Afzelia africana

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African mahogany
Sclerocarya birrea habitus.jpg
Sclerocarya birrea leaves.jpg
Habit in Senegal, with foliage below
Scientific classification
A. africana
Binomial name
Afzelia africana

Afzelia africana (also called African mahogany, afzelia, lenke, lengue, apa, or doussi) is a tree species in the family Fabaceae.


It occurs in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, the RCongo, DRCongo, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Togo, and Uganda.


Mature trees grow between 10 and 20 meters in height. They are prized for their quality wood, their bark which has many medicinal uses, and their nitrogen-rich leaves which enrich the soil.


Afzelia africana was used in the Middle Ages for ship building.[1] It is one of the traditional djembe woods.[2] The building of a reconstructed 9th-century Arab merchantman, the Jewel of Muscat, required thirty-eight tons of Afzelia africana wood, which was supplied from Ghana. Curved trees were chosen for the ship's frames and timbers.[3]



  1. ^ Jackson, Robert (March–April 2012). "Sailing Through Time: Jewel of Muscat". Saudi Aramco World. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  2. ^ Henning, Michi. "Djembe Woods: What You Need to Know". Archived from the original on 2012-01-20. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
  3. ^ Jewel of Muscat timeline. Accessed 2013-01-13.

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