Common Name: Camwood
Pterocarpus osun is an evergreen or deciduous tree with a spreading crown growing 12 - 30 metres tall. The bole is about 80cm in diameter, short, often crooked and sometimes with slight buttresses[
The tree is of local importance, supplying timber, tannins and medicines. The wood is of a very good quality and is traded.
West tropical Africa - Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Zaire.
Mixed deciduous wet forests at elevations of 90 - 150 metres[
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A plant of the moist tropical lowlands, where it is found at elevations below 150 metres.
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
The resin is astringent. It is used in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery[
The stem is an ingredient of traditional medicines against sickle-cell disorder and amenorrhoea[
The powdered stem is applied topically to treat skin diseases, to prevent infections of the freshly severed umbilical cord, to treat stiff joints, sprains and rheumatic complaints, and to promote healing of fractured bones[
In-vitro antimicrobial properties of the stem have been demonstrated[
Stem extracts showed antioxidant activity, and could induce a depigmenting effect and replace synthetic cosmetic formulations[
A resin is obtained from the tree[
]. It contains tannin.
The reddish sap from the bark is used for dyeing such items as traditional sculptures[
The heartwood, bark and roots are pounded into a paste and used to colour the skin[
The wood contains red pigments of the santarubin and santalin groups. These can be used as histological stains[
The heartwood is bright red, becoming a purplish-brown upon exposure to light; it is clearly demarcated from the 6 - 10cm wide band of sapwood. The texture is coarse; the grain straight or interlocked. The wood is moderately heavy to heavy; hard to very hard; very durable, being very resistant to fungi, dry wood borers and termites. It seasons somewhat slowly, but with very little risk of checking or distortion; once dry it is stable in service. It has a fairly high blunting effect, so stellite tipped and tungsten carbide tools are recommended; the interlocked grain can lead to difficulties when planing etc; nailing and screwing are generally good, but require pre-boring and there is a risk of thinner boards splitting; gluing is correct, but requires care due to the density of the wood. It is a good quality wood that is used for high-end uses such as furniture, cabinet making, turnery, carving etc, as well as for heavy duty purposes such has heavy construction, ship building, hydraulinc works (including in sea water), joinery, railway sleepers etc[
]. The bole is used traditionally to make dugout canoes and the wood for carpentry, drums and walking sticks[
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