the same as produced by poison ivy. Most humans do not initially have a reaction to these chemicals, known as anacards, but may have a reaction after repeated contact. It is suggested that care be taken when handling any plants within this family to reduce contact with the sap of the plant.

Following are sources that have information about the family of Anacardiaceae in general with some specific information about Lannea sp. Tulear.

Anacardiaceae –
Cactus and Succulent Journal – March 2007 – Huntington Botanical Gardens ISI offering
The Cashew and Its Relatives: Anacardium, Anacardiaceae – Mitchell, J. D.; Mori, S. A. – 1987
Flora of Tropical East Africa – Balkema, A. A.; Polhill, R. M. (Ed.) – 1986
Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants – Uggli, E. – 2002