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Terminalia sambesiaca - Engl. & Diels

Common Name
Family Combretaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Rainforest, dry evergreen forest and riverine forest, less often in savannah woodland and on rocky hills, from sea-level up to 850 metres[299 ].
Range East tropical Africa - southeast Kenya, Tanzania, northern Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (4 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Terminalia sambesiaca
Terminalia sambesiaca
Wendy Cutler


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Terminalia sambesiaca is an evergreen tree tree with a dense crown and grows up to 40 m high and 90 cm in trunk diameter. The trunk is usually straight, cylindrical, and slightly buttressed. It is a fast-growing tree commonly found in East tropical Africa. Traditionally, it is used against stomach pain, infertility in women, fever, colds, cancer, stomach ulcers, appendicitis, and diarrhea. Further, it exhibits antibacterial and antifungal properties. No plant part is edible. The wood is moderately heavy, moderately durable, and susceptible to termite attack. It is used for poles, stools, mortars, tool handles, construction, flooring, shipbuilding, furniture, toys, veneer, plywood, etc. It is also used for fuel and charcoal.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Terminalia sambesiaca is an evergreen Tree growing to 32 m (105ft) by 32 m (105ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10.
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 dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Terminalia aemula Diels Terminalia foetens Engl. Terminalia obovata Sim Terminalia riparia Engl. & D


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.

In traditional medicine the leaves are used to treat stomach-ache and infertility in women, whereas bark and leaf decoctions are applied to treat fever, colds, cancer, stomach ulcers and appendicitis. Powdered root bark is mixed with porridge and eaten to treat bloody diarrhoea[299 , 364 ]. Methanol extracts of the roots showed marked antibacterial activity against Enterobacter aerogenes, Micrococcus luteus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Sarcina sp., Salmonella typhi, Shigella boydii, Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis, as well as distinct antifungal activity against Candida albicans, Candida glabrata and Cryptococcus neoformans. Bark extracts also showed antibacterial activity and leaf extracts antifungal properties against Candida albicans and Cryptococcus neoformans. Antifungal activity was found especially in polar fractions of the extract and might be due to the presence of tannins. Root extracts showed strong cytotoxic effects against several human cancer cell lines, e.g. Against HeLa cervical cancer cells, T24 bladder cancer cells and BBCE endothelial cells[299 ].


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Other Uses

Other Uses: The heartwood is yellow with brownish stripes on quarter-sawn surfaces, darkening rapidly to yellowish brown or greenish brown; it is distinctly demarcated from the up to 6cm wide band of cream-coloured sapwood. The grain is interlocked; the texture fine and even. The wood is moderately heavy, moderately durable, being susceptible to termite attack. It seasons fairly rapidly, with little degrade, though surface checking and some distortion may occur, especially in kiln drying; once dry, the wood is moderately stable in service. It is moderately difficult to saw and work with hand and machine tools; it often finishes well, but the use of a filler has been recommended to produce good surfaces; nailing and screwing are good, but require pre-boring. The wood is used for building poles, ship masts, stools, mortars, tool handles and beehives. It is suitable for construction, flooring, joinery, interior trim, bridge decking, ship building, furniture, cabinet work, sporting goods, toys, novelties, railway sleepers, mine props, veneer and plywood[299 , 364 ]. The wood is used for fuel and for charcoal production[299 , 364 ].

Special Uses


Cultivation details

The tree is said to grow rapidly[299 ]. The flowers have a strong and unpleasant smell, and are probably pollinated by flies[299 ]. Although this species has been reported to be an excellent timber tree, very little is known about its growth rates, propagation and possibilities for establishing plantations[299 ].


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Seed -

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

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

Kenya; Tanzania, United Republic of; Zambia; Zimbabwe; Malawi; Mozambique

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
Terminalia arjunaArjuna, TerminaliaTree30.0 10-12 FLMHNDM243
Terminalia belliricaBeleric MyrobalanTree35.0 10-12 M LMHNDM233
Terminalia catappaIndian Almond, Tropical Almond TreeTree30.0 10-12 FLMNM423
Terminalia chebulaBlack Myrobalan, Chebulic Myroblan,Tree25.0 10-12 SLMHNM354
Terminalia ferdinandianaBilly Goat PlumTree10.0 9-12 MLMNM420
Terminalia ivorensisBlack AfaraTree30.0 10-12 FLMHNM024
Terminalia kaernbachiiOkari NutTree20.0 10-12 FLMHNM502
Terminalia superbaShinglewoodTree40.0 10-12 FLMHNM024

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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Engl. & Diels

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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