Reproductive ecology of Coula edulis Baill.: source of a valuable non-timber forest product. Tropical Ecology. Tropical Ecology, 55(3), 327-338.
The reproductive ecology of Coula edulis (Olacaceae), source of a highly valuable nontimber product for African populations, has been investigated on a large tree sample size in a Gabonese forest for a 3-year period, in order to propose options for its domestication. Reproduction is annual and the minimum tree diameter for flowering was 10.6 cm while the diameter for regular fructification was 23 cm. The annual diameter increment (ADI; mean = 0.22 cm year-1) was affected by crown exposure, but not by initial tree diameter or fruit production. Tree diameter influenced fruiting frequency and fruit production. There was a strong correlation between fruit production of 2011 and 2012 (Pearson’s r = 0.85; P < 0.001), suggesting a high heritability of that trait. Phenotypical selection should be performed prior to any propagation activity. Moreover, as most of C. edulis fruits were sterile (64%), we proposed that sylvicultural strategies should be based on vegetative propagation.