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Excerpt: Julbernardia paniculata is a medium to large tropical
tree, also known as muchesa. It is widespread over the warmer parts
of south tropical Africa, preferring moderately high altitudes,
typically 1,000 to 1,200 metres (3,300 to 3,900 ft). It is very
common over its range and is the dominant woodland tree in Miombo
woodland over much of central Zambia and northern Malawi. The
Muchesa is restricted in its range by availability of reliably wet
conditions in the growing season of November to March. The rest of
the year's rainfall is less important although it should be much
drier as it requires at least a short dry resting period so its
northern limits are determined by sufficient contrast between these
two seasons. It does not occur south of the Zambezi river as it
cannot withstand any frost or months with average temperatures of
15 C (59 F) or below. As a result it grows in a band across the
continent from north and north-east Angola through Katanga in
Democratic Republic of the Congo and across the northern two-thirds
of Zambia towards the inland plateau of north Mozambique and as far
north as central Tanzania. Unlike its close relatives the msasa and
mnondo the muchesa does not become bare during the dry season and
only loses its leaves in the run-up to its spring flush of new
leaves between mid-August and early September. As a result it makes
much less of a brilliant show of colour than other miombo woodland
trees. The new leaves are, however, a very attractive red colour.
The tree itself grows a well-proportioned shape and fine specimens
are common, usually reaching heights of 2023 metres (6675 ft) in
its favoured localities such as plateau woodland. The tree is
recognisable by its grey bark, which flakes off in chunks ... More:
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