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Terminalia ivorensis - A.Chev.

Common Name Black Afara
Family Combretaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards The dust from sawn timber may irritate the skin or respiratory tract[316 , 407 ]. The wood has been found to contain a saponin which may induce allergy in persons working with it[332 ].
Habitats Predominantly a tree of seasonal forest zones, where it often forms part of the canopy. It is also sometimes found in evergreen rainforest conditions[299 , 303 ].
Range Western tropical Africa - Guinea Bissau to Cameroon.
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
Terminalia ivorensis Black Afara

Wendy Cutler flickr.com
Terminalia ivorensis Black Afara
Wendy Cutler flickr.com


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Terminalia ivorensis, otherwise known as Black Afara, Ivory Coast Almond, Idigbo, Framire, and Emire, is a large deciduous tree commonly found in Western Africa and is threatened by habitat loss due to poor regeneration and timber exploitation. It reaches a height of up to 46 m and a trunk diameter of up to 4.75 m. Its bole is exceptionally straight with small buttresses at the base. The crown is flat-topped and spreads horizontally. No plant part is edible. However, it is highly valued medicinally and for its high quality wood. Various plant parts are used as remedies for a wide range of conditions such as wounds, sores, hemorrhoids, rheumatism, ulcers, blennorrhea, and kidney problems. A fast-growing tree, T. ivorensis is ideal as pioneer species for reforestation projects.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Terminalia ivorensis is a deciduous Tree growing to 30 m (98ft) by 30 m (98ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Butterflies, Flies. 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 and can grow in very acid soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


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.
Antiarthritic  Antidiarrhoeal  Antihaemorrhoidal  Antiinflammatory  Antirheumatic  Kidney  Skin

A bark decoction or macerate yields a red liquor which is rich in tannins and is used for treating wounds, sores, haemorrhoids etc[299 , 332 ]. The powdered bark is dusted over ulcers, and when pulped it is rubbed over areas of muscular and rheumatic pain to relieve the pain[332 ]. Sap expressed from young leaves is applied to cuts and is taken in draught with a bark-decoction by enema for treating blennorrhoea and kidney disorders[332 ]. Terminolic acid, ellagic acid, sericic acid, quercetin and glycyrrhetinic acid have been isolated from the chloroform and methanol extracts of the bark[299 ]. Anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic properties of the bark have been demonstrated in tests[299 ]. Moreover, it effectively checked diarrhoea produced by arachidonic acid and castor oil.[299 ]. Ethanol extracts of the roots showed distinct trypanocidal activity against both drug-sensitive as well as multi-drug-resistant strains of Trypanosoma congolense and Trypanosoma brucei[299 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Charcoal  Dye  Fencing  Fuel  Furniture  Mordant  Pioneer  Tannin  Wood

Agroforestry Uses: The open verticillate nature of the branching makes the living tree useful as a shade tree for crops such as cocoa, coffee and bananas[303 , 332 ]. A pioneer species, it is a good colonizer of abandoned farmlands[303 ]. Other Uses A yellow dye can be obtained from the wood, and more especially from the bark[332 ]. Reddish brown and black dyes can also be obtained if iron-rich mud or iron salts are used as a mordant[299 ]. It is used for dyeing cloth and fibres for basket-work, hammocks, etc[332 ]. The heartwood is yellowish brown to pale pinkish brown; it is not clearly demarcated from the slightly paler, 2 - 5cm wide band of sapwood. The grain is usually straight, sometimes slightly interlocked; texture is moderately coarse; lustre moderate; the wood is sometimes irregularly brown striped. The wood is very light to moderately heavy; soft to moderately hard; fairly strong; fairly durable and fairly resistant to fungi, although it may be attacked by pin-hole borers, powder-post beetles, longhorn beetles and termites. It air dries well and rapidly, with little degrade, provided there is good air circulation. The rates of shrinkage are moderate. The wood is easy to saw and work with both hand and machine tools; blunting effect on cutting edges is slight; quarter-sawn wood may tear slightly in planing operations; it finishes well when a filler is used; stains, polishes and turns well; has good nailing and screwing properties; glues satisfactorily, although gluing must be done with care because the exudates from the wood are acidic. It contains yellowish tannins, which may cause staining under humid conditions and in contact with iron. The steam-bending properties are poor. A useful timber species with a yellow-brown heartwood that is similar to oak, it is a good general purpose timber that is valued for light construction, door and window frames, joinery, fine carpentry, furniture, cabinet work, veneer and plywood. It is suitable for flooring, interior trim, vehicle bodies, sporting goods, boxes, crates, matches, turnery, hardboard, particle board and pulpwood. It is used locally for house construction, planks, fencing posts, dug-out canoes, drums and mortars. The wood splits easily and is much used in Ghana for roof-shingles which are said to have a life of 15 - 20 years[299 , 303 , 316 , 332 , 848 ]. The wood is used for fuel and is highly valued for making charcoal[303 ].

Special Uses


References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A plant of the moist tropics, where it is found at elevations from sea level to 1,200 metres[303 ]. It grows in areas where the mean annual temperature is in the range 20 - 33°c and the mean annual rainfall is 1,250 - 3,000 mm[303 ]. It prefers climates with a dry season, but is also found in areas with year-round rainfall[303 ]. For optimum development, it requires high, well-distributed rainfall[303 ]. Requires a sunny position[303 ]. The most suitable soils are lateritic loams, well-drained loams, sandy loams, clay loams and volcanic soils[303 ]. The plant can withstand short periods of inundation, though it is usually sensitive to waterlogging[303 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 6.5, tolerating 4.5 - 7.5[419 ]. A fast-growing tree. In medium-sized to large gaps in the forest, young trees may reach a height of 17 metres with a bole 25cm in diameter just 8 years after germination[299 ]. Planted trees in C?te d?Ivoire were generally 2.9 - 4.9 metres tall after 20 months, with exceptional growth up to 9 metres in some plants[299 ]. Trees 22 years old reached 36.5 metres with a bole diameter of 75cm[299 ]. Height growth is most rapid in the first 10 years of the tree's life, and decreases steadily afterwards, whereas mean annual wood volume increment reaches a peak of 15.5 cubic metres per hectare after 10 years, steadily decreasing to 6.9 cubic metres 51 years after planting[299 ]. The very fast rate of growth, straight stem and self-pruning habit, even at an early stage, make this an ideal species for the creation of large-scale, even-aged plantations[303 ]. The tree coppices well, even to an advanced age, but it is normally managed on a coppice rotation[303 , 332 ]. The tree is naturally not long-lived, and in old age the heart-wood becomes inferior, hollow or brittle[332 ]. Cultivation should ensure felling at the optimum age[332 ]. The rotation applied in favourable locations in Africa is 40 years[303 ]. The tree forms a good taproot supported by 6 - 8 powerful lateral roots[303 ]. There is also evidence of a widespread and rather superficial root system[303 ]. Plants are very vulnerable to fire[303 ]. Selection and breeding started in the 1960s in Africa. Since then, trees with superior growth rate and stem form have been selected, and clone banks have been established[303 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - best soaked overnight in cold water and then sown the following day[303 ]. Partial scarification of the seed coat will also aid germination[303 ]. Pre-treatment can also be by alternate soaking and drying for 1 week[303 ]. The seed germinates better if it is covered by the soil to exclude light[303 ]. Germination rate is usually 10 - 50%, but up to 93% has been achieved under experimental temperature fluctuations[303 ]. Light shade is generally applied during germination, but it should be removed after 1 - 2 months[303 ]. Adequate moisture during germination is a prerequisite[303 ]. Germination usually starts within 2 weeks of sowing and lasts for another 2 - 5 weeks[303 ]. The Seedlings rapidly develop a taproot and so should be potted up into containers as soon as they are large enough to handle[303 ]. Seedlings are ready for planting when they are 20 - 30 cm tall[303 ]. Seeds can also be sown in situ[303 ]. Orthodox seed storage behaviour; seeds maintained viability at 8.6% mc. Seeds can be stored in room temperature for up to 3 or 4 months. If stored in airtight containers at temperatures of 5 to -5 deg. C, they can be stored for up to 1 year. Can also be stored as dry fruit[303 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

AFRICA: Cameroon, Côte D‘Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone

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

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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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