Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Maesopsis eminii
(umbrella tree)



Maesopsis eminii (umbrella tree)


  • Last modified
  • 20 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Maesopsis eminii
  • Preferred Common Name
  • umbrella tree
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • M. eminii is a fast-growing, large tree which has gained a reputation as a plantation tree and useful timber in the humid tropics. It is an aggressive colonizer of grasslands and disturbed areas within forests (

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TitleMature tree
Copyright©K.M. Kochummen
Mature tree©K.M. Kochummen
TitleBark and bole
Copyright©K.M. Kochummen
Bark and bole©K.M. Kochummen
Copyright©K.M. Kochummen
Foliage©K.M. Kochummen
1. habit
2. flowering branch
3. undersurface leaf
4. flower
5. branchlet with fruit
TitleLine artwork
Caption1. habit 2. flowering branch 3. undersurface leaf 4. flower 5. branchlet with fruit
CopyrightPROSEA Foundation
1. habit
2. flowering branch
3. undersurface leaf
4. flower
5. branchlet with fruit
Line artwork1. habit 2. flowering branch 3. undersurface leaf 4. flower 5. branchlet with fruitPROSEA Foundation


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Maesopsis eminii Engl.

Preferred Common Name

  • umbrella tree

Other Scientific Names

  • Maesopsis berchemioides (Pierre) A. Chev.

International Common Names

  • English: musizi
  • French: musizi

Local Common Names

  • Africa: musizi
  • Burundi: ndunga; omohumula
  • Cameroon: esenge
  • Côte d'Ivoire: manasati
  • India/Dadra and Nagar Haveli: bums
  • Indonesia: kayu afrika
  • Kenya: muhunya; mutere
  • Liberia: awuru
  • Malaysia/Peninsular Malaysia: kayu afrika
  • Rwanda: ndunga; omohumula
  • Tanzania: muhumula; musira
  • Uganda: muguruka; muhongera
  • Zambia: ndunja

EPPO code

  • MPIEM (Maesopsis eminii)


  • Maesopsis eminii subsp. berchemioides
  • Maesopsis eminii subsp. eminii

Summary of Invasiveness

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M. eminii is a fast-growing, large tree which has gained a reputation as a plantation tree and useful timber in the humid tropics. It is an aggressive colonizer of grasslands and disturbed areas within forests (Eggeling, 1940).  In Tanzania, introduction of M. eminii resulted in its invasion of evergreen rainforest, indicating deleterious effects on the ecosystem; it has been suggested that it should be controlled (Binggeli, 1990). M. eminii has also been found to be associated with invasion events in India, Rwanda and Puerto Rico (Haysom and Murphy, 2003).

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Rhamnales
  •                         Family: Rhamnaceae
  •                             Genus: Maesopsis
  •                                 Species: Maesopsis eminii

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Maesopsis is a monotypic genus in the family Rhamnaceae. Two subspecies of M. eminii are recognized: subsp. eminii, is a large tree with prominent glandular teeth along the leaf leaf margins, occurring mainly in East Africa; and subsp. berchemioides, a smaller tree with less prominent glandular teeth along leaf margins, occurring from Nigeria to Angola (Faridah Hanum and van der Maesen, 1997).


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Semi-deciduous trees to 25-45 m tall and 50-180 cm diameter, with an open spreading crown. Bole straight, cylindrical, and clear to 20 m high. Bark pale grey to whitish, deeply fissured. Inner bark crimson with distinct odour of cold cooked chicken.


Leaves alternate or sub-opposite, simple, glossy, remotely toothed along the margin, lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate, apex pointed, base rounded.

Inflorescences, flowers and fruits

Flowers in axillary cymes, small; calyx 5-lobed, petals 5. Fruit a drupe, obovoid, 20-35 x 10-18 mm, turning from green to yellow and purplish-black when ripe, mesocarp floury, cream-coloured (Eggeling, 1940).


M. eminii starts flowering and fruiting at 4 to 6 years old (Luna, 1996). Planted trees in Peninsular Malaysia flower twice a year: from February to May and from August to September. Seeds ripen about two months after flowering. They are dispersed by birds (especially hornbills in Africa), bats, rodents and monkeys (Yap and Wong, 1983). In southern India, leaf fall occurs in February to March; the leaf fall is never complete (Luna, 1996).


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M. eminii occurs naturally in a band across Western, Central and Eastern Africa (between 8°N and 6°S) from Kenya to Liberia. The species is managed in natural stands and planted in many areas throughout its native range (Francis, 1992). It has been introduced to India, Sumatra, Java, Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, Sarawak, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Hawaii, Western Samoa, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico and Malawi (Francis, 1992; Faridah Hanum and van der Maesen, 1997).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 10 Jan 2020
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Planted Reference Notes


Congo, Democratic Republic of thePresentPlanted
Congo, Republic of thePresent
Côte d'IvoirePresent
Equatorial GuineaPresent
São Tomé and PríncipePresent


IndonesiaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
MalaysiaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Peninsular MalaysiaPresentPlanted

North America

Puerto RicoPresentIntroducedInvasive



Habitat List

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Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
8 -6 50 1800

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) 10
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 22 27
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 26 34
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 16 24


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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration04number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall12003600mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

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Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • neutral
  • very acid

Soil texture

  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • infertile

Wood Products

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  • Boxes



  • Short-fibre pulp

Sawn or hewn building timbers

  • Carpentry/joinery (exterior/interior)
  • For light construction

Wood wool

Wood-based materials

  • Particleboard
  • Plywood


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Ananthanarayana AK; Jain JC, 1982. A note on the physical and mechanical properties of Maesopsis eminii Engl. (Musizi). Indian Forester, 108(12):741-746; 13 ref.

Ananthanarayana AK; Kumar P; Sharma SN, 1986. Possibilities of utilization of some exotic species from plantations for timber products. Van Vigyan, 24(1-2):21-24; 11 ref.

Binggeli P, 1990. Maesopsis eminii invasion of the evergreen rain forest in the east Usambaras (Tanzania). Biology and control of invasive plants Ruthin, Clwyd, UK; Richards, Moorhead & Laing Ltd, 1-7

Brasnett NV, 1940. Stump planting. E. Afr. agric. J. 5 (387-8).

Brown KW, 1964. Observations on a stem canker of Musizi (Maesopsis eminii Engl.). E. Afr. agric. For. J. 30 (1), (54-8). 4 refs.

Butt RA, 1962. Trials of species for timber planting in the savanna woodland zone of North Uganda. 1962. pp. 32 + 8 photos. 5 refs. (Eighth British Commonwealth Forestry Conference, East Africa, 1962.). Goverment Printer, Entebbe.

Daryono H, 1982. Effect of soil texture on the growth of seedlings of some fast-growing species. [Pengaruh tekstur tanah terhadap pertumbuhan beberapa bibit jenis tumbuh cepat.] Laporan, Balai Penelitian Hutan, Indonesia, No. 391, v + 27 pp.; 12 ref.

Dawkins HC, 1963. Observations on crown-diameter, stocking, silvicultural requirements and possible yield of Maesopsis. Tech. Note For. Dep. Uganda No. 114/63, 1963. pp. 2.

Eggeling WJ, 1940. The indigenous trees of Uganda. Govt. Printer, Entebbe, Uganda. 1940. pp. xxii + 296.

Egli AE, 1994. Einfluss ausgewahlter Standortsfaktoren in Abhangigkeit von zehn nicht Stickstoff fixierenden Baumarten auf die Ertragsbildung wichtiger Feldfruchte unter agroforstlichen Anbaubedingungen. Ein Beispiel aus Butare/Rwanda (Ost-/Zentralafrika) [Effect of selected site factors with ten tree species not fixing nitrogen on the yield of important field crops under agroforestry conditions of cultivation. An example from Butare, Rwanda (East/Central Africa)]. Forstwissenschaftliche Beitrage, ETH Zurich, 13.

Etheridge DE, 1965. Report to the government of Tanzania on forest tree diseases. FAO Report No. 2056, 1965. pp. iv + 23. [12 refs.]. Expanded Program of Technical Assistance, FAO, Rome.

Faridah Hanum I; Maesen LJG van der, eds. , 1997. Plant resources of southeast Asia. No. 11. Auxillary plants. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys.

Ferlin G, 1970. Memories of the Sudan. Bois For. Trop. (133), (3-15). [3 refs.].

Francis JK, 1992. Maesopsis eminii Engl., Musizi. Rhamnaceae. Buckthorn family. Research Note SO-ITF-SM-8. USDA Forest Service, Southern Forest Experiment Station, Institute of Tropical Forestry, New Orleans, LA, USA.

Geary TF; Briscoe CB, 1972. Tree species for plantations in the granitic uplands of Puerto Rico. Forest Service Research Paper, Institute of Tropical Forestry, Puerto Rico, No. ITF-14, 8 pp.; 6 ref.

Harris WV, 1948. Report on a trail with DDT and BHC for the protection of timber against termites. E. Afr. agric. J. 14 (1), (49-500. 3 refs.

Haysom K; Murphy S, 2003. The status of invasiveness of forest tree species outside their natural habitat: a global review and discussion paper. Rome, Italy: FAO.

International Centre for Research in Agroforestry, 1992. A selection of useful trees and shrubs for Kenya: notes on their identification, propagation and management for use by agricultural and pastoral communities. 226 pp.; 25 ref.

Kamil RN; Suwandi K, 1974. Test on eight wood species from Lampung [S. Sumatra] and Jasinga [W. Java] for wood-wool board. Laporan, Lembaga Penelitian Hasil Hutan, No. 33, 15 pp.; 7 ref.

Kingston B, 1974. Growth and yield of Maesopis eminii in Uganda. Technical Note, Uganda Forest Department, No.200-74, 41 pp.

Lawton RM, 1967. The conservation and management of the riparian evergreen forests of Zambia. Commonw. For. Rev. 46 (3), (223-32). [4 refs.].

Lawton RM, 1968. A new record, Maesopsis eminii Engl., for Zambia. Kirkia, Salisbury 1968/1969 7 (1), (145-6 + 2 figs.). [6 refs.].

Lee SS; Manap AA, 1982. Cylindrocladium scoparium Morgan -- a new pathogen of some forest tree species in Peninsular Malaysia. Pertanika, 5(1):72-75

Luna RK, 1996. Plantation trees. Delhi, India: International Book Distributors.

Mitchell BA, 1963. Possibilities for forest plantations. Malay. Forester 26 (4), (259-86 + 8 photos). 30 refs.

Mugasha AG, 1980. Growth of Maesopsis eminii Engl. in pure stands and under different forms of competition. Tanzania Silviculture Technical Note, No. 48, 11 pp.; 18 ref.

Mugasha AG, 1981. The silviculture of Tanzanian indigenous tree species. II. Maesopsis eminii. Tanzania Silviculture Technical Note, No. 52, 14 pp.; 35 ref.

Ofong AU, 1974. The incidence of cankers on Maesopsis eminii Engl. in Mabira Forest, Uganda. East African Agricultural and Forestry Journal, 39(3):311-320; 4 fig., 2 maps, 4 tab.

Palmer ER; Gibbs JA; Dutta AP, 1983. Pulping characteristics of hardwood species growing in plantations in Fiji. Report, Tropical Products Institute, No. L64, v + 38 pp.; 6 ref.

Philip MS, 1961. Maesopsis plantations in Kakamega forest, Kenya. Tech. Note For. Dep. Uganda No. 90 (61), 1961. pp. 3.

Prabhu VV; Theagarajan KS, 1986. Studies on the fatty oil of Maesopsis eminii seed. Van Vigyan, 24(3-4):116-117; 1 ref.

Rajasekaran P, 1993. In vitro plantlet regeneration of Maesopsis eminii Engl. Indian Journal of Forestry, 16(4):339-346; 14 ref.

Remaudiere G; Autrique A, 1984. Toxoptera odinae, an Asian aphid recently discovered in Africa. [Toxoptera odinae (van der Goot), puceron asiatique recemment decouvert en Afrique.] Comptes Rendus des Seances de l'Academie d'Agriculture de France, 70(3):379-385; APB; 33 ref.

Sandrasegaran K, 1966. Optimum planting distances and crop densities of the ten exotic species in Malaya utilising triangular spacing based on a consideration of crown diameter to stem diameter relationship. Res. Pamphl. For. Res. Inst., Kepong No. 51, 1966. pp. 44. [4 refs.].

Sandrasegaran K, 1966. Permanent sample plot information on stocking, growth and yield of Maesopsis eminii Engl. (grown in the plantations at the Forest Research Institute, Kepong, Malaya). Res. Pamphl. For. Res. Inst., Kepong No. 49, 1966. pp. 23. [16 refs.].

Silitonga H; Hamzah Z; Manan S, 1987. The KPH Bondowso Agroforestry Model in East Java. Possible uses of coffee plants (Coffea robusta Lind.) as an auxiliary forest crop and as a source of income for local people. Duta Rimba, 13(79-80):3-8; 14 ref.

Smiet AC, 1990. Agro-forestry and fuel-wood in Java. Environmental Conservation, 17(3):235-238; 12 ref.

Sreenivasan MS; Dharmaraj PS, 1991. Maesopsis eminii Engl a fast growing shade tree for coffee. Indian Coffee, 55(7):17-20

Streets RJ, 1962. Exotic forest trees in the British Commonwealth. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press.

Swabey C, 1954. Silviculture of Musizi (Maesopsis eminii). Tech. Note For. Dep. Uganda 1954. No. 10/54 pp. 3.

Tack CH, 1953. Plywood and veneer species. Technical Note Forest Department, Uganda, No. 5: 1-2.

Vivien J; Faure JJ, 1989. Wild fruit trees of Cameroon. Correspondence between the vernacular or common names and the scientific names. [Fruitiers sauvages du Cameroun. Correspondance des noms vernaculaires ou communs et des noms scientifiques.] Fruits Paris, 44(9):477-490; 34 ref.

von Carlowitz PG, 1991. Multipurpose Trees and Shrubs - Sources of Seeds and Inoculants. Nairobi, Kenya: ICRAF.

Warsopranoto RS; Soerjono R; Ardikusuma RI, 1966. Results of an investigation of Maesopsis eminii plantations in the S. Bandung forest management unit. Rimba Indonesia 11 (1/4), (1-12). [Indon.e. 3 refs.].

Webb DB; Wood PJ; Smith JP; Henman GS, 1984. A guide to species selection for tropical and sub-tropical plantations. Tropical Forestry Papers, No. 15. Oxford, UK: Commonwealth Forestry Institute, University of Oxford.

Widiarti A; Alrasjid H, 1987. Introduction of fuelwood tree species on degraded lands in Paseh and Kadipaten areas. [Penanaman introduksi jenis pohon kayu bakar di lahan kritis paseh dan kadipaten.] Buletin Penelitian Hutan, Pusat Penelitian dan Pengembangan Hutan, No. 488, 1-17; 9 ref.

Yap SK; Wong SM, 1983. Seed biology of Acacia mangium, Albizia falcataria, Eucalyptus spp., Gmelina arborea, Maesopsis eminii, Pinus caribaea and Tectona grandis. Malaysian Forester, recd. 1985, 46(1):26-45; 12 ref.

Links to Websites

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GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gateway source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

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