Khaya caudata Stapf ex Hutch. & Dalz.
Khaya klainei Pierre ex Pellegr.
Common Name: African Mahogany
African mahogany is a very large evergreen tree (which can be deciduous in drier climates), that attains a height of 40 - 50 metres[
]. The bole is straight, it can be unbranched for up to 30 metres above the ground with well-developed plank buttresses[
The tree is widely exploited for its very valuable timber, which is traded internationally, and plantations have been established in several countries. A high percentage of the wood sold in Europe as 'mahogany' actually comes from this species[
Levels of exploitation are very high. Little regeneration takes place after disturbance. Individuals reach a seed-producing age at 30 years, although large seed crops appear only at three to four year intervals. The tree is classified as 'Vulnerable' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2010)[
Western tropical Africa, Gabon, Cameroon, Cote D'Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Angola.
Found mostly in rainforests, but also extending into dry forests[
]. Grows on moist valley sites in semi-deciduous rainforests, but it favours soils with a low water-storage capacity in evergreen forests[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
A plant of moist tropical lowland areas, where it is found at elevations below 450 metres[
]. It grows in areas where the mean annual temperature is in the range 24 - 27°c and the mean annual rainfall is 1,600 - 2,500 mm, usually with a short dry season[
A light-demanding species, although the young trees tolerate a certain amount of shade[
]. It tolerates periodic flooding[
Planting has been done with some success within its natural habitat. Because of insect damage, pure stands are rarely planted; instead, they are planted with mixed stands and with close spacing[
The tree grows very quickly; for example in Cote d'Ivoire, 4-year-old trees attained heights of 7 - 13 metres with an annual growth increment of 2.3 metres and a diameter growth of 2.5 cm/yr[
]. In Malaysia, a final density of 80 trees/ha and a rotation of about 30 years in mixed plantations are recommended[
The bitter bark is used in the treatment of coughs and whooping cough[
]. When mixed with black peppercorns, it is used to treat diarrhoea and dysentery[
A bark decoction is used as a drink or bath for back pains and as a lotion for rheumatism[
The tree has been used for enrichment planting to improve soil condition[
The heartwood is a pale reddish-brown; it is more or less demarcated from the 3 - 8cm wide band of yellowish-brown sapwood. The texture is medium; the grain interlocked. The wood is light in weight; soft; fairly durable, being resistant to dry wood borers, moderately resistant to fungi but susceptible to termites. It seasons rapidly with only a slight risk of checking or distortion; once dry it is moderately stable in service. The wood is easy to work with ordinary tools; there is a tendency to woolliness so the tools need to be kept very sharp; care needs to be taken when planing due to the interlocked grain which can cause tearing; nailing and screwing are good; gluing is correct. A high quality timber, it is used above all for high-quality cabinet work, furniture and expensive interior finishing. Large quantities are also used for boat and ship construction[
Seed - the germination percentage of fresh seeds is very high (about 90%), but it is maintained for only 2 weeks at the most, falling off quickly afterwards[
]. When sown in seedbeds, the seeds germinate after 11 - 21 days[
]. Germination is epigeal; the young seedlings grow very slowly and must be kept shaded at the beginning[
]. Stock can be planted to the field when 60 - 90 cm high, usually as stumps or striplings[
Seeds tolerate desiccation to 6% mc, 44% germinate following 2 years subsequent hermetic storage at 2°c[
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