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Pterocarpus soyauxii

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Pterocarpus soyauxii
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Genus: Pterocarpus
P. soyauxii
Binomial name
Pterocarpus soyauxii
A bonsai stand made from African padauk wood

Pterocarpus soyauxii, the African padauk or African coralwood, is a species of Pterocarpus in the family Fabaceae, native to central and tropical west Africa, from Nigeria east to Congo-Kinshasa and south to Angola.[1][2]

It is a tree growing to 27–34 m tall, with a trunk diameter up to 1 m with flaky reddish-grey bark. The leaves are pinnate, with 11–13 leaflets. The flowers are produced in panicles. The fruit is a thorny pod 6–9 cm long, which does not split open at maturity.[3]



The leaves are edible, and contain large amounts of vitamin C; they are eaten as a leaf vegetable.[3]

Bark extracts are used in herbal medicine to treat skin parasites and fungal infections.[3]

The wood is valuable; it is very durable, red at first, becoming purplish-brown on exposure to light, with a density of 0.79 g/cm3.[4] It is resistant to termites.[3] It is valued for making drums in Africa due to its tonal resonance.[3] The wood is also favored for its use in stringed instruments (namely acoustic and electric guitars) for its tonal attributes and durability.[5]

Dust from the wood produced during wood processing can cause dermatitis in some people.[6]

Native African names include Kisese (Congo), Mbel (Cameroon), Mukula, N'gula (Zaire), and Tacula (Angola).[4]


  1. ^ International Legume Database & Information Service: Pterocarpus soyauxii
  2. ^ "Pterocarpus soyauxii". Germplasm Resources Information Network. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e World Agroforestry Centre: Pterocarpus soyauxii Archived 2009-02-13 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b CIRAD Forestry Department: Padouk (pdf file) Archived 2007-10-28 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Tonewoods". Archived from the original on 2009-02-21. Retrieved 2009-11-01.
  6. ^ Kiec-Swierczynska, M., Krecisz, B., Swierczynska-Machura, D., Palczynski, C. (2004). Occupational allergic contact dermatitis caused by padauk wood (Pterocarpus soyauxii Taub.). Contact Dermatitis 50 (6): 384-385.