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A small to medium sized tree (4 to 15 m in height) occurring at medium to low altitudes. It is often found in woodland and brush in warm moist areas, and along river banks (Palgrave 1988). In Tanzania it is common in pastureland, particulary in Arusha and Kilimanjaro regions but is scattered elsewhere (RSCU 1992).

Minimum Altitude (m):


Maximum Altitude (m):


Minimum Rainfall (mm):



Soil Requirements: Found on a wide variety of soils. C. africana prefers light, deep, and well-drained soils and moist conditions. Also sandy loams (Watkins 1960).

Influential Factors: Irregular shedding of leaves which is often at different times from neighbouring trees (Watkins 1960). It is normally resistant to termites. It is frost tender.


Means of Propagation: Wildlings, transplants (6 months) and seed. Coppices well.

Seeds per kg:


Germination Rate (%):


Seed Sources:

1000 TSH per kg - Silviculture Research Centre 1991/92.

Seed Treatments: Fruit is small, smooth and oval tipped with a small point, about 1.3 cm in diameter (Palmer and Pitman 1972). Collect ripe fruits and sun dry until the coat is hard. Rub together to remove seed coat.

Pretreatment is not necessary. Germination is slow at first but fairly good after 3 weeks. The seed stores well for up to 1 year (Watkins 1960).

Seedling Management: Seeding time is highly variable but August and September appear best (Teel 1984). Seeds are normally sown directly in beds with germination beginning in 2 weeks. Seedlings need about 4 to 6 months in the nursery.


Planting Types: Planted near dwellings, around fields and pastures, and as a shade tree.

Growth Factors: Moderate to slow growing.

Growth Cycle: C. africana has a rotation of 35 to 45 years. It produces seed from August to September (ICRAF 1992).

Limitations to Planting: The tree usually has poor form and a short bole.

Management Systems: Germination from seed appears to be erratic but once started the tree grows fast and well. It can reach 7 to 8 m in 7 years (Palgrave 1988) and can tolerate pollarding, lopping, and coppicing.


Use #1: SHADE
Often found in cropland where it is managed for shade. In northern Tanzania C. africana is favoured as a shade tree for coffee because of its short bole. It provides very good mulch and can be used in other mixed cropping systems on cropland, pastureland, or rangeland to improve microclimatic conditions.

C. africana's sweetly scented flowers are very attractive to honey bees and are known for their high quality honey production.

The wood is light, yet durable, moderately soft, fairly straight-grained, and relatively termite and fungus resistant. It works and finishes easily (Watkins 1960). The wood is used to make grain mortars, water containers, utensils, tool handles, furniture, beehives, containers for local brew, and shingles.

OTHER USES: Well-known and valued for firewood, especially in the West Usambara Mountains.

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