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Turraeanthus africanus - (Welw. ex C.DC.) Pellegr.

Common Name Avodire
Family Meliaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards The bark is used as a fish poison; the leaves are occasionally also used for the same purpose[299 ]. The sawdust is very irritant and may even cause internal bleeding in wood workers; good ventilation is required[299 , 848 ].
Habitats An understorey to canopy tree in lowland evergreen forest and moist semideciduous forest, often in humid localities along streams and on the margins of poorly drained meadows and swamps; occasionally to 1,500 metres[299 ].
Range Western tropical Africa - Sierra Leone to Uganda, south to Angola and DR Congo.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Wet Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Turraeanthus africanus Avodire

Turraeanthus africanus Avodire


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Avodira, Turraeanthus africanus, is a large, evergreen tree that grows up to 35 m in height and 120 cm in diameter in Western Africa. It has a heavy, dark green, and spreading crown and its irregularly shaped bole can be unbranched for 10-15 m. The bark and leaves are used as fish poison. Medicinally, the plant is used in the treatment of cough, fever, headache, epilepsy, filariasis, hernia, etc. It is also used as an abortifacient. It has no edible parts. The wood is distinctly lustrous, medium weight, soft, but not durable and is susceptible to attacks of fungi, dry wood borer, termite, and marine borer. It is used for light construction, flooring, shipbuilding, vehicle bodies, toys, novelties, boxes, crates, etc. It is also used for fuel and charcoal production. Other common names include apeya, engan, agbe, lusamba, wansenwa, African Satinwood, and African White Mahogany.

Physical Characteristics

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Turraeanthus africanus is an evergreen Tree growing to 25 m (82ft) by 25 m (82ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Bingeria africana (Welw. ex C.DC.) A.Chev. Guarea africana Welw. ex C.DC. Turraeanthus malchairi De

Plant 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.
Abortifacient  Antibacterial  Antifungal  Antitussive  Cancer  Epilepsy  Febrifuge  Malaria  

Bark extracts are taken, or added to a bath, in order to treat coughs, fevers, headache, epilepsy, filariasis, and as an abortifacient[299 ]. The dried and pulverized bark, with salt added, is rubbed into scarifications as a treatment against hernia[299 ]. The seed oil is used as an abortifacient[299 ]. Several diterpenoids and triterpenoids have been isolated from the bark and seeds[299 ]. Stem bark extracts, and some of the isolated diterpenoids, exhibited significant antimicrobial activities against the pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformansand the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus[299 ]. Alkaloids have also been isolated from the stem bark[299 ]. Bark extracts showed some activity against the storage pest beetles Callosobruchus maculatusand Sitophilus zeamais[299 ]. A labdane diterpenoid isolated from the bark exhibited in-vitro anti-plasmodial activity against a chloroquine resistant strain of Plasmodium falciparum[299 ]. An ent-labdane isolated from the seeds showed in vitro cytotoxic effects on cancer cell lines[299 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Charcoal  Fuel  Furniture  Parasiticide  Wood

Other Uses: The heartwood is creamy white to pale yellow, darkening to golden yellow upon exposure to light; it is indistinctly demarcated from the 5 - 6cm wide band of sapwood. The grain is straight to interlocked; texture fine and even; the wood distinctly lustrous, with a silky shine; quartersawn surfaces often have an attractive mottled figure. The wood is medium weight; soft; it is not durable, being susceptible to fungal, dry-wood borer, termite and marine borer attacks. With some care, it air dries fairly easily and rapidly, but there is a serious risk of distortion and slight risk of checking. The wood saws and works well with ordinary equipment and with only slight dulling effects on saw teeth and cutting edges; tearing may occur in planing because of the presence of interlocked grain; it can be polished to an excellent finish; splitting is common during nailing and screwing, and pre-boring is recommended; gluing, painting and varnishing properties are all good, but the bending properties are poor. Sliced veneer of excellent quality can be produced, but the logs are often too irregular to produce good results in peeling[299 , 848 ]. A valuable and decorative wood, it is used for a range of purposes including high-quality furniture, cabinet making, decorative carpentry, moulding and panelling, musical instruments, and for sliced veneer. It is suitable for light construction, flooring, ship building, vehicle bodies, toys, novelties, boxes, crates, vats, turnery, hardboard, particle board and pulpwood for paper roduction[299 ]. The wood is used for fuel and for charcoal production[299 ]. The whitish wood is light and easy to work[46 ]. It is used for general carpentry and the interior finishes of houses[46 ].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Young seedlings require shade, but saplings need more light for proper development, preferring small gaps in the forest. Too much light, however, often results in low branching[299 ]. Plants often prefer sandy soils in the wild[299 ]. Often found in poorly drained soils in the wild[338 ]. Trees respond well to coppicing and pollarding[299 ]. In tests in Guinea, all seedlings planted in the full sun had died after 2 years, whereas more than 80% of the seedlings planted in forest understorey had survived after 3 years. Growth was slow, however, with a mean height of 150 cm after 6 years[299 ]. Trees can produce flowers throughout the year[299 ]. For trees in the natural forests, the minimum allowed felling diameter at breast height (dbh) is 60cm in cote d'ivoire, 70cm in Ghana and 80cm in Liberia[299 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - the viability is very short and so it should be sown immediately after collection. When fresh seeds are sown the germination rate can be up to 80% within 5 - 7 weeks. Young seedlings require moist soil and quite deep shade[299 ]. Seedlings need 10 months to reach 10cm in height, and they have to stay in the nursery for at least one year, until the first compound leaves appear[299 ]. Wildlings are occasionally collected from the forest for planting, but they are very susceptible to drought[299 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

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Found In

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

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

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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(Welw. ex C.DC.) Pellegr.

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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