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Hymenaea verrucosa - Gaertn.

Common Name East African Copal. Zanzibar copal tree
Family Fabaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats On or near the coast in dry evergreen forest, woodland and evergreen bushland, usually at elevations below 100 metres, but sometimes up to 240 metres[328 ].
Range Tropical East Africa - Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, to Madagascar, Mauritius and the Seychelles.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Hymenaea verrucosa East African Copal. Zanzibar copal tree
Hymenaea verrucosa East African Copal. Zanzibar copal tree Henry T. Wright


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Hymenaea verrucosa is an evergreen Tree growing to 15 m (49ft) by 15 m (49ft) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. The flowers are pollinated by Bees.
Suitable for: medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils and can grow in saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Trachylobium hornemannianum Hayne Trachylobium verrucosum (Gaertn.) Oliv.


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.

None known


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Other Uses

The roots, trunk and fruits yield copal[46 , 364 ]. Much copal can be obtained from semi-fossilized material dug from the soil[46 ]. Copal is a hard resin that is obtained from various tropical trees and is used to make varnish. The wood is heavy and hard. It is used for general construction, flooring, joinery, bridges, sleepers, firewood, charcoal, poles and tool handles[364 ].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming


Cultivation details

Industrial Crop: Hydrocarbon  Management: Standard  Regional Crop

The flowers are very attractive to bees[307 ]. This plant is the closest living species to the extinct species H. mexicana, which was found in amber from the mines of Chiapas, Mexico[328 ]. This fact indicates a former physical connection between the land mass of Africa and that of S. America[328 ]. 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[755 ].

Carbon Farming

  • Industrial Crop: Hydrocarbon  Materials, chemicals and energy include bioplastics, rubber, biomass products gasoline, jet fuel, diesel, butane, propane, biogas. Plants are usually resprouting plants and saps.
  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • 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.


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Seed - freshly sown, still moist seed does not require pre-treatment, but if the seedcoat has dried and hardened then it will require some treatment to help it absorb moisture more rapidly. This can be done by soaking the seed for 12 hours in warm water - if it swells it can be sown, otherwise carefully nick the seedcoat, making sure not to damage the embryo, then soak for a few hours more before sowing[K ]. Sow the seed in light shade in individual containers or a nursery seedbed. Treated seed usually starts to sprout after 8 - 12 days at an optimal temperature of 30°c[325 ]. Softwood cuttings in misted beds with steam or electrically heated soil[303 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Madagascar copal, Muacarecuite, Pohon kopal afrika timur, Pohon zanzibar, Umcumbi

Found In

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

Africa, Asia, Australia, China, East Africa, Hawaii, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar*, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, SE Asia, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tanzania

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
Hymenaea courbarilWest Indian LocustTree30.0 10-12 SMHNDM334
Hymenaea martianaCopalTree13.0 10-12 SLMHNM204

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

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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