Yanita (Pterocymbium oceanicum)

Yanita (Pterocymbium oceanicum)

The Yanita (Pterocymbium oceanicum) is a beautiful tall tree that can grow from 15-30m in height.

Also known as:

Local Names: Yanita, Anita, Ma

Description

The Yanita is a beautiful tall tree that can grow from 15-30m in height. It does not have many branches, with most of the branches crowding at the top of the tree.

Descriptions of the flowers and fruits are limited due to the lack of specimens and data available on this species.

Distribution

Yanita is endemic to Fiji, and has only been recorded from northwestern Viti Levu (in the Nausori Highlands) and from the east-central Vanua Levu.

Habitat Ecology and Behaviour

This species is a dominant, emergent tree in the dry forests of Fiji. Yanita trees have been observed bearing flowers in September; sterile trees have been observed in November, February and August. They are presumed to bear fruits, but as yet these have never been seen.

There is not much else known of this endemic plant. The members of the genus Pterocymbium are known to be monoecious trees.

 Yanita (Pterocymbium oceanicum) map

Yanita (Pterocymbium oceanicum) map

Threats

Because of the lack of data on this endemic plant, we cannot be certain of the threats to its population or its habitat. However, this is a dry forest species and so it has probably disappeared with the conversion of Fiji’s dry forest to agriculture, mainly sugar cane, and grasslands through repeated burning.

Conservation Status

Remaining populations and their distribution are very poorly known. However, not so long ago this species was sufficiently common to enable many of the wooden bridges along the King’s highway, in the Wainibuka area to be made of timber from the Yanita. This species was heavily exploited in both Koroyanitu (Mt. Evans range) and the Nausori highlands the high forest in the dry side of Fiji.

Remarks and Cultural Significance

Remaining populations and their distribution are very poorly known. However, not so long ago this species was sufficiently common to enable many of the wooden bridges along the King’s highway, in the Wainibuka area to be made of timber from the Yanita. This species was heavily exploited in both Koroyanitu (Mt. Evans range) and the Nausori highlands – the high forest in the dry side of Fiji.

References

Alston (1982);
Smith (1981);
Tuiwawa, M. (personal communication).

Front Page Photo: Gunnar Keppel