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Pericopsis angolensis - (Baker) Meeuwen

Common Name East African afrormosia
Family Fabaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Deciduous woodland (Brachystegia or Combretum and Terminalia associations), wooded grassland; in bushy stony places; at elevations from 200 - 1,700 metres[328 ].
Range Tropical Africa - southern DR Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Pericopsis angolensis East African afrormosia
Pericopsis angolensis East African afrormosia


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Pericopsis angolensis is a deciduous shrub or tree growing about 10-20 m in height. It has a rounded crown and an often curved bole that can be branchless for up to 7.5 m and up to 100 cm in diameter. It is commonly found in tropical Africa. There is no known edible part of this plant but the bark, roots, and leaves are used in traditional medicine for improving blood circulation and treatment of conditions like diarrhea, nausea, eye problems, pain, edema, sore throat, toothache, and headaches. The wood is heavy, highly durable and hard, and resistant to attacks of fungi, termites, and wood borers. It is considered as the most durable native wood in Malawi and used for flooring, panelling, heavy construction, musical instruments, and poles among others. It is also used as fuel and charcoal.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Pericopsis angolensis is a deciduous Tree growing to 15 m (49ft) by 15 m (49ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10.
It can fix Nitrogen.
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


Afrormosia angolensis (Baker) De Wild. Afrormosia bequaertii De Wild. Ormosia angolensis Baker


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.

The roots, bark and leaves are commonly used in traditional medicine in Africa[299 ]. The roots are abortifacient, aphrodisiac and tonic. A decoctions is used to stimulate the blood circulation, and to treat conditions such as diarrhoea, bronchial and chest complaints, nausea, and eye problems[299 ]. The dried and powdered root is applied externally to relieve pain, and to treat oedema and tumours[299 ]. A decoction or maceration of the bark is taken to treat diarrhoea, sore throat and toothache, and as an eye bath[299 ]. The leaf sap is drunk as an anthelmintic[299 ]. A lef decoction is inhaled as a vapour bath as a treatment for headaches[299 ]. The dried and powdered leaves are applied externally as a treatment for headaches[299 ].

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Other Uses

Agroforestry Uses: It has been reported that the occurrence of Pericopsis angolensis trees in Malawi is an indication of fairly fertile soil[299 ]. Other Uses The heartwood is greenish brown, turning dark brown to almost black upon drying; it is distinctly demarcated from the up to 25mm wide band of whitish to yellowish grey sapwood. The grain is interlocked; texture moderately fine; the wood is strikingly banded or shows a whorled figure; it is oily to the touch. The wood is heavy, very hard, very durable and resistant to fungi, termites and all wood borers including marine borers. It is also highly resistant to abrasive action and chemicals. It air dries very slowly but with little degrade, except slight surface checking. The rates of shrinkage are low; once dry it is moderately stable in service. The wood is difficult to saw and work because of its high density; it is rather difficult to plane and a cutting angle of 20% is recommended, but it has a smooth finish; it holds nails and screws well, but pre-boring is necessary; gluing, staining and polishing do not cause problems. The wood turns well; bending properties are moderate. In Malawi, where the wood is considered the most durable native wood, remains of hoes have been found that were at least 90 years old. Traditionally, the extremely durable wood is highly esteemed for making hoes and pestles, and for the rims and hubs of wagon wheels. Commercially, the wood is used for flooring and panelling, and it is also suitable for heavy construction, railway sleepers, mine props, ship building, vehicle bodies, fence poles, vats, interior trim, joinery, furniture, cabinet work, handles, ladders, agricultural implements, sporting goods, musical instruments, toys, novelties, precision equipment, carvings and turnery. In Zimbabwe it is one of the most important trees for poles used in local house construction[299 ]. The wood is used as a fuel - it is difficult to light, but produces great heat and little ash. It also makes excellent charcoal[299 ].

Special Uses

Cultivation details

Trees are sensitive to frost[299 ]. Plants respond well to coppicing, although they often produce a large number of small shoots[299 ]. For firewood production, a coppice rotation of 5 years is possible, but for poles and certainly for larger sizes of timber much longer rotation cycles are needed[299 ]. The trees are fire resistant[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 ]

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Seed -

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

East African afrormosia, Pau ferro, gambo, muanga, Muvanga, mbanga. mubanga, muwanga.

Found In

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

Tanzania, United Republic of; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Mozambique; Malawi; Zambia; Zimbabwe; Angola

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

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Pericopsis elataAfrican-teak, golden afrormosia, kokroduaTree40.0 10-12 FLMHNDM024


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Expert comment


(Baker) Meeuwen

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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