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Millettia laurentii - De Wild.

Common Name Wenge
Family Fabaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards The bark is used as fish poison and arrow poison[299 ]. Contact with the fine sawdust produced during processing may cause occupational asthma and allergic dermatitis in workers[299 ]. A quinone (2,6-dimethoxy-1, 4-benzoquinone) has been isolated from the wood and identified as a contact allergen[299 ].
Habitats Rainforest, often in well-drained localities, but also in forest subject to regular inundation; also in riverine forest and tree savannah[299 ].
Range West tropical Africa - Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo, DR Congo.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (4 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Millettia laurentii Wenge


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Millettia laurentii Wenge
Philipp Zinger

 

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Summary

Millettia laurentii is a tropical leguminous tree that grows up to 30 m in height (20 meters without branches) and 120 cm in trunk diameter. It has spreading downward type of branches. The wood also known as Wenge is of high quality, very dark in color and has a distinct pattern. The tree has no known edible parts, but has several uses in medicine and agroforestry industry. In traditional medicine, it is used for diabetes, liver problems, hernia, skin diseases, fever, rheumatism, constipation, sores, epilepsy, smallpox, edema, and abscesses. The bark is used as fish poison and arrow poison.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Millettia laurentii is a deciduous Tree growing to 25 m (82ft) by 20 m (65ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Bees.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) 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

Synonyms

Habitats

Edible Uses

None known

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.
Epilepsy

In traditional medicine a bark decoction is used to treat liver complaints, diabetes, hernia, skin diseases, constipation, fever and rheumatism. The bark is also applied as an expectorant, emetic and vermifuge, as well as to treat epilepsy, smallpox, oedema, sores and abscesses[299 ]. Several isoflavones have been isolated from the heartwood, and several alkaloids, including guanidine alkaloids, from bark and seeds[299 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Fencing  Furniture  Insecticide  Pioneer  Wood

Agroforestry Uses: Flowering trees provide nectar to honey bees[299 ]. Stem cuttings are planted as a live fence[299 ]. The tree is used as a pioneer, being planted for the reforestation of formerly cultivated land[299 ]. Other Uses The bark has insecticidal properties[299 ]. The seeds contain about 35% oil, though no uses are mentioned[299 ]. The heartwood is yellow when freshly sawn but darkens on exposure to dark brown or black-brown, with black streaks; it is sharply demarcated from the 2 - 5cm wide band of pale yellow sapwood. The grain is straight, texture medium to coarse. The wood is heavy, hard, elastic and very durable, being resistant to fungal, dry-wood borer and termite attacks and moderately resistant to marine borers, but the sapwood is susceptible to attack by powder-post beetles. It has a tendency to split. It saws and works well, but force is required and sawteeth and cutting tools may blunt rapidly; stellite-tipped sawteeth and tungsten-carbide tipped cutting tools are recommended; it is difficult to polish and the use of a finishing wax is recommended; pre-boring before nailing and screwing is needed; it slices well and can also be rotary cut, but intensive steaming is then needed. The gluing and varnishing properties are poor due to the presence of resin cells, but the use of a filler improves the results considerably. The wood is commonly used for heavy flooring, interior and exterior joinery, interior and exterior panelling, cabinet work, furniture, carving, turnery and sliced veneer. It is also suitable for heavy construction, mine props, vehicle bodies, implements, sporting goods, toys, novelties, boxes, crates and railway sleepers. It is in high demand for decorative furniture and parquet flooring. It is also used for high-quality musical instruments, especially guitars; it is said to give a good and strong tone. It is popular for the production of sculptures, masks and drums[299 , 316 ].

Special Uses

Attracts Wildlife  Nitrogen Fixer

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

The wood does not float and therefore cannot be transported by river[299 ]. 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 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Propagation

Seed - Cuttings. In a trial in DR Congo, 48% of stem cuttings planted at the onset of the rainy season sprouted[299 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Wenge

Found In

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

Cameroon; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Equatorial Guinea; 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 : Status: Endangered A1cd

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Millettia dielsiana Shrub5.0 -  LMHNM12 
Millettia reticulataJi Xue TengClimber5.0 7-10  LMHNM031
Millettia stuhlmanniiPanga-panga, Partridge woodTree15.0 10-12 MLMHNM024

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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Author

De Wild.

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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