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Milicia regia - (A.Chev.) C.C.Berg

Common Name Oroko, Iroko
Family Moraceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards The wood and sawdust may cause dermatitis, irritation to nose and throat, and asthmatic reactions[299 ]
Habitats Rainforests at low elevations, but also often found as a lone tree in cultivated areas[299 ].
Range West tropical Africa - Senegal and Gambia to Ghana.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (5 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Milicia regia Oroko, Iroko

Milicia regia Oroko, Iroko


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Milicia regia is a tropical, deciduous tree belonging in the Moraceae family. It has a wide and rounded crown, tall and straight trunk, and smooth reddish-brown bark. It grows up to 35 m in height and 200 cm in trunk diameter. It can be found in West Africa particularly in Senegal and Gambia to Ghana. The edible fruit is comprised of achenes, with each achene containing a pale brown seed. The tree is used medicinally for wounds, burns, gonorrhea, dysmenorrhea, stomach pain, heart problems, scabies, fever, diarrhea, dysentery, etc. The bark produces white latex that is used as a glue. The wood is of high quality.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Milicia regia is a deciduous Tree growing to 30 m (98ft) by 25 m (82ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Chlorophora regia A.Chev. Maclura regia (A.Chev.) Corner

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw[299 ]. The fruit comprises a number of achenes, each 2.5 - 3 mm long, arranged in an infructescence 5 - 8cm long and 1.2 - 2cm wide. Each achene contains a pale brown seed about 2mm long[299 ].

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.
Antiasthmatic  Antidiarrhoeal  Antihaemorrhoidal  Antiinflammatory  Antirheumatic  Antiseptic  Antitussive  Aphrodisiac  
Cardiac  Dysentery  Eczema  Febrifuge  Galactogogue  Ophthalmic  Purgative  
Skin  Tonic

The latex in the plant is credited with antiseptic and healing properties and is applied on wounds and burns[299 ]. Other plant parts probably have similar medicinal uses as those of Milicia excelsa.[299 ]. These are as follows:- A root decoction is taken to treat female sterility. A decoction of the root and stem bark is taken as an aphrodisiac[299 ]. The bark is aphrodisiac, galactagogue, purgative and tonic[299 ]. It is used to treat a wide range of conditions including cough, asthma, heart trouble, lumbago, spleen pain, stomach pain, abdominal pain, oedema, ascites, dysmenorrhoea, gonorrhoea, general fatigue, rheumatism, sprains[299 ]. Bark preparations are externally applied to treat scabies, wounds, loss of hair, fever, venereal diseases and sprains[299 ]. They are also applied as an enema to cure piles, diarrhoea and dysentery[299 ]. The latex is considered to be galactagogue[299 ]. It is taken in the treatment of stomach problems, hypertension, tumours and obstructions of the throat[299 ]. Externally, it is applied on burns, wounds, sores and against eczema and other skin problems[299 ]. The leaves are galactagogue[299 ]. They are eaten to treat insanity, and a decoction is taken for the treatment of gallstones[299 ]. Externally, leaf preparations are used in the treatment of snakebites and fever, and as eye drops to treat filariasis.

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Adhesive  Charcoal  Fuel  Furniture  Hair  Latex  Mulch  Soil conditioner  Wood

Other Uses The bark is used for dyeing leather and cloth[299 ]. A white latex exudes from the bark. It is used as a glue, and has been used as an adulterant in rubber[299 ]. The heartwood is pale yellow to brown, darkening upon exposure; it is clearly demarcated from the 50 - 75mm wide band of paler sapwood. The grain is interlocked; texture medium to coarse; the wood has a strong mint-like odour and a slightly oily feel. The wood is of medium weight, moderately hard, of good durability, being resistent to fungi, dry wood borers and termites. The wood seasons well, without warping or splitting; movement in service is small. The wood is easy to saw and to work with hand and machine tools - it contains, however, hard deposits ('iroko stones', mainly consisting of calcium carbonate), which can blunt cutting edges. In planing, the interlocked grain may cause some tearing, but this can be avoided by using cutting angles of 15° or less. The wood holds nails well, but nailing may cause some splitting. It finishes well, but filler is needed. It glues easily. A wood of high quality, it is used for construction work, shipbuilding and marine carpentry, sleepers, sluice gates, framework, trucks, draining boards, outdoor and indoor joinery, stairs, doors, frames, garden furniture, cabinet work, panelling, flooring and profile boards for decorative and structural uses. It is also used for carving, domestic utensils, musical instruments and toys. As it is resistant to acids and bases, it is used for tanks and barrels for food and chemical products and for laboratory benches. It is used as sliced veneer but only rarely as rotary veneer[299 , 848 ]. The wood is used for fuel and for making charcoal299].

Special Uses


References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Milicia regia is a plant of the moist, lowland tropics. It has been cultivated and has grown well in Nigeria, on sandy soils with 2,000 - 2,500mm of rain per year, whereas on coarse sand and gravel with 1,000 - 1,500mm of rainfall, the trees grew poorly and were of bad form[299 ]. The tree demands intense light and does not tolerate deep shade[299. In young secondary forest it cannot compete with the climbers and shrubs. It requires a well-drained soil[299 ]. This species is considered to be more water demanding and less drought-resistant than the closely related Milicia excelsa[299 ]. Cultivation of the plant has proven to be difficult because plantations are often severely affected by pest problems[299 ]. Young plants transplant well[299 ]. Four-year-old trees in a plantation in Nigeria were 9 metres tall with a stem diameter of 13cm[299 ]. The plant coppices well[299 ]. A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required[299 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a sunny position in a nursery seedbed. A high germination rate can be expected, with the seed sprouting within 14 - 28 days[299 ]. When the seedlings are 5 - 6cm tall, pot them up into individual containers and they should be ready to plant out about 4 months later[299 ]. Stem cuttings. Good percentage[299 ]. Root cuttings. Good percentage[299 ]. Layering. Grafting.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Semli (Sierra Leone); Semei (Sierra Leone); Rokko (Nigeria); Semli (Liberia); Semei (Liberia); Pau bicho (Guinea-Bissau); siri (Guinea); Odum (Ghana); Iroko (Côte d`Ivoire); Kambala (Belgium); Molundu (Zaire); Mokongo (Zaire); Lusanga (Zaire); Kambala (Zaire); Mandji (Gabon); Abang (Gabon); Abang (Equatorial Guinea); Kambala (Congo); Abang (Cameroon); Mvuli (Uganda); Mvule (Uganda); Mvuli (Tanzania); Mvule (Tanzania); Mvuli (Kenya); Mvule (Kenya); Mvuli (Ethiopia); Mvule (Ethiopia); Tule (Mozambique); Mufala (Mozambique); Moreira (Angola); Iroko. Binam-ne, Cunde, Kambala, Odum, Odum-nua, Po-de-bicho-amarelo, Po-de-bicho-risso, Po-de-sinsa, Semei, Time, Tumbiro, Tumbu-suro,

Benin; Cameroon; Côte d'Ivoire; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Liberia; Senegal, Africa, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinée, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa,

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

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Milicia excelsaAfrican TeakTree50.0 10-12 MLMHNDM235

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.


Expert comment


(A.Chev.) C.C.Berg

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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