Diospyros ubanghensis A.Chev.
Diospyros welwitschii Hiern
Ebenus abyssinica (Hiern) Kuntze
Ebenus mualala (Welw. ex Hiern) Kuntze
Maba abyssinica Hiern.
Maba mualala Welw. ex Hiern
Maba ubanghensis A.Chev.
Maba warneckei Gürke
Diospyros abyssinica is a tall, evergreen tree with a relatively small, mushroom-shaped crown and a straight, slender bole growing up to about 20 metres tall, but sometimes reaching a height of 40 metres when growing in forests[
]. In larger specimens, the straight and slender bole can be branchless for up to 18 metres and up to 75cm in diameter, often with small buttresses[
The tree is harvested from the wild for its timber and local medicinal uses.
Drier areas of tropical Africa from Guinea to Eritrea, south to Angola and Mozambique..
Highland forest on drier sites and upper slopes, often in shallow soils, at elevations from 750 - 2,000 metres in Eritrea[
]. Found in a wide diversity of forest types, and also in woodland and thickets[
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A plant of the dry to moist tropics where it can be found at elevations of 200 - 2,500 metres. It is found in areas where the mean annual rainfall is in the range 650 - 2,050mm, though its presence in drier areas depends on the availability of water along watercourses, from runoff from rocky outcrops, or in water-retaining soils of termite mounds[
We have seen no individual confirmation for this species, but in general Diospyros species are dioecious and require both male and female forms to be grown if fruit and seed are required[
Trees respond well to pruning, pollarding and coppicing[
A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required[
Various parts of the plants are used in traditional medicine.
The bark and roots are used as a treatment for various diseases[
Leaf and roots decoctions are used to treat malaria and dysentery, and to promote wound healing[
A root decoction is taken to treat leprosy[
The tree is considered to be a pioneer specie in its native range, and is particularly characteristic in the early stages of forest succession. However, it can also persist in old forest and may even regenerate there under shady conditions[
The heartwood is whitish yellow to pale grey-brown, often with irregular black streaks or entirely black in the centre; it is not distinctly demarcated from the wide, whitish to yellowish sapwood. The texture is usually fine, usually straight-grained, sometimes interlocked; the freshly cut wood has an unpleasant aroma[
]. The wood is hard and tough, difficult to plane and not durable[
]. It is used particularly for making implements and tool handles, it is also used for heavy flooring, poles, interior trim, mine props, furniture, cabinet making, masts of dhows, musical instruments, ladders, toys, novelties, pestles, mortars, golf club heads, sticks, carving and turnery. The wood is also in demand for loom shuttles in weaving sisal cloth[
The wood is used for fuel and to make charcoal[
Seed - it has a very short viability and so should be sown as soon as possible[
]. The flesh should be removed since this contains germination inhibitors[
]. Sow the seed in a shady position in a nursery seedbed. The sowing media for ebony uses soil and fine sand at the ratio 3:1. The seed is planted horizontally or vertically with the radicle end down, with a sowing depth of 1 - 1½ times the thickness of seed. Distance between the seeds is 3 - 5cm. Seeds are very sensitive to desiccation during germination and early growth, so must be regularly watered at this time[
]. Normally the seed will germinate after one week. In one trial, fresh seed, sown one day after collection, showed 85% germination rate within 17 - 65 days[
As a rule fresh seeds have a high percentage of fertility. The seedlings develop long taproots at an early stage, often before any appreciable elongation of the shoot takes place. The growth of the seedling is decidedly slow [
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