- African Blackwood / Grenadillo - Dalbergia melanoxylon
Other Names: Congowood, Mozambique ebony, Senegal ebony Cape Damson ebony.
Distribution: This African tree has an extensive range on the continent. It can be found in the savanna regions of the Sudan southward to Mozambique, then westward to Angola and northward to Nigeria and Senegal.
The Tree: this small tree is about 30 ft. (9.1 m) maximum height, and a diameter of 8 in. (203mm). Managed Timber Resources LLC has trees of this species that average 50 to 60 ft. (15.2 to 18.3m) tall and with a diameter of 1’-8” (50cm) and up.
The Timber: the heartwood is dark purplish black or brown with black streaks which usually predominate so that the general effect is nearly black. The luster is dull and odor and taste are not distinct. It is very hard and heavy wood with a weight of 82 lb/ft 3 (1,314 kg/m 3 ).
The grain is mostly straight with a fine texture. It has a slightly
oily nature. The narrow sapwood is white and very clearly defined.
Seasoning: Blackwood dries very slowly and tends to split, especially in the log. It is advisable to coat the ends to minimize the splitting. Once dried, the timber is slow to absorb moisture.
Durability: The heartwood is said to be very durable.
Working Qualities: This wood has exceptionally good working qualities. It cuts very smooth and evenly, taking an excellent finish directly form the tool of the drill or lathe. It can be tapped for screw threads almost like metal. It is considered to be the best wood available for ornamental turnery.
Uses: A chief use is for woodwind instruments such as flutes, clarinets, bag pipes, etc... It is superior to ebony for this purpose because of its oily nature and resistance to climactic changes. The wood is also used for turnery in making such items as brush backs. Knife handles, chessmen and pool cues.
- Wild Olivewood (Olea Europaea sub specie Africana)
Also known as: Olienhout, Olyfboom, Swartolienhout (Afrikaans); Weira (Amharic); Zeitun Bari (Arabic); African wild olive, Brown olive, Olive, Wild olive (English); lbaum (German); Umnquma (Ndebele); Mupfungo (Shona); Wera (Somali); Awliie (Tigrigna); Brown Olive (Trade name); UmNqumo (Zulu).
Native to: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe
Description: Yellowish brown with dark brown streaks, hard and heavy. Grain is straight to wavy, very fine texture. This is an expensive and very beautiful wood.
- Ironwood (Olea Capensis)
Also known as: Ysterhout (Afrikaans); Black Ironwood, East African Olive, Elgon Olive, Ironwood, Ironwood
(English); Loliondo, Mushargi (Swahili); Loliondo, Mutharage, Mutharagi, Olive (Trade name).
Native to: Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome et Principe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Description: Woods that sink in water are called "ironwoods." There are more than one hundred species of trees and shrubs in the world with the common name of "Ironwood." As their common name suggests, the wood of these species is very hard and heavy. Olea Capensis has dark brown heartwood and is attractively figured, fine-grained, hard and heavy and although it is difficult to work it is widely used by African artists.
- Tamboti Spirostachys africanus
* This tree can be found along watercourses, streams, on brackish soils or in warm dry area up to Tanzania.
* They can grow upto 18m tall.
* The bark is dark brown and forms rough rectangular blocks.
* The branchlets when broken produce thick white latex, which is poisonous, but not always present.
* The flowers are small red spikes produced from July to .
* They bear fruit from October to Febuary.
* Game like impala, Nyala, kudu, Bushbuck, giraffe, elephant, black rhino, Duiker and porcupine all feed on this tree.
* Meat cooked over a fire made from the wood of this tree causes severe diarrhoea, death may occur.
* The sap may also cause blindness or blisters on the skin if contact is made.
* The wood may be used for furniture; fence posts and huts building.
* Wood is also used to keep insects away.
Spirostachys africana, Family : Euphorbiaceae
South / South East Africa
The wood is hard, heavy, durable and close – grained. The sapwood is creamy white and the heartwood rich brown with a satin – like lustre. It is inclined to be oily and, when freshly worked, has a distinctive sweetish smell. Care should be taken when working with Tamboti – the milky latex from the freshly cut tree is very poisonous and causes extreme irritation to sensitive skin and can damage the eyes. When working care should be taken to keep sawdust out of the eyes. This wood is not suitable for fuel as the smoke will cause headaches and nausea. Africans are warned against this tree from an early age, their fear sometimes almost amounting to taboo which prevents them from damaging any living specimens.
Furniture, turnery, inlay work, cabinet – making and carving.
- Tamboti Description
Deciduous and of medium height, the bark is characterisically rough and black. The milky latex can cause severe irritation to the skin and eyes. Furthermore, it is not used as a cooking fuel because it imparts unpleasant taints to the food. The species enjoys a degree of built-in protection against overuse by humans. Kudu browse it, but hunters are careful when dressing a carcass in Tamboti country not to allow the rumenal contents to spoil the edible cuts. The heartwood is dark brown with darker longitudinal streaks that create beautiful markings.
Figure mottled and banded, sometimes with visible growth increments. It is a hard wood, lustrous and with a powerful, persistent, and pleasant scent sweeter than that of sandalwood. This pleasant odor will last a long time after the wood is cut. A piece of furniture made of it can scent a large room for a long time.
Tamboti flowers in September and the pea sized seeds develop in three-lobed capsules which fall, when mature in November, to the leaf litter below. If you stand by a copse of Tamboti trees on a hot November day you may hear a distinctive rustling in the litter and if you look more closely you will see some flicking in the litter due to some seeds jumping intermittently. Collect some of these jumpers and place them on a plate in the hot sun and the jumping becomes more invigorated. Open one carefully and you will find a small larva whose body suddenly contorts causing the bean to jump.
Used mostly for carving, luxury furniture, turnery and curios. Because of its limited quantities, and the defectiveness of the tree, it is a rare wood and therefore sought for small fancy articles and high grade furniture.
Where they are found
South African Lowveld and Swaziland.
- Tamboti (Spirotachys Africana), commonly called African Sandalwood,The wood has a warm musky fragrance
Sandalo africano, zunvorre, tamboti.
Tamboti has been called the Cocobolo of Africa. The heartwood is dark brown with darker longitudinal streaks that creates breathtakingly beautiful markings. The figure is mottled and banded, sometimes with visible growth increments. It is a hard wood, averaging 1,041 kg/m3 (65 lb/ft3), very lustrous, and with a powerful, persistent, and pleasant scent, sweeter than that of sandalwood. This pleasant odour from the wood will last a long time after the wood is cut, and a piece of furniture made of Tamboti can scent a large room for a long time. Tamboti is arguably the most beautiful wood on the African continent.
Dries very slowly without distortion.
wood is easy to saw when dried, and planes well, but only in the growth increments direction. Cannot be nailed or screwed without pre boring. Turns easily. Its oily surface makes sanding difficult. Glues slowly. Takes a high polish and varnish.
Used mostly for carving, luxury furniture, turnery and curios. Because of its limited quantities, and the defectiveness of the tree, it is a rare wood and therefore sought for small fancy articles and high-grade furniture.
Spirostachys africana Family: Euphorbiaceae
Other Names: Sandalo africano, zunvorre, tomboti.
Distribution: Mozambique and throughout the forest of eastern Africa.
The Tree: The logs secured from this species are from 8-10 ft (2.4-3.05m) averaging 1 ft (30cm) in diameter.
The Timber: The heartwood is dark brown with darker longitudinal streaks that create beautiful markings. Figure mottled and banded, sometimes with visible growth increments. It is a hard wood, averaging 65 lb/ft3 (1,041 kg/m3). Lustrous and with a powerful, persistent, and pleasant scent sweeter than that of sandalwood. This pleasant odor will last a long time after the wood is cut. A piece of furniture made of it can scent a large room for a long time.
Seasoning: Dries very slowly without distortion.
Durability: The wood is very durable; resistant to insects and fungal attack. Heartwood resistant to impregnation.
Workability: The wood is easy to saw when dried. Planes well by only in the growth increments direction. Cannot be nailed or screwed without pre boring. Turns easily. Its oily surface make sanding difficult. Glues slowly. Takes a high polish and varnish.
Uses: Used mostly for carving, luxury furniture, turnery and curios. Because of its limited quantities, and the defectiveness of the tree, it is a rare wood and therefore sought for small fancy articles and high grade furniture.
- Leadwood (Combretum imberbe) (Hardekool)
Common name(s): bastard yellow wood, elephant trunk, ivory tree, leadwood
his semi-deciduous tree normally grows up to 20 metres tall. The Leadwood has always borne the distinction of being the most sought-after firewood. In the Okavango Delta and in the Moremi Game Reserve, this species is abundant and the wood is therefore readily availiable. It burns very slowly with intense heat, and is often used fora fire which is intended to burn all night in order to keep wild animals at bay. The Leadwood tree has a wide-spreading, rather sparse, roundish to slightly umbrella-shaped crown and a single, long, thick, bare stem. The wood is exeptionally hard and very difficult to work but suitable for ornamental workd as well as furniture.
The Hereros and the Ovambos of Namibia regard the Leadwood tree as the great ancestor of all animals and people and they never pass it without paying it the necessary respect.
Recent radio carbon dating, done in South Africa, has established that a Leadwood tree can live up to 1000 years and subsequently remain erect for an additional 50 years.
- Lead Wood Combretum imberbe
* This is a semi deciduous tree growing upto about 20m.
* The bark is smooth on young tree, on older trees the bark is silvery-grey and is cracked inot rectangular blocks.
* This tree is found from Tanzania to Kwazulu-Natal.
* They flower from November to March and bear fruit from Febuary to August.
* The heartwood is very hard and heavy weighing upto 1 200kg per cubic meter of air-dried wood.
* The flowers are a creamy yellow spike and they have small, 4 winged seed.
* Giraffe, elephant, Kudu, grey Duiker and impala feed them on.
* They are thought to live for around 2 000 years and thought to remain standing for at least the same length of time once the tree dies.
* The wood is sometimes used for furniture and the ash of the tree has been used as toothpaste and a white wash for buildings and the gum is edible.
* The Lead Wood is protected specie of tree in Southern Africa.
The semi-deciduous Leadwood tree, Combretum imberbe, is found from KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa in the south to Tanzania in the north. It normally grows up to 20 metres (66 feet) tall. The Leadwood tree has a wide-spreading, rather sparse, roundish to slightly umbrella-shaped crown and a single, long, thick, bare stem. Recent radiocarbon dating, done in South Africa, has established that a Leadwood tree can live up to 2000 years and subsequently remain standing for years after the tree has died.
* The wood is very hard, difficult to work with, and termite resistant. It was once used for railway sleepers and is now prized as wood for ornamental work and furniture.
* It burns very slowly with intense heat, and is often used for a fire which is intended to burn all night in order to keep wild animals at bay. It is sometimes used in a barbecue to provide a hot, long-lasting flame.
* The ashes are used as whitewash for painting walls of kraal huts.
The Hereros and the Ovambos of Namibia regard the Leadwood tree as the great ancestor of all animals and people and they never pass it without paying it the necessary respect.
- Pink Ivory Berchemia zeyheri
Family: Rhamnaceae (buckthorn)
Other Names: Red Ivorywood, Umnini, Umgoloti.
Distribution: Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa and scattering in other parts of southern Africa.
The Tree: This is a deciduous tree with a spreading crown and varies in height from under 20 ft (6.1m0 to over 50 ft (15.2m). The boles are usually 7-9 in. (178-229mm) in quarter girth. The flowers are small and greenish-yellow in color. The fruits are small black berries, very similar in appearance to those of the buckthorns.
The Timber: The wood is uniformly bright pink or pale red. The luster is low, and odor and taste are not distinct. It is hard and heavy; when air-dried the weight is 62 lb/ft3 (993 kg/m3). The grain is straight to irregular, while the texture is very fine. The sapwood is almost white, and the pink heartwood, after long exposure, tends to become orange-colored or orange-brown.
Seasoning: Pink Ivory seasons very slowly and needs care to prevent checking.
Durability: The timber is reported to be very strong and stiff.
Workability: It is difficult to work with hand tools, but is an excellent wood for turnery and carving. It takes a high polish. The rays are so close together they are not easily seen.
Uses: Pink ivory cannot be considered a commercial timber because the trees are scattered as to make exploitation a costly process. The small quantities that are felled are used for fancy articles, inlaid work, small turned goods, and carving.
- Camel Thorn, Giraffe Thorn
Scientific Name: Acacia erioloba E. Mey.
Synonym: Acacia giraffae
Origin: Southern Africa
Growth Habits: Small tree, up to 20 feet tall (6 m), 35 feet in spread (10 m); large thorns in pairs
Acacia erioloba is one of the dominant tree in the southern Africa savannah. It is very drought resistant and grows relatively well in Phoenix.
The species name "erioloba" means "wooly lobe".
Scientific Name: Acacia erioloba
Common names: Camel thorn, Kameeldoring
Description: The Camelthorn can range from 2 m up to 20m high, it can be scrubby or a massive tree. The bark is grey to blackish brown, deeply furrowed, young branchlets shiney reddish brown. The spines is strongly developed, almost straight up to 6 cm in lenght with swollen bases, whitish or brown. The flowers is a bright yellow ball and can be seen between
July to December.
Medical uses: Ear infections can be treated with the dried powder of the pods, The gum can be used for the treatment of gonorrhea and the pulverized burned bark can be used to treat headache. The root can be used to treat Tuberculosis and also tooth ache, the barkless root is boiled for a few minutes and the infusion are swird around in the mouth and spit out, for TB the same infusion are drinked in the morning .noon and evening untill TB are cured. Every few days a new brew must be made.
Superstition uses: It is believed that lighting will strike at the Camel thorn more readily than other trees.
Nutritive uses: The seeds can be roasted and used as a substitute for coffee, the gum are also eaten by humans as well as animals
Other uses: The rood bark is used by the bushmen to make quivers. Animals love to eat the pods.
Acacia erioloba E. Mey., Giraffe thorn. Also known as camel thorn, kameeldoring, mimosa, and Transvaal camelthorn. Another botanical name is Acacia giraffae.
- Camel Thorn Tree - Acacia erioloba
This species is synonymous with Botswana and, like everywhere else in the country, very common in Moremi and the Okavango Delta. The dark, blue-green canopy and the black branches sharply silhouetted against the straw-coloured grass make for yet another of the most striking landscapes to be found in Botswana. The name "Camelthorn" was given by Jacobus Coetse in 1760 some 50 years before Burchell described it. It is a direct translation of the Afrikaans name "Kameeldoring", meaning "Acacia of the Giraffe", and is therefore not at all associated with the camel Giraffes are partial to all acacias and have a specially adapted tongue and lips that appear to be immune to the vicious thorns. The Camelthorn can grow up to 17m high. It is distinguished from other acacias by the blue-green colour of the foliage, the almost black bark and the untidy, pendant, broken branches and twigs. Young twigs are noticeably angled (zigzagged) between pairs of large, white thorns. The most outstanding characteristic, however, are the large ear-shaped pods which are relished by all browsers. It is a deciduous tree which loses its leaves for a short period only. In order to obtain water, the roots penetrate the deep, sandy soil to great depths, which accounts for their green foliage virtually throughout the year. It has been recorded in Namibia that the roots of a particular tree attained a depth of 46 m. In the Kalahari Desert, where the Camelthorn is very common, it has tremendous value as a shadow tree both for humans and animals. It is also one of the first species to get new leaves in late winter, providing valuable fodder at a time which is critical for most browsers.
The bark is very distinctive and very dark-brown to black. Leaves: Compared to other acacias, the leaflets are quite large (7x3mm). Flowers are sweet smelling, bright, golden-yellow balls (1,5cm in diametre).
The fruits are a large (12x6cm), thickened, ear-shaped pod, which is grey in colour with a yellowish tinge.
Thorns are paired and very well developed, strong, white and up to 5,5cm in length.
The Camelthorn is widely spread throughout Botswana wherever deep sand occurs. It is also often a constituent of marginal floodplain woodland.