Kampala Tree and Palm Directory

Tree Species
Common Name
Tree Description
Tree Uses

English: Sapele mahogany, Sapelli mahogany, West African cedar, Scented mahogany Luganda: Muyovu Runyoro: Muyovu Rutoro: Muyovu.

+ Tree Species

Entandrophragma cylindricum

+ Tree Family


+ Ecology

Sapele mahogany is indigenous to Uganda. This tree is an important timber tree occurring widely in tropical Africa from Sierra Leone to Uganda and Zaire. In Uganda is grows in mixed to climax tropical rain forest, in thickets and in gallery forest in Budongo, Bugoma, Mabira and West Mengo Forests, 1,100-1,500 m. In Kampala, Sapele mahogany can be found alongUpper Kololo terrace among other places.

+ Description

A deciduous forest tree to 55 m or more, the trunk tall and straight, often clear 25-30 m, the rounded crown medium sized. Buttresses alone up to 3 m. The trunk may be 1 m or more across.

BARK: brown and smooth at first, turning grey and flaking towards the base in irregular scales on mature trees.

LEAVES: pinnate on stalks to 30 cm, tufted at the ends of branches, 11-19 leaflets, often alternate, lowest pairs oval, others long oval up to 12 cm long, tip pointed, 6-9 lateral veins and a close network of veins on both surfaces.

FLOWERS: tiny, white on a branched stalk to 25 cm.

FRUIT: a brown woody capsule about 14 cm, rounded at the tip, breaking into 5 parts. The capsule opens first at the tip, then the base and pieces fall away one at a time. Winged seeds about 8 cm long are attached alternately left and right to the central column.

+ Uses

Medicine: the bark, heartwood. http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php id=Entandrophragma+cylindricum

Bark extracts have been used to protect stored maize from pests.

The tannin present in the bark has been used experimentally to produce tannin-formaldehyde resin, which can be used as lacquer.

The seeds contain about 45% oil that can be used in the industrial production of nylon-11.

An essential oil is obtained from the bark.

The wood is highly valued for flooring, interior joinery, interior trim, paneling, stairs, high class furniture, cabinet work, musical instruments, carvings, ship building, veneer and plywood. It is suitable for construction, vehicle bodies, toys, novelties, boxes, crates and turnery.

The bole is traditionally used for dug-out canoes.

The wood can be used as firewood and for charcoal production.

The tree is planted as a roadside tree and ornamental shade tree.

+ Propagation

Seeds, wildings, cuttings.

+ Management

In the forest, seedlings germinate and survive well, but when planting seedlings in open areas, tending and shade are required until established. Plant under nurse trees wherever possible.

+ Remarks

This valuable tree has been removed from most of the forests of Uganda. The timber is brown and fragrant. It is heavier, stronger, harder and more durable than mahogany but more difficult to work. It is a first-class timber used for indoor and outdoor furniture and beautiful veneers. In West Africa it has been a valuable export commodity for many years. Plant in pure stands or with crops or as an avenue tree. Its shade is quite light. It is claimed that this is the tallest tree in Africa. The high level of exploitation of this species has led to some concern for the genetic diversity of the tree and it has been listed as 'Vulnerable' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

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