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Useful Tropical Plants

Cordia africana

Lam.

Boraginaceae

+ Synonyms

Calyptracordia abyssinica (R.Br.) Friesen

Cordia abyssinica R.Br.

Cordia holstii Gürke

Cordia ubanghensis A.Chev.

Varronia abyssinica (R.Br.) DC.

Common Name:

Cordia africana
Close-up of the flowers
Photograph by: Günter Baumann; African plants - A Photo Guide
© Günter Baumann
Cordia africana Cordia africana Cordia africana Cordia africana

General Information

Cordia africana is an evergreen shrub or tree with a heavily branched, spreading, umbrella-shaped or rounded
crown. It usually grows 4 - 15 metres tall, but some specimens can be up to 30 metres[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. The bole can be 60cm in diameter[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
], but is often short and of poor form, especially in drier areas.
A multipurpose tree, providing food, medicines and materials for the local population. Often gathered from the wild, it is also cultivated for the timber, its edible berries, as shade tree in coffee plantations, as a medicinal plant and also for ornament[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
,
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
,
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

Tropical Africa - drier areas from Senegal and Mali to Ethiopia, south through eastern DR Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Madagascar.

Habitat

Savannah woodland[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
]. Often found in woodland and brush in warm moist areas, and along river banks, in Tanzania it is common in pastureland[
392
Title
Indigenous multipurpose trees of Tanzania.
Publication
 
Author
Hines. D.A. & Eckman. K.
Publisher
 
Year
1993
ISBN
0-9697075-0-9
Description
A simple handbook with information on over 50 species of trees found in Tanzania giving details of environmental requirements, cultivation needs, uses etc. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. Found at low to medium elevations[
392
Title
Indigenous multipurpose trees of Tanzania.
Publication
 
Author
Hines. D.A. & Eckman. K.
Publisher
 
Year
1993
ISBN
0-9697075-0-9
Description
A simple handbook with information on over 50 species of trees found in Tanzania giving details of environmental requirements, cultivation needs, uses etc. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height10.00 m
Growth RateSlow
PollinatorsBees
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of the drier to moist tropics, where it is found at elevations from 550 - 2,700 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 25 - 30°c, but can tolerate 5 - 34°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Mature plants can be killed by temperatures of -2°c or lower, but young growth can be severely damaged at -1°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 700 - 1,500mm, but tolerates 500 - 2,000mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Prefers a sunny position[
392
Title
Indigenous multipurpose trees of Tanzania.
Publication
 
Author
Hines. D.A. & Eckman. K.
Publisher
 
Year
1993
ISBN
0-9697075-0-9
Description
A simple handbook with information on over 50 species of trees found in Tanzania giving details of environmental requirements, cultivation needs, uses etc. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. Prefers light, deep, and well-drained soils and moist conditions, though it can succeed in most soils[
392
Title
Indigenous multipurpose trees of Tanzania.
Publication
 
Author
Hines. D.A. & Eckman. K.
Publisher
 
Year
1993
ISBN
0-9697075-0-9
Description
A simple handbook with information on over 50 species of trees found in Tanzania giving details of environmental requirements, cultivation needs, uses etc. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 6, tolerating 4.5 - 7[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
A slow to moderately fast growing plant, it can reach a height of 7 - 8 metres after 7 years[
392
Title
Indigenous multipurpose trees of Tanzania.
Publication
 
Author
Hines. D.A. & Eckman. K.
Publisher
 
Year
1993
ISBN
0-9697075-0-9
Description
A simple handbook with information on over 50 species of trees found in Tanzania giving details of environmental requirements, cultivation needs, uses etc. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
Plants can start flowering when 3 - 5 years old[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
Plants coppice and pollard well[
392
Title
Indigenous multipurpose trees of Tanzania.
Publication
 
Author
Hines. D.A. & Eckman. K.
Publisher
 
Year
1993
ISBN
0-9697075-0-9
Description
A simple handbook with information on over 50 species of trees found in Tanzania giving details of environmental requirements, cultivation needs, uses etc. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw or cooked[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
]. A popular fruit wherever it grows, it can be eaten raw or the pulp can be cooked with porridge to add a sweetness[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
]. Usually combined with honey, the fruit is made into a sweetmeat called alewa (Arabic, halaua)[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
]. The yellow, ovoid fruit is up to 12mm long and 9mm wide[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
A preparation called 'dari' is made during Ramadan from the fruits of this species, combined Balanites aegyptiaca, Ziziphus spina-christi, Tamarindus indicus and Grewia tenax. The concoction is made into a paste with flour for eating or into a refreshing drink with honey[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].

Seed[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
]. The kernels resemble walnuts (Juglans spp.) in flavour[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
]. The nuts are boiled and the liquor is bottled in gourds for two days to produce a drink called ambila[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].

Medicinal

The wood-ash, mixed with butter, is applied to certain skin-troubles[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
,
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].

Leaf decoctions are administered to treat headache, nose bleeding, dizziness and vomiting during pregnancy, and worms[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The leaves are dried and powdered to sprinkle over wounds[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].

A root-decoction is drunk as a treatment for jaundice and schistosomiasis[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
,
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].
The fresh, juicy bark is used to tie a broken bone; this splint is changed occasionally with a fresh one until the bone is healed[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

A stimulating tonic, used to treat fatigue and exhaustion while on a journey, is prepared from the bark and fruits along with the stems of Abelmoschus esculentus[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].

Fresh bark is applied to fractures and bark extracts and is also taken against fatigue[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

The tree is an early colonizer in forest regrowth and has a wide range of uses[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Although quite slow growing, it has good potential for use as a pioneer species when re-establishing woodland[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
It is often left when forests are cleared for cultivation, as the tree is an excellent shade tree for crops[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
The tree is often found in cropland, where it is grown to provide shade[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
, 332.392]. In northern Tanzania it is favoured as a shade tree for coffee because of its short bole[
392
Title
Indigenous multipurpose trees of Tanzania.
Publication
 
Author
Hines. D.A. & Eckman. K.
Publisher
 
Year
1993
ISBN
0-9697075-0-9
Description
A simple handbook with information on over 50 species of trees found in Tanzania giving details of environmental requirements, cultivation needs, uses etc. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. It provides very good mulch and can be used in other mixed cropping systems on cropland, pastureland, or rangeland to improve microclimatic conditions[
392
Title
Indigenous multipurpose trees of Tanzania.
Publication
 
Author
Hines. D.A. & Eckman. K.
Publisher
 
Year
1993
ISBN
0-9697075-0-9
Description
A simple handbook with information on over 50 species of trees found in Tanzania giving details of environmental requirements, cultivation needs, uses etc. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
Leaf fall in the dry season is heavy, and the leaves make good mulch[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
The sweetly scented flowers yield plenty of nectar and are very attractive to honey bees. They are known for their high quality honey production[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
,
392
Title
Indigenous multipurpose trees of Tanzania.
Publication
 
Author
Hines. D.A. & Eckman. K.
Publisher
 
Year
1993
ISBN
0-9697075-0-9
Description
A simple handbook with information on over 50 species of trees found in Tanzania giving details of environmental requirements, cultivation needs, uses etc. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Other Uses

The twigs are used as fire-sticks[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].

The heartwood is pinkish brown to reddish brown; it is fairly distinctly demarcated from the 25 - 40mm wide band of greyish sapwood. The grain is usually interlocked; texture medium to coarse but even; the wood is lustrous[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
It is moderately light in weight, hard according to some reports[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
] or moderately soft according to others[
392
Title
Indigenous multipurpose trees of Tanzania.
Publication
 
Author
Hines. D.A. & Eckman. K.
Publisher
 
Year
1993
ISBN
0-9697075-0-9
Description
A simple handbook with information on over 50 species of trees found in Tanzania giving details of environmental requirements, cultivation needs, uses etc. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
], moderately durable, being moderately susceptible to termite and pinhole borer attacks. The wood works well with both machine and hand tools; it planes and moulds to a nice surface; polishes well when a filler is used; it holds nails and screws well and has good gluing properties; the peeling and slicing characteristics are satisfactory[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. It is suitable for carpentry, cabinet making, light construction, ship building, vehicle bodies, toys, novelties, vats, draining boards, food containers, matches, veneer, plywood, hardboard, particle board and pulp for paper making[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
,
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
]. Traditionally, it is used to make canoes, drums, bee-hives, grain mortars, water containers, utensils, tool handles etc[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
,
392
Title
Indigenous multipurpose trees of Tanzania.
Publication
 
Author
Hines. D.A. & Eckman. K.
Publisher
 
Year
1993
ISBN
0-9697075-0-9
Description
A simple handbook with information on over 50 species of trees found in Tanzania giving details of environmental requirements, cultivation needs, uses etc. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The wood is valued as a fuel[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
,
392
Title
Indigenous multipurpose trees of Tanzania.
Publication
 
Author
Hines. D.A. & Eckman. K.
Publisher
 
Year
1993
ISBN
0-9697075-0-9
Description
A simple handbook with information on over 50 species of trees found in Tanzania giving details of environmental requirements, cultivation needs, uses etc. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Propagation

Seed - can be stored for up to 12 months[
392
Title
Indigenous multipurpose trees of Tanzania.
Publication
 
Author
Hines. D.A. & Eckman. K.
Publisher
 
Year
1993
ISBN
0-9697075-0-9
Description
A simple handbook with information on over 50 species of trees found in Tanzania giving details of environmental requirements, cultivation needs, uses etc. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. Sow the seed in a nursery seedbed in full sun or light shade. A germination rate of about 65% can be expected, with the seeds starting to sprout after about 2 weeks, and most of them sprouting after 3 weeks. The young plants can be transplanted to their permanent positions about 4 - 6 months later[
392
Title
Indigenous multipurpose trees of Tanzania.
Publication
 
Author
Hines. D.A. & Eckman. K.
Publisher
 
Year
1993
ISBN
0-9697075-0-9
Description
A simple handbook with information on over 50 species of trees found in Tanzania giving details of environmental requirements, cultivation needs, uses etc. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2019-08-21. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Cordia+africana>

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