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Useful Tropical Plants

Trichilia dregeana

Sond.

Meliaceae

+ Synonyms

Trichilia chirindensis Swynn.

Trichilia dregei E.Mey. ex C.DC.

Trichilia ledermannii Harms

Trichilia redacta Burtt Davy & Bolton

Trichilia schliebenii Harms

Trichilia splendida A.Chev.

Trichilia strigulosa Welw. ex C.DC.

Trichilia stuhlmannii Harms

Trichilia tomentosa A.Chev.

Trichilia umbrosa Vermoesen

Trichilia vestita C.DC.

Common Name: Cape Mahogany

Trichilia dregeana
Leaf canopy of a tree growing near Louwsburg, KwaZulu-Natal
Photograph by: JMK
Creative Commons License
Trichilia dregeana Trichilia dregeana Trichilia dregeana Trichilia dregeana Trichilia dregeana

General Information

Cape mahogany is an evergreen tree with a dense, spreading crown; usually growing up to 30 metres tall but with some specimens reaching 40 metres[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
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Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. The cylindrical bole, which is usually up to 100 cm in diameter, occasionally to 200cm, is often slightly buttressed[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
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Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
A multipurpose tree that is important locally. It is commonly harvested from the wild and provides food, medicine and various commodities. The seed, roots and leaves are also traded locally, especially in South Africa, whilst the seeds are harvested on a commercial scale from wild trees for the industrial production of pharmaceutical products, and for making soaps, candles and cosmetics[
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.
,
398
Title
Edible Wild Plants of Tanzania
Publication
 
Author
Ruffo, C.K.: Birnie, A. & Tengnas, B.
Publisher
Regional Land Management Unit; Nairobi.
Year
2002
ISBN
9966-896-60-0
Description
A very well presented, simple guide to growing and utilizing wild food plants in Tanzania, with line drawings of each plant, a description, habitat and range, non-food as well as food uses, plus basic information on growing the plants.
]. Although mainly harvested from the wild, the tree is also sometimes cultivated and is often retained when clearing land for farmland[
398
Title
Edible Wild Plants of Tanzania
Publication
 
Author
Ruffo, C.K.: Birnie, A. & Tengnas, B.
Publisher
Regional Land Management Unit; Nairobi.
Year
2002
ISBN
9966-896-60-0
Description
A very well presented, simple guide to growing and utilizing wild food plants in Tanzania, with line drawings of each plant, a description, habitat and range, non-food as well as food uses, plus basic information on growing the plants.
]. A beautiful shady avenue tree, it is often grown as an ornamental[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
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Author
 
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http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
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0
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Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
,
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.
].

Known Hazards

The bark is very toxic. It is used in the preparation of fish poison[
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.
].

Botanical References


Range

Tropical Africa - Cote D'Ivoire to Ethiopia, south to Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and S. Africa; avoiding the moister areas.

Habitat

The transition zone between forest-savannah mosaic and moist evergreen forest, mostly at elevations of 500 - 1,600 metres in the north of its range, but gradually descending to sea level in S. Africa[
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.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height25.00 m
Growth RateFast
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of the moist tropics, but avoiding the wetter regions. It is found at elevations from 800 - 2,000 metres near the Equator, but descends to sea level as it enters the subtropics. It is usually found in areas where the mean annual rainfall is in the range 1,500 - 2,500 mm[
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 plant is sensitive to frost, but as long as the damage is not too severe, it recovers easily[
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.
].
Succeeds in full sun and dappled to fairly deep shade[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
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Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
,
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.
]. Grows best in humus-rich, fertile, moist soils[
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.
].
Young trees grow fairly quickly, with a mean annual girth increment of 20 - 25mm[
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.
].
Older plants are fast growing and require little or no management[
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.
].
Trees growing in open positions start fruiting when about 10 years old, those in more shaded, forest-like conditions may not bear fruit before they are 20 years old[
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 tree is tolerant of fire[
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 tree coppices well. For ornamental purposes, it may be pruned into shrub form[
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.
].
Average seed yields per tree in Mozambique are about 20 - 25 kg/year, but in a good year a large tree may produce 180 kg[
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.
]. Trees that have produced heavily in one year tend to produce little in the next year[
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.
].
A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if seed is required.

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw or cooked[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
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Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. It can be cooked and used as a vegetable, or crushed and made into a sweet drink or sauce[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
,
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.
].

Seed - boiled and eaten as a side dish[
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 seedcoat contains toxins and must be removed before the seed is cooked[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
,
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 seeds provide an oil that is used for cooking even though it has a bitter flavour[
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 seedcoat is poisonous and only well-prepared oil is safe for consumption[
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.
].

Medicinal

Throughout Africa the seed oil, leaves, root and bark are used in similar ways uses to those of Trichilia emetica, though they are generally considered to be inferior. They are used to treat a variety of complaints ranging from lumbago to leprosy and sleeplessness[
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.
].
A large number of limonoids have been isolated from the seed, especially from the seedcoat. including evodulone and prieurianin derivatives. Limonoids of other plants in this family (Meliaceae) are well known as antifeedants and growth regulators of insects, but they also have some antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activities[
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 bark, which is very toxic, contains inhibitors of the prostaglandin-synthesis, which play a role in inflammation and pain suppression[
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 seed oil is rubbed into cuts made in the skin of a fractured limb in order to hasten healing[
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 used as a massage oil to treat rheumatism and as a general body ointment[
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 fruit has emetic and purgative properties[
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.
].

Poultices made of the leaves or fruits are applied to bruises and eczema[
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.
].

A decoction of the roots is used as a general tonic; to treat fever; and as a purgative[
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 also used to induce labour in pregnant women; and to treat intestinal worms, colds and infertility[
398
Title
Edible Wild Plants of Tanzania
Publication
 
Author
Ruffo, C.K.: Birnie, A. & Tengnas, B.
Publisher
Regional Land Management Unit; Nairobi.
Year
2002
ISBN
9966-896-60-0
Description
A very well presented, simple guide to growing and utilizing wild food plants in Tanzania, with line drawings of each plant, a description, habitat and range, non-food as well as food uses, plus basic information on growing the plants.
].

A decoction of the bark is drunk as a purgative or abortifacient, and also to treat dysentery and diarrhoea, fevers and lumbago[
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.
,
398
Title
Edible Wild Plants of Tanzania
Publication
 
Author
Ruffo, C.K.: Birnie, A. & Tengnas, B.
Publisher
Regional Land Management Unit; Nairobi.
Year
2002
ISBN
9966-896-60-0
Description
A very well presented, simple guide to growing and utilizing wild food plants in Tanzania, with line drawings of each plant, a description, habitat and range, non-food as well as food uses, plus basic information on growing the plants.
].
The bark is used externally as a treatment against scabies[
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.
].
Decoctions of the bark, applied in the form of an enema, are used as a purgative and abortifacient, as well as to treat back pain caused by kidney problems[
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 grown to provide shade for coffee plantations, or is left standing as a shade tree when the forest is cleared[
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.
].

Other Uses

The seeds contain 55 - 65% oil. This is used as a body ointment and hair oil, as well as to make candles, soap and cosmetics[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
,
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 approximate fatty acid composition of the oil is: palmitic acid 34%, stearic acid 3%, oleic acid 51%, linoleic acid 11%, linolenic acid 1%[
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.
]. To obtain the oil, the seeds are first ground into a powder and pounded, they are then boiled in water and the oil is skimmed off[
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 heartwood is pale brown to pink, the sapwood whitish, though the wood darkens with age and exposure. When oiled, it darkens considerably, leaving little difference between the heartwood and sapwood. The grain is generally straight, texture medium coarse, the wood has a distinct figure[
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 wood is not durable and is subject to attack by borers. It is easily worked and polishes well. It is not durable and susceptible to borer attack[
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 wood is particularly important as a material for making carvings, especially in southern Africa, and is also used for indoor furniture, household utensils, shelving, construction, dugout canoes etc[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
,
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.
,
398
Title
Edible Wild Plants of Tanzania
Publication
 
Author
Ruffo, C.K.: Birnie, A. & Tengnas, B.
Publisher
Regional Land Management Unit; Nairobi.
Year
2002
ISBN
9966-896-60-0
Description
A very well presented, simple guide to growing and utilizing wild food plants in Tanzania, with line drawings of each plant, a description, habitat and range, non-food as well as food uses, plus basic information on growing the plants.
].
The wood is used for fuel and for making charcoal[
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.
,
398
Title
Edible Wild Plants of Tanzania
Publication
 
Author
Ruffo, C.K.: Birnie, A. & Tengnas, B.
Publisher
Regional Land Management Unit; Nairobi.
Year
2002
ISBN
9966-896-60-0
Description
A very well presented, simple guide to growing and utilizing wild food plants in Tanzania, with line drawings of each plant, a description, habitat and range, non-food as well as food uses, plus basic information on growing the plants.
].

Propagation

Seed - it is intolerant of being dried and has a short viability, so should be sown as soon as it is ripe. Seed is sometimes sown in situ; if sowing in a nursery seedbed then choose a position with some shade. No pre-treatment is required, but removal of the fleshy outer seedcoat speeds up germination[
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.
]. A rich mixture of sandy soil and compost with plenty of moisture is recommended. The seed usually sprouts within 2 - 4 weeks[
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.
]. Protect the seedlings from frost[
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.
].
Natural reproduction is abundant owing to regular and copious seeding from a fairly early age, comparative immunity from damage by animals and its power of recovery from injury. Seeds germinate during the early rains and seedlings attain a length of 10 - 20cm by the end of the first year[
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.
].

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