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Letestua durissima - (A.Chev.) Lecomte

Common Name Kong-Afane, Congotali
Family Sapotaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards The sawdust can have an irritant effect[299 ].
Habitats Primary rainforest[299 ].
Range West tropical Africa - Gabon, Congo.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Letestua durissima Kong-Afane, Congotali
Letestua durissima Kong-Afane, Congotali


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Letestua durissima is native to Gabon and Congo Republic. It is the only recognized species in the Letestua genus of the Sapotaceae family. It is a tree growing up to 50 m tall with straight and cylindrical trunk of up to 240 cm in diameter. The trunk can be branchless for up to 40 m and its base can be buttressed. While there is no known edible part of this plant, decoction of its bark is used in the treatment of leprosy. The plant is highly valued for its very hard, very durable, and strong wood ideal for heavy construction, flooring, boat building, agricultural implements, poles, etc.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Letestua durissima is an evergreen Tree growing to 40 m (131ft) by 30 m (98ft) 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 and neutral soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Letestua floribunda Lecomte Pierreodendron durissimum A.Chev.


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.

A bark decoction is a component of a traditional medicine against leprosy[299 ].

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Other Uses

Other Uses The heartwood is fairly dark red-brown, turning chestnut brown with age; it is distinctly demarcated from the 5 - 9cm wide band of pale brown sapwood. The grain is usually straight, but sometimes interlocked; the texture fine to medium. The wood is very heavy; very hard; strong; resilient; stiff; very durable, it is rarely attacked by termites, but must be treated to prevent marine borer attack; the sapwood is not susceptible to Lyctus borers. Shrinkage rates are high; drying is slow, with high risks of distortion and checking; the dried wood is fairly stable. The wood is slow and difficult to saw due to the high silica content, which leads to severe blunting, and an irritating dust is produced; it should be sawn as fresh as possible and stellite-tipped sawteeth are recommended; planing is relatively easy and gives a smooth surface; pre-boring for nailing and screwing is recommended to avoid splitting, but the wood holds nails well; it glues well, when done carefully. The wood is considered suitable for heavy construction and flooring, mine props, ship and boat building, vehicle bodies, sporting goods, agricultural implements, musical instruments, precision equipment, joinery, sleepers, poles and piles, toys and novelties, and pattern making. The low saturation point makes the wood suitable for use in humid conditions such as mine work[299 , 848 ]..

Cultivation details

Not Known

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Seed - should be sown fresh, when the germination rate will often be virtually 100% within 7 - 30 days[299 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Kong-Afane (Gabon); Congotali (Congo)

Found In

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

Congo; Gabon

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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Expert comment


(A.Chev.) Lecomte

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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Subject : Letestua durissima  
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