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Afzelia xylocarpa - (Kurz) Craib

Common Name Makha Tree, Cambodia Beng Tree
Family Fabaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Dense forest, and in transitional areas between evergreen and dry open dipterocarp forest[ 338 ]. Found in mixed deciduous or dry evergreen forest on clayey or laterite soils at elevations from 100 - 600 metres[ 384 ].
Range Southeast Asia - Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Afzelia xylocarpa Makha Tree, Cambodia Beng Tree

Afzelia xylocarpa Makha Tree, Cambodia Beng Tree
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Afzelia xylocarpa - Makha Tree or Cambodia Beng Tree – is a large tropical deciduous tree that can grow to 30m. In very large specimens the trunk to grow to 2m in diameter. The tree has an attractive timber used for ornamental woodturning, pens, knife handles, carvings, and musical instruments. The seed and oil are edible and is medicinally for eye disease and toothaches relief. Cigarettes are made from the seed pulp. Leaves are high in nitrogen and help improve soil conditions.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Afzelia xylocarpa is a deciduous Tree growing to 20 m (65ft) by 12 m (39ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10 and is frost tender.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: neutral soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Afzelia cochinchinensis (Pierre) J.Léonard Afzelia siamica Craib. Pahudia cochinchinensis Pierre Pah


Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Oil  Seed
Edible Uses: Oil

Edible Part: Leaves, Seeds, Oil. The fatty cotyledons of young seeds are eaten[ 325 , 384 , 404 ]. An oil is obtained from the seeds[ 404 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

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The plant is used medicinally for relieving toothaches and eye diseases[ 266 ]. The bark is astringent[ 404 ]. It is used in local medicine[ 404 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Adhesive  Oil  Soil conditioner  Tannin  Wood

Agroforestry Uses: The tree is grown in agroforestry systems, where they improve soil conditions through their nitrogen-fixing ability and leaf fall[ 362 ]. Other Uses The seeds are used for carving[ 266 ]. An adhesive is made from the seed pulp[ 404 ]. The bark contains tannins[ 384 , 404 ]. The heartwood is reddish-yellow, red to dirty red-brown, often with some streaks, and clearly demarcated from the grey-white sapwood[ 404 ]. The texture is moderately fine to moderately coarse[ 404 ]. The wood is heavy, hard, very durable (tests have shown a durability under exposure of about 10 years in tropical conditions)[ 404 ]. It is moderately difficult to work, but easy in comparison with other high-density woods; planed surfaces are often glossy; it takes a high finish[ 404 ]. The attractive wood is highly valued for carpentry[ 338 , 404 ]. The hard, dense, fine-grained and durable wood is highly valued, especially in Thailand. The wood is used in various ways, for round wood, building poles, sawn or hewn building timbers, for heavy and light construction, beams, flooring, wall panelling, shingles, engineering structures, bridges, railway sleepers, woodware, industrial and domestic woodware, tool handles, musical instruments, wood carvings, furniture, veneers, boats, vehicle bodies, wood based materials, plywood, fuel wood and charcoal. The wood burls are specially valued because they form beautiful figures when the wood is being cut. The wood is so valuable that it is sold by kilograms[ 404 ].

Special Uses

Coppice  Food Forest  Nitrogen Fixer

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A plant of the moist tropics, where it is usually found at elevations from 100 - 650 metres[ 404 ]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime annual temperatures are within the range 20 - 32°c, though it can tolerate 12 - 39°c[ 404 ]. It does badly if temperatures fall below10°c[ 404 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,000 - 1,500mm, with a dry season of 5 - 6 months[ 404 ]. Young plants prefer some shade, but become increasingly intolerant of shade as they grow older[ 404 ]. Thrives on well-drained flats or on slopes with a deep, loamy soil, or sand on clayey or laterite soils with a neutral pH[ 404 ]. The tree has good coppice potential[ 404 ]. Seedpods remain on the tree for a long time before opening[ 362 ]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[ 200 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Seed - the seedcoat is so hard that pre-treatment with boiling water may not be sufficient to break the dormancy. Furthermore, the large aril around the seed delays germination and must be removed. By using a sharp knife, it is possible to cut off the aril together with a small chip of the seedcoat but care must be taken not to damage the radicle. If the seed coat is not scarified while removing the aril, the seed should be nicked at the opposite end. After cutting, the seeds are soaked in water for 12 hours before sowing[ 404 ]. Generally germination ability lasts 1 - 2 years when seeds are stored in low temperatures[ 404 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

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Found In

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

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 : Afzelia xylocarpa Status: Endangered

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Afzelia africanaAfrican MahoganyTree8.0 10-12 MLMHNMWe224

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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(Kurz) Craib

Botanical References


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