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Ocotea kenyensis - (Chiov.) Robyns & R.Wilczek

Common Name Transvaal stinkwood, stinkhout
Family Lauraceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats A canopy tree in evergreen rainforest at elevations from 1,100 - 2,600 metres[299 ].
Range Tropical Africa - Ethiopia, Sudan, eastern DR Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, S. Africa.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Ocotea kenyensis Transvaal stinkwood, stinkhout
Ocotea kenyensis Transvaal stinkwood, stinkhout


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Threatened by habitat loss, Ocotea kenyensis is an evergreen tree growing about 30 m in height, with a rounded crown and many branches. Its bole is commonly straight, branchless for up to 8 m, and about 100 cm in diameter. The bark is chewed to treat diarrhea and its decoction is used to treat cough. The wood of this species is moderately heavy and durable and ideal for flooring, furniture, carving, panelling, joinery, light construction, etc. It is also used as fuel and charcoal.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Ocotea kenyensis is an evergreen Tree growing to 20 m (65ft) by 18 m (59ft) 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, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Ocotea gardneri Hutch. & M.B.Moss Ocotea viridis Kosterm. Tylostemon kenyensis Chiov.


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 used in traditional medicine as an antitussive[299 ]. The bark is chewed to treat diarrhoea[299 ].


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Other Uses

Other Uses The heartwood is pale golden brown to dark brown, with blackish markings. The grain is often wavy; texture moderately fine; lustrous. The wood is moderately heavy; fairly durable and moderately resistant to termite and marine borer attacks, but susceptible to Lyctus attack. It saws and works satisfactorily with both hand and machine tools, but picking up of grain at the surfaces may occur; sharp cutting edges are recommended to obtain surfaces with a nice finish; gluing properties are satisfactory; the wood slices and peels well. The heartwood is moderately resistant to impregnation by preservatives. The wood is used for flooring, panelling, furniture and carving. It is suitable for light construction, joinery, interior trim, vehicle bodies, handles, ladders, sporting goods, toys, novelties, turnery, veneer and plywood[299 ]. The wood is used for fuel and to make charcoal[299 ].

Special Uses


Cultivation details

A plant of moderate to higher elevations in the moist tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 2,600 metres. The mean annual rainfall in the area of distribution ranges from 1,500 - 2,200mm[299 ]. The tree grows fairly rapidly[299 ]. Trees respond well to coppicing[299 ].


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Seed - needs to be sown when fresh. The seed is sensitive to desiccation, but can be stored for a short period in moist sawdust[299 ]. Propagation by root suckers is easy; these are often produced abundantly[299 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Transvaal stinkwood - English, stinkhout - Afrikaans

Found In

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

R.Wilczek Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Ethiopia; Kenya; Malawi; Mozambique; Rwanda; South Africa; South Sudan; Sudan; Swaziland; Tanzania, United Republic of; Uganda; Zimbabwe

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
Ocotea cymosaVarongyTree20.0 10-12 MLMFSNM204
Ocotea porosaBrazilian-walnut, imbuiaTree18.0 10-12 SLMHNM004

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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Expert comment


(Chiov.) Robyns & R.Wilczek

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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