We have recently published ‘Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions’: i.e. tropical and sub-tropical regions. We rely on regular donations to keep our free database going and help fund development of this and another book we are planning on food forest plants for Mediterranean climates. Please give what you can to keep PFAF properly funded. More >>>

Follow Us:


Entandrophragma utile - (Dawe & Sprague) Sprague

Common Name Sipo Mahogany
Family Meliaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats A canopy and emergent tree, most commonly found in moist semi-deciduous forest, though it can also be found in evergreen forest[ 299 ].
Range Tropical Africa - Sierra Leone to Uganda, south to Angola.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Entandrophragma utile Sipo Mahogany

Entandrophragma utile Sipo Mahogany
bayanga85 - Flickr


Translate this page:


Found in tropical Africa, Sipo Mahogany (Entandrophragma utile) is a large tree growing up to 55 m tall with blunt buttresses. The straight, cylindrical bole is usually up to 300 cm in diameter and can be branchless for up to 50 m. The bark is used in the treatment of malaria and peptic ulcers. Bark sap is used for stomach pain, kidney pain, rheumatism, eye inflammations, and otitis. Fruit valves are used as spoons. The wood is moderately heavy, soft to moderately hard, moderately durable, and resistant to various pests. It is used in joinery, interior trim, panelling, stairs, furniture, cabinet work, ship building, veneer and plywood, construction, flooring, etc.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Entandrophragma utile is a deciduous 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 and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Entandrophragma macrocarpum A.Chev. Entandrophragma roburoides Vermoesen Entandrophragma thomasii Le

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  Malaria  Ophthalmic  Stimulant  Tonic

The bark is used in traditional medicine[ 299 ]. It is used to treat malaria and is claimed to heal peptic ulcers[ 299 ]. The bark sap is taken internally, or used as a wash, to treat stomach-ache and kidney pain[ 299 ]. It is massaged in to the affected joints to relieve rheumatism, and it is dropped into the eyes to treat eye inflammations and into the ear to treat otitis[ 299 ]. A massage with a bark maceration is considered useful as tonic and stimulant[ 299 ]. The charred and pulverized bark, mixed with salt and palm oil, is rubbed into scarifications to treat headache[ 299 ]. Research has shown the presence of a range of medically active substances in the bark, including the lactone entandrophragmin, tetranortriterpenoids called utilins, heptanortriterpenoids called entilins, methyl angolensate and an ergosterol derivative[ 299 ] An aqueous bark extract has shown significant protection against peptic ulcers[ 299 ]. This supports the traditional medicinal use of the bark against peptic ulcers in Nigeria[ 299 ]. Bark extracts have shown fungicidal activity against Pyricularia oryzae[ 299 ]. Some entilins have shown moderate in-vitro antimalarial activity against chloroquine-resistant strains of Plasmodium falciparum[ 299 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

The Bookshop: Edible Plant Books

Our Latest books on Perennial Plants For Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens in paperback or digital formats.

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Tropical Plants

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Temperate Plants

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

PFAF have eight books available in paperback and digital media.
More Books

PFAF have eight books available in paperback and digital formats. Browse the shop for more information.

Shop Now

Other Uses

Charcoal  Fuel  Fungicide  Furniture  Wood

Other Uses: The fruit valves have been used as spoons[ 299 ]. The seeds contain 30 - 54% of fat by weight[ 299 ]. The fatty acid composition is characterized by the presence of about 30% cis-vaccenic acid, a rare isomer of oleic acid that can be used in the industrial production of nylon-11[ 299 ]. The main fatty acid is linolenic acid (46%)[ 299 ]. The heartwood is reddish brown to purplish brown with moiré shades; it is distinctly demarcated from the 2 - 6cm wide band of pinkish white to pale brown sapwood. The grain is slightly interlocked and irregular; texture moderately fine; when seasoned it has a faint cedar-like smell. The wood is moderately heavy; soft to moderately hard; moderately durable, being moderately resistant to powder-post beetle, pinhole borer, termite and marine borer attacks. It air dries somewhat slowly, and may be liable to splitting and distortion; once dry, it is moderately stable in service. The wood saws and works fairly easily with both hand and machine tools, with only slight blunting effects on cutting edges; finishing usually gives good results, with a nice polish, but the use of a filler may be needed; it is not liable to splitting in nailing and screwing, with good holding properties; gluing, staining and polishing properties are satisfactory, but the steam bending properties are poor. The wood is highly valued for exterior and interior joinery, interior trim, panelling, stairs, furniture, cabinet work, ship building, veneer and plywood. It is suitable for construction, flooring, vehicle bodies, boxes, crates, carvings and turnery[ 299 , 848 ]. The bole is traditionally used for dug-out canoes[ 299 ]. Wood that can not be utilized as timber may be used as firewood and for charcoal production[ 299 ].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A tree of low to medium elevations in the moist tropics, where it can be found at elevations up to 1,400 metres. It is found mainly in regions with an annual rainfall in the range 1,400 - 2,500 mm, where there is a dry period of 2 - 4 months and a mean annual temperature of 24 - 26°c[ 299 , 303 ]. Prefers well-drained localities on deep soils[ 299 ]. The species is characterized as a non-pioneer light demander and is generally noted to be more light-demanding and tolerant of dry conditions than other embers of the genus[ 299 , 338 ]. Natural regeneration is often scarce in the forest, although it has also been reported as abundant[ 299 ]. Regeneration in large forest gaps is reportedly poor, but seedlings perform well in small forest gaps[ 299 ]. Saplings are more light-demanding than those of other members of the genus[ 299 ]. Young seedlings grow slowly; root development takes considerable time[ 299 ]. In Ghana, seedlings reached only up to 1 metre tall after 4 years, in silviculturally treated forest up to 1.5 metres[ 299 ]. Under nursery conditions, however, seedlings can reach 40 cm tall in 6 months and 75 cm in one year[ 299 ]. Fruit production starts when trees have reached bole diameters above 50 cm, and this has implications for forest management; minimum felling diameters should be well above 50 cm to allow natural regeneration[ 299 ]. A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required[ 303 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:



The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

Shop Now

Plant Propagation

Seed - pre-soaking the seeds in warm water is reported to improve germination[ 299 ]. Fresh seeds have a germination rate of about 75%, whilst that of 3-month-old seeds is still about 60%[ 299 ]. The seeds are liable to rotting and should hardly be covered with soil[ 299 ]. Germination starts 13 - 19 days after sowing[ 299 ]. Overhead shade promotes the survival of young seedlings, which are liable to mite and insect attacks in full sunlight[ 299 ]. The seedlings are physiologically well adapted to heavy shade and make efficient use of low light intensities - they usually die when growing under full light conditions[ 299 ]. Seedlings growing in 10 - 12% of full sunlight maintained high growth rates, and an irradiance of 25% of full sunlight is recorded to optimize growth of young seedlings[ 299 ]. When seedlings are grown in pots, it should be taken into account that they develop a long taproot; the roots should be cut back several times in the 1 - 2-year-long period that the seedlings are raised in the nursery[ 299 ]. Seeds can be stored for about 3 months in sealed containers in a cool place, but insect damage, to which they are very susceptible, should be avoided, e.g. by adding ash[ 299 ]. Stumps and striplings have been used for propagation, but the success rate of stumps was low[ 299 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Sipo Mahogany

Native Plant Search

Search over 900 plants ideal for food forests and permaculture gardens. Filter to search native plants to your area. The plants selected are the plants in our book 'Plants For Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens, as well as plants chosen for our forthcoming related books for Tropical/Hot Wet Climates and Mediterranean/Hot Dry Climates. Native Plant Search

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Angola; Cameroon; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Gabon; Ghana; Liberia; Nigeria; Sierra Leone; Uganda

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 : Status: Vulnerable A1cd

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Entandrophragma angolenseTiama MahoganyTree50.0 10-12 SLMHSNM124
Entandrophragma candolleiWest African CedarTree50.0 10-12 SLMHNM024
Entandrophragma cylindricumSapele MahoganyTree50.0 10-12 SLMHSNM024

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


(Dawe & Sprague) Sprague

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.

Readers comment

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at [email protected]. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Entandrophragma utile  
© 2010, Plants For A Future. Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567.