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Leplaea cedrata - (A.Chev.) E.J.M.Koenen & J.J.de Wild

Common Name Scented Guarea
Family Meliaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards The wood dust may cause irritation to the skin[299 ]. The bark is used locally as a fish poison[886 ].
Habitats Lowland rain-forest to semi-deciduous forest[332 ]. A canopy and sub-canopy tree of evergreen and semi-deciduous forests, occurring at elevations ranging from sea-level to 1,300 metres[886 ].
Range Tropical Africa - Guinea Bissau to Uganda, south to Angola and DR Congo.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun
Leplaea cedrata Scented Guarea

Leplaea cedrata Scented Guarea


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Leplaea cedrata or commonly known as Scented Guarea is an evergreen tree reaching a height of up to 55 m. It has a straight and cylindrical bole that can be branchless for up to 26 m, with a diameter of up to 150 cm. It is found in lowland rainforest to semi-deciduous forests in tropical Africa. The bark is used in traditional medicine to treat stomach pain, gonorrhea, food poisoning, kidney pain, rheumatism, and leprosy. It also contains essential oil. The wood is medium-weight, moderately durable, and easy to work. It is used for flooring, joinery, interior trim, doors, ship building, cabinets, furniture, crates, plywood, veneer, and panelling.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Leplaea cedrata is an evergreen Tree growing to 45 m (147ft) by 30 m (98ft) at a slow rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Guarea alatipetiolata De Wild. Guarea cedrata (A.Chev.) Pellegr. Khaya canaliculata De Wild. Trichil

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

None known

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antirheumatic  Kidney  Leprosy

The bark is used in traditional medicine. Bark decoctions or macerations are taken to treat stomach-ache, food poisoning and gonorrhoea, and used as a wash against kidney pain, bleeding after childbirth, rheumatism and leprosy[299 ]. An essential oil and limonoids, including dregeanin, have been isolated from the bark[299 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Charcoal  Essential  Fuel  Furniture  Paper  Wood

Agroforestry Uses: The trees are sometimes left after forest clearing to serve as shade trees for coffee and cocoa plantations[299 ]. Other Uses The bark contains an essential oil, which consists exclusively of sesquiterpenes, with as major constituents ß -caryophyllene (45%) and globulol (11%)[299 ]. The heartwood is pale pinkish brown when freshly cut, darkening to reddish brown upon exposure. It is usually distinctly demarcated from the yellowish white, 5 - 10 cm wide sapwood[299 ]. The grain is straight or interlocked, texture fine to moderately coarse. The wood sometimes shows a mottled or curly figure, and has a cedar-like smell when fresh. It may have a gummy exudate[299 ]. The wood is medium-weight, moderately durable and only occasionally attacked by termites and pinhole borers[299 ]. It is usually fairly easy to saw and work, with moderate blunting effects on cutting edges because the wood contains some silica (up to 1.0%). It can be finished to a smooth surface, but there may be a slight tendency to pick up in planing quarter-sawn material and gum may appear at the surfaces. The wood holds nails and screws well, but may split upon nailing. It glues satisfactorily except when gum is present; the use of a filler is recommended for staining and polishing. The bending properties are usually satisfactory. The heartwood is strongly resistant to impregnation, the sapwood permeable to moderately resistant. The wood is valued for house building, flooring, joinery, interior trim, panelling, window frames, doors, ship building, vehicle bodies, furniture, cabinet work, decorative boxes, crates, veneer and plywood. It is suitable for musical instruments, toys, novelties, carving and turnery, but gum exudation may have adverse effects on the products[299 , 886 ]. Good-quality veneer can be produced by both rotary cutting and slicing, the wood is also suitable for pulping to make paper[299 ]. Traditionally, the wood is used for dug-out canoes[299 ]. The wood is also used as fuel wood and for charcoal production[299 ].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A plant of the moister, lowland tropics up to elevations of 1,100 metres. It is found in regions with more than 1,600 mm annual rainfall and attains its highest density in regions with 2,000 mm annual rainfall[299 ]. Prefers a well-drained soil, tolerating infertile soils[299 ]. The tree is classified as a shade-bearer[299 ]. Seedlings are most common in the shade, although they are occasionally found in full sunlight. They are often even common in deep shade, where they can survive for a long time[299 ]. All sizes of seedlings and saplings are less abundant in forest affected by recent logging, in comparison with undisturbed, not too dense forest[299 ]. However, for further development, some opening of the forest canopy seems essential[299 ]. Initial growth of seedlings is slow, less than 30 cm after 1 year[299 ]. They show their best growth at 10% of full sunlight. If they are exposed to more sunlight after 1 year, growth may speed up, reaching annual growth rates of up to 1 metre in height in plots managed by the tropical shelterwood system[299 ]. In Guinea trees planted in the understorey showed a mortality of about 50% and reached a mean height of 2.5 - 3 metres at 6 years of age, for those planted in forest paths the mortality was 25 - 30% but the height only 1.2 metres, and all seedlings planted in full sun died within 2 years[299 ]. It is recommended to start thinning the upper storey of the forest 4 years after planting so that the saplings receive progressively more light[299 ]. Planted trees in Ghana reached a height of up to 15 metres and 19 cm in bole diameter in 14 years. Under natural conditions in Cote d'Ivoire an average annual diameter increment of 2.9 mm was recorded, and in Ghana it was 3.2 - 5.5 mm. In Nigeria it has been estimated that it takes more than 170 years for the trees to reach 100 cm in bole diameter[299 ]. Trees can flower and produce fruit twice a year, or even all year round in some areas. The ripe fruits often develop at the beginning of the dry season[299 , 886 ]. A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required[886 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - pre-soaking in cold water for 12 hours prior to sowing has been recommended to speed up germination[299 ]. Fresh seeds have a fairly high water content, about 27%. They have a short viability, but can be stored in sealed containers for at least 2 weeks[299 ]. It is recommended to add ash to reduce damage by insects[299 ]. Germination is irregular and often rather slow, usually taking 20 - 45 days, but sometimes as much as 65 days[299 ]. Seed beds in the nursery should be shaded[299 ]. Seedlings are drought sensitive[299 ]. The tree has comparatively large seeds, with a 1000-seed weight of 1 - 3.5 kg[299 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Scented Guarea

Guinea; Sierra Leone; Liberia; Ghana; Nigeria; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Gabon; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Uganda; Tanzania, United Republic of?; Angola; Côte d'Ivoire

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Leplaea thompsoniiBlack GuareaTree35.0 10-12 SLMHFSNM024

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


(A.Chev.) E.J.M.Koenen & J.J.de Wild

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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