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Pterocarpus erinaceus - Poir.

Common Name African Kino
Family Fabaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Open country, wooded savannah, woodland; also edges of dense humid forest; sometimes on shallow soils; gravelly and lateritic soils, often at foot of slopes; at elevations from 200 - 1,030 metres[328 ].
Range West tropical Africa - Sierra Leone to Central African Republic.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Pterocarpus erinaceus African Kino

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Pterocarpus erinaceus African Kino


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A native to Sheila region of West Africa, African Kino (Pterocarpus erinaceus) grows about 11 m tall and 15 cm in trunk diameter. It is a dioecious tree with nitrogen-fixing capability and used as fodder for farm animals. The bark is dark and scaly. The bole is often straight and cylindrical but can be twisted and fluted if grown in poor conditions. The flowers are yellow and fruits are winged pods. The leaves and seeds are cooked and eaten. African Kino is used medicinally for wound healing, as aphrodisiac, and as treatment of fever, coughs, diarrhea, eye complaints, ulcers, sores, intestinal worm infections, gonorrhea, leprosy, hemorrhage, anemia, etc. Meanwhile, the wood is used for woodworking, charcoal and as fuel wood. Red sap can be obtained from the tree, known as kino, which is used as a dye.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Pterocarpus erinaceus is a deciduous Tree growing to 20 m (65ft) by 20 m (65ft) at a slow rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Bees, Insects.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Pterocarpus adansonii DC.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Seed
Edible Uses:

Leaves - cooked and eaten as a vegetable[303 ]. Seeds - cooked[303 ]. The seed needs to be thoroughly cooked in order to avoid emetic or intoxicating effects[303 ].

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.
Antibacterial  Antidiarrhoeal  Antifungal  Aphrodisiac  Astringent  Dysentery  Febrifuge  Haemostatic  
Leprosy  Malaria  Odontalgic  Ophthalmic  Parasiticide  Purgative  Tonic

The tree, and especially the resin, is commonly used in traditional medicine in Africa. Some research has been carried out into the medicinal properties of the tree, much of which has confirmed the traditional uses. The bark exudate quickly hardens upon exposure to air. It contains 30 - 80% kinotannic acid, which is a strong astringent[299 ]. Bark extracts have shown in-vitro antibacterial and antifungal activities against several human pathogens. In tests they blocked the ovulation and oestrus cycle through antigonadotropic activity[299 ]. Moderate in-vitro antimalarial activity of the bark extract was also demonstrated against strains of Plasmodium falciparum[299 ]. The effectiveness of the bark as a wound-healing agent was confirmed in tests, and the activity may be explained by the presence of phenolic compounds that have an effect on the immune system[299 ]. The bark has shown significant antioxidant activity[299 ]. Water and methanol extracts showed in-vitro inhibitory activities against Mycobacterium smegmatis and Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the latter being a causative agent of tuberculosis[299 ]. The resin, known as kino, is astringent and haemostatic. It is taken internally to treat diarrhoea including dysentery, fever, gonorrhoea and intestinal worm infections[299 ]. Externally, the resin is used to treat eye complaints, ulcers and sores[299 ]. Decoctions or infusions of the bark or roots are used in the treatment of bronchial infections, toothache, dysentery, menstruation complaints, anaemia, gonorrhoea, post-partum haemorrhage, ringworm infections, leprosy, wounds, tumours and ulcers, and as an anti-emetic, purgative and tonic[299 ]. Root preparations are administered as an enema to treat venereal diseases[299 ]. Leaf decoctions are used to treat fever, syphilis and are used as an aphrodisiac[299 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Charcoal  Dye  Fencing  Fodder  Fuel  Furniture  Parasiticide  Pioneer  Repellent  Tannin  Wood

Agroforestry Uses: A natural pioneer species in its native habitat, readily invading fallow land. It fixes atmospheric nitrogen, though is fairly slow-growing when young[299 , 414 ]. The tree has potential for use as live fencing[303 ]. The tree is the source of a good quality nectar for bees[303 ]. Other Uses Kino, a red substance resembling resin, is obtained by tapping the heartwood. It is rich in tannins and can be used as a red dye and medicinally as an astringent[375 , 418 ]. The heartwood is a source of a red dye, which is used for dying cloth, the body or hair[46 , 299 , 303 , 328 ]. The dyestuff is pulverized and mixed with water, the cloth dipped and dried and shea oil or palm oil rubbed in to produce a dark purple colour[303 ]. The bark is occasionally used for tanning[299 ]. The reddish bark exudate ('kino') is beaten onto cloth with a mallet to give it a glaze[299 ]. Decoctions of the leaves are used as insect repellents[299 ]. The heartwood is yellowish brown to reddish brown, often with purplish brown streaks; it is distinctly demarcated from the 2 - 8cm thick, yellowish or pale cream-coloured sapwood. The grain is straight to interlocked, texture fine to moderately coarse; fresh wood has an unpleasant aroma. The wood is moderately heavy to very heavy; hard; very durable, being very resistant to fungi, dry-wood borers and termites; it is also resistant to freshwater organisms. It seasons slowly but with very little risk of checking or distortion; once dry it is stable in service. The wood has a fairly high blunting effect and is rather difficult to saw and work, requiring considerable power; stellite-tipped sawteeth and tungsten carbide cutting tools are recommended; it finishes well, but picking up may occur in planing due to interlocked grain; it holds nails and screws well, but pre-boring is needed because it is brittle; gluing properties are often poor because of the presence of exudates in the wood, but the wood readily accepts stains and polishes well; it turns well, and the bending properties are moderate. The wood is highly valued for furniture and cabinet work, but is also used for heavy construction including waterworks, parquet flooring, stairs, implements, turning, sculpturing and sliced veneer. It is also suitable for joinery, interior trim, mortars, pestles, house posts, mine props, ship and boat building, vehicle bodies, sporting goods, toys, novelties, musical instruments (e.g. Balafons) and precision equipment[299 , 848 ]. The roots are made into bows[299 ]. The wood is suitable for fuel and is used to make a good quality charcoal[299 , 303 ]. The charcoal is highly valued by local blacksmiths[414 ].

Special Uses

Coppice  Nitrogen Fixer

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A plant of semi-arid to sub-humid tree savannah in the tropics, where it is usually found at elevations up to 600 metres, exceptionally to 1,200 metres[299 ]. It grows best in areas with a mean annual temperature of 15 - 32°c[299 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall of 600 - 1,200mm, but can tolerate up to 1,600mm annual rainfall. It can tolerate up to 4,000mm of rain[418 ]. It grows naturally in areas with a long dry season of up to 9 months[299 ]. Requires a sunny position[375 ]. Tolerant of most soil types, but prefers a light to medium, free-draining, acid to neutral soil[299 ]. Succeeds on poor shallow soils, though growth is often stunted[303 , 414 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 5.5, tolerating 4.5 - 6.5[418 ]. Established plants are very drought tolerant[414 ]. Young plants often grow away slowly, with two year old seedlings usually only reaching 42 - 100cm in height[299 ]. In northern Cote d'Ivoire planted seedlings had an average height of 9 cm after 3 months, 50 cm after 18 months, 2.8 metres after 2.5 years, 4.4 metres after 4.5 years and 5.5 metres after 5.5 years. The fastest growing tree was 10 metres tall after 5.5 years[299 ]. Trees respond well to coppicing, recovering well and growing more than 1 metre per year[299 ]. Coppicing at a height of 10 cm above ground has been recommended as a means of harvesting wood and fodder, but a coppicing height of 50 cm has also been recommended[299 ]. Trees do not resprout well when coppiced at ground level[299 ]l. To avoid browsing of new growth, cutting at a height of over 1.5 metres seems recommendable[299 ]. The flowers are much visited by bees, which are probably responsible for pollination[299 ]. The tree may produce so many fruits that when the fruits are green it looks as if the tree is covered with leaves[299 ]. Natural regeneration is often abundant and the species may be quite invasive if protected from grazing for some years[299 ]. The plant can survive annual bush fires[299 ]. The roots have nodules containing nitrogen-fixing bacteria. However, this species has low nitrogen-fixation potential in comparison with several other leguminous trees[299 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - pre-soaking in water for 12 - 24 hours, or treatment with sulphuric acid for 30 - 60 minutes improve germination rates from 50% to 70%[299 ]. A germination rate of 100% was achieved using mechanical scarification, sowing in 1% agar, incubation at 21?c and a 12-hour photoperiod[299 ]. Seeds can be sown in pots or in nursery beds at a spacing of about 20 cm - 30 cm. Germination is best at a temperature of 25 - 35°c, with the first seeds sprouting after 6 - 10 days[299 ]. Seedlings develop a long taproot and grow away slowly[299]. They can be planted out from pots or as bare-root plants, either as stumps or as entire seedlings. The survival rate is generally high when the seedlings are protected from livestock and wild herbivores[299 ]. Suckers are developed regularly and can be used for vegetative propagation[299 ]. Propagation by cuttings has been successful[299 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

african rosewood, agbelosun, apepo, west african rosewood.

Benin; Burkina Faso; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Côte d'Ivoire; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Liberia; Mali; Niger; Nigeria; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Togo

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

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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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Botanical References

Links / References

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A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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