Entandrophragma excelsum

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Largest extant specimen of Entandophragma Excelsum (Swahili Mkukusu) at the slopes of Kilimanjaro measured at 81.5 m, being the tallest known tree in Africa, as photographed by researcher Andreas Hemp

Entandrophragma excelsum
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Meliaceae
Genus: Entandrophragma
E. excelsum
Binomial name
Entandrophragma excelsum
(Dawe & Sprague) Sprague

Entandrophragma excelsum, is Africa’s tallest indigenous tree native to tropical East Africa and occurs in eastern D.R.of the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia. This species is scattered in areas of upland semi-deciduous forest, in mid-altitude and montane rainforest, at (925 –) 1280 – 2150 altitude. It is locally also found in riverine forest.


Entandrophragma excelsum deciduous, dioecious large tree commonly up to 45 (–60) m tall. Bole branchless for up to 27 m, straight and cylindrical, up to 200 (–250) cm in diameter, with large buttresses up to 5 m high. In 2016 in a remote valley on the continent’s highest mountain Kilimanjaro, northern Tanzania has been discovered Africa's tallest tree, it was measured at 81.5 meters tall. The ten known tallest individuals of Entandrophragma excelsum ranged from 59.2 to 81.5 m and 1.24 to 2.55 m diameter.[2][3]

Leaves pinnate on stalks to 60 cm or more with 8–16 large leaflets, almost opposite, each one oblong, 8 – 18 (–30) cm long and 4.5 – 8 (–14) cm wide. Inflorescence 25 – 30 cm long and 10 – 15 cm wide. Flowers unisexual, tiny, white or pinkish white.

The wood is moderately lightweight, with a density of 460–530 kg/m³ at 12% moisture content.


The wood of Entandrophragma excelsum is not in much demand for local applications because it often warps and twists considerably upon drying. Moreover, it is not durable and not very attractively figured. Its occurrence in mountain regions often hampers commercial exploitation.[4]

The wood is suitable for the production of sliced and rotary veneer, and can be made into plywood of satisfactory quality. The wood is suitable for construction, flooring, joinery, interior trim, furniture, cabinet work, musical instruments, vehicle bodies, toys, novelties, boxes, crates, carvings, turnery, veneer and plywood. The wood is used for fuel and to make charcoal.[5]


All synonyms for Entandrophragma excelsum tree:[6]

  • Entandrophragma deiningeri Harms
  • Entandrophragma gillardini Ledoux
  • Entandrophragma speciosum Harms
  • Entandrophragma stolzii Harms

Other names[edit]

Common local names for Entandrophragma excelsum tree:[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ World Conservation Monitoring Centre (1998). "Entandrophragma excelsum". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 1998: e.T33909A9818317. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.1998.RLTS.T33909A9818317.en.
  2. ^ springer.com / Africa’s highest mountain harbours Africa’s tallest trees, First Online: 17 October 2016, Biodiversity and Conservation: January 2017, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 103–113. Authors: Andreas Hemp, Reiner Zimmermann, Sabine Remmele, Ulf Pommer, Bernd Berauer, Claudia Hemp, Markus Fischer. DOI: 10.1007/s10531-016-1226-3
  3. ^ newscientist.com / Africa’s tallest tree measuring 81m found on Mount Kilimanjaro, By Agata Blaszczak-Boxe, 24 November 2016
  4. ^ prota4u.org / Entandrophragma excelsum (Dawe & Sprague) Sprague Archived 2017-02-02 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ tropical.theferns.info / Entandrophragma excelsum
  6. ^ theplantlist.org / Entandrophragma excelsum (Dawe & Sprague) Sprague
  7. ^ worldagroforestry.org / Entandrophragma excelsum

External links[edit]