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Newtonia buchananii - (Baker f.) G.C.C.Gilbert & Boutique

Common Name East African Newtonia, Forest Newtonia
Family Fabaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats A canopy and subcanopy tree in highland forest areas at elevations from 1,100 - 1,800 metres in west Africa. In East and southern Africa it occurs in evergreen rainforest, often along watercourses and lakes, at elevations from 600 - 2,200 metres[299 ].
Range Tropical Africa - Nigeria, Cameroon, eastern DR Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Newtonia buchananii East African Newtonia, Forest Newtonia / TanzaniaPlantCollaboration
Newtonia buchananii East African Newtonia, Forest Newtonia / TanzaniaPlantCollaboration


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Newtonia buchananii is a deciduous Tree growing to 25 m (82ft) by 20 m (65ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. The flowers are pollinated by Bees.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Piptadenia buchananii Baker f.


Edible Uses

None known


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.

The bark is used as an aphrodisiac[299 ]. In DR Congo an air-dried bark decoction is applied as powder to treat abscesses[299 ].


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Other Uses

Agroforestry Uses: Newtonia buchananii is planted as a shade tree in coffee, tea and cocoa plantations; the crown gives a rather light shade[299 ]. It is planted along rivers in order to stabilize the banks[299 , 303 ]. The leaves are used as mulch[299 ]. The flowers are a good source of nectar and pollen for bees[299 ]. Other Uses: A yellow-brown resin exudes from the bark when cut[303 ]. The heartwood is pale brown, darkening to golden brown upon exposure; distinctly demarcated from the 5 - 15cm thick band of greyish white sapwood. The grain is interlocked; texture moderately coarse to coarse; the wood has some stripe or ribbon figure and is lustrous. The wood is medium-weight; fairly soft to moderately hard; not durable to moderately durable - it shows moderate resistance to termite attacks, but is susceptible to powder-post beetle, pinhole borer and marine borer attacks. However, the wood is reportedly durable in fresh water, and is for that reason much used for making canoes in Lake Victoria. It air dries and kiln dries satisfactorily, with little distortion but with some risk of checking. After drying, the wood is moderately stable in service. It is easy to saw, but with some tendency to split due to growth stresses; it works fairly easily by hand and machine tools, but mortising and boring are somewhat difficult; a cutting angle of 10° and sharp edges are recommended for planing of quarter-sawn stock, but for flat-sawn pieces an angle of 30° is sufficient; the use of a filler is needed to obtain a good finish; it holds screws and nails well, but there is a tendency to splitting; pre-boring is recommended; it glues more or less satisfactorily and peels well. The boles have a tendency to split during felling operations. Freshly harvested logs are liable to insect attacks and should be removed from the forest soon after felling to avoid damage to the wood. The wood is used for tool handles, implements, carpentry, joinery, cabinet work, doors, door frames, bridges, boat building, vehicle bodies and fencing. It is suitable for light construction, flooring, interior trim, boxes, crates, veneer and plywood. It is used traditionally to make dugout canoes[299 , 364 ]. The wood is a good quality fuel and is used for charcoal production[299 , 303 , 364 ]. A fodder plant.

Special Uses

Carbon Farming


Cultivation details

Fodder: Pod  Regional Crop

A plant of the moist to wet tropics, where it can be found at elevations from 600 - 2,200 metres. It occurs in regions with a mean annual rainfall within the range 1,100 - 3,000mm and a mean annual temperature of 17 - 27°c[299 , 303 ]. In general, seedlings grow slowly and have low survival rates. This means that special care is needed in the early years. Direct sowing has been tried in Tanzania, but survival of seedlings was low, up to only 26% after 10 years. Once established however, which is usually after 1 - 3 years, the young trees can grow fairly fast[299 ]. Locally, trees may be found flowering throughout the year[299 ]. The winged seeds are mainly dispersed by wind, but distribution by water and birds is also possible[299 ]. It has been reported that the tree is relatively short lived[299 ]. Although many species within the family Fabaceae have a symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria, this species is said to be devoid of such a relationship and therefore does not fix atmospheric nitrogen[755 ].

Carbon Farming

  • Fodder: Pod  Fodder plants with pods.
  • Regional Crop  These crops have been domesticated and cultivated regionally but have not been adopted elsewhere and are typically not traded globally, Examples in this broad category include perennial cottons and many nuts and staple fruits.


Temperature Converter

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Seed - they do not show any dormancy and usually germinate in 3 - 4 weeks, with up to 70% germination rates and exceptionally to 90%[299 ]. The seeds lose their viability quickly, and cannot be stored for more than a few weeks at room temperature. They are very susceptible to insect attack[299 ]. Root suckers can also be used for propagation, and wildlings are occasionally collected for planting[299 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

English - newtonia,forest newtonia; Luganda - mpewere; Swahili - mnyasa; Trade name - mufomoti

Found In

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

Kenya; Uganda; Tanzania, United Republic of; Mozambique; Malawi; Zimbabwe; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Angola

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.

None Known

Conservation Status

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

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

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.


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Expert comment


(Baker f.) G.C.C.Gilbert & Boutique

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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