Oldfieldia africana is a large tree growing to 36 metres or more tall with a straight bole that can be 20 metres tall and 4.8 metres in girth. The base has heavy root swellings or swollen root spurs, extending in spreading surface roots[
]. Thick heavy buttresses up to 1 metre tall are only occasionally found[
The tree is gathered from the wild for local medicinal use. This species was one of the first trees from the African coast to have been exploited for timber[
]. At one time it was exported from Sierra Leone to Britain as a teak-substitute[
]. Though the timber appears to be less abundantly available from Sierra Leone than formerly, it remains an item of export from Guinea Bissau, Liberia and Cote D'Ivoire[
West tropical Africa - Sierra Leone to Gabon.
Evergreen- and moist semi-deciduous forest; occasionally in secondary forest; scattered or in small groups[
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A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if seed is required.
In Ivory Coast the tree is considered a powerful fetish tree with efficacious medicinal virtues[
The bark is antiseptic and haemostatic[
]. It is added to other herbs in order to increase their potency[
]. A decoction of the bark is added to baths and draughts in order to treat blennorrhoea and act as a pelvic decongestant[
A dressing of the powdered bark is used to hasten healing, and to treat sores[
The bark is boiled up with palm-oil to make an ointment, which is used to treat lice infestation[
The leaves are used on the head and loins to rid the body of lice and crabs[
The leaves are bitter, They are crushed and inserted into incisions on wine-palms (Raphia sp.) in order to drive off bees which are after the palm-wine[
The seeds and bark are pounded together for use as a pesticide[
The heart-wood is dark brown to reddish brown, the sap-wood lighter[
]. The wood is very heavy, hard, tough, strong and durable in contact with water[
]. It takes a good polish[
]. An excellent construction timber, though it is difficult to work when dry. It has been used for making dock-gates and bridges; in naval construction for key-parts of ocean-going boats such as keels; for sawing into planks, beams, joists and boxes; and, when small, for house-posts[
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