Field Mission Ghana (2015)

Ghana is a West African country located along the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean. Spanning a land mass of 238,535 square km, the country is bordered by the Ivory Coast in the west, Burkina Faso in the north, Togo in the east and the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean in the south. Just before having received the financial support of the A. Lombard (2015) Extraordinary Grant, we organized a field mission to Ghana in search of Hyphaene guineensis populations. We visited the country from 12 to 21 of May (2015) and the field work was co-organised by the Ghanaian botanist Mr. Patrick Ekpe. Great support was also received from the herbarium technician Prosper Avekor. For this travel also participated the PhD student Doudjo Ouattara (University Nangui Abrogua, Ivory Coast). Some results of this field mission were published by Stauffer et al. (2018)

The Department of Botany of the University of Ghana, in particular Mr. Patrick Ekpe, was the scientific partner of our project. The palm flora of this country was already studied by Doudjo Ouattara and Fred Stauffer between 2012 and 2014. This University has impressive facilities and a very extensive and well-developed campus.

The University of Ghana is the largest and oldest University in the country. The scientific facilities of the Department of Botany  and specially the “Guest Centre” are well equipped to receive foreign researchers.

General view of the herbarium (GC) of the Department of Botany of the University of Ghana. In this herbarium, Mr. Patrick Ekpe and Mr. Prosper Avekor greatly supported our work.

Patrick Ekpe is not only a skilled botanist but a very reliable driver!. He drove during almost 10 days searching for Hyphaene guineensis populations

On the road to the Eastern region of Ghana, along the coastal line of the country. We approach in this area the western border of the Dahomey Gap, referring to the portion of the Guinean forest-savanna mosaic that extends all the way to the coast in Benin, Togo and Ghana, thus separating the forest zone that covers much of the south of the region into two separate parts. In this region we frequently saw stands of Borassus aethiopum

DNA sampling of individuals from Hyphaene guineensis. Patrick Ekpe (center) and Prosper Avekor (right) efficiently supported this field mission

Small individual of Hyphaene guineensis, already at reproductive stage.

Massive, adult individual of Hyphaene guineensis. When approaching this palm we had the impression that two seeds germinated from the same fruit, giving rise to this magnificent twin individual.

The herbarium technician Prosper Avekor (Herbarium of the University of Ghana– GC) holds an old male inflorescence of Hyphaene guineensis

This is team work!. Back to the hotel we had to press all the material. Doudjo Ouattara (left) and Prosper Avekor holding unripe infructescences of Hyphaene guineensis

We ended our mission in Ghana visiting the famous Aburi Botanical Garden, a beautiful garden dating back to the times of the British colony when the country was still called “Gold Coast”. This Roystonea regia road can be compared to those planted in the botanical gardens of Rio (Brazil) or Caracas (Venezuela)