Scientific nameMarkhamia lutea
Native distributionEast Africa. Naturalized in some parts of west Africa
BiologyThe tree can grow up to 10-15m tall, though it has been reported to reach heights of 40m. The bole is up to 70cm in diameter.
EcologyIt is a fast growing species, and a typical pioneer species within its native range.
HabitatIt grows in fringing and savannah forest as well as submontane forest. It grows best in a sunny position. Succeeds in a range of different soil types, including heavy, acidic clays, so long as they are well drained.
WoodThe wood is soft, easy to manufacture, it has an exceptional durability and is fairly resistant to termites. It is held to be an excellent timber for interior carpentry and cabinetry. It is also used for paddles on river craft, building poles, spoons, tool handles and knife sheaths.
The wood is also used for fuel and produces a good charcoal.
NTFPsThe tree is considered to be an effective treatment for skin affections, sores and itch. The leaves and bark are pounded up with citron juice to a paste, and the liquid is expressed for use as a lotion, while the residual lees may be used with vigorous rubbing. In the case of sores, the lees are applied as a wet dressing under a bandage.
ServicesIt is usually an evergreen shrub or small tree with a narrow, irregular crown. The tree is also useful for erosion control, shade and shelter.
Other informationIt provides mulch, which enhances soil-moisture retention and increases organic matter.