Indigenous African wattle tree
Scientific name: Peltophorum africanum;
English Name: Weeping wattle, African wattle
Local Name: Mwikalankanga (B, K)
Peltophorum africanum is a fast-growing, frost- and drought-resistant tree commonly occurring at medium to low altitudes, in wooded grassland and along marginal valleys. It is resistant to a fair amount of drought.
The bark and roots are commonly used in traditional medicine. Bark is chewed to relieve colic; an infusion, sometimes with leaves, is taken orally to relieve a variety of stomach disorders such as diarrhoea and dysentery and to get rid of intestinal parasites. A powder is made using roots that is applied to wounds to hasten healing, and an extraction is taken by mouth or gargled to treat sores in the throat. The roots are also boiled in water and used as an enema. Leaves are boiled and the steam directed into the mouth to relieve toothache.
Although its size limits its use, Peltophorum africanum has good-quality timber. It is used mainly to produce tool handles, carvings and similar small items but is sometimes used for furniture and wagons. It is a relatively good source of fuelwood. Peltophorum africanum is an excellent garden shade tree beautiful flowering and has all the requirements of a perfect avenue tree.
An important tree for beekeepers, as it is a good source of nectar and pollen. Young leaves, and especially pods are eaten by cattle and goats.
Planting and tree management
Peltophorum africanum fairly fast growing tree, achieving 1-1.5m/year and needs protection for the first two to three years. The root system is not aggressive.
A plant of the moist lowland tropics and subtropics, where it is found at elevations up to 1,000 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 20 - 32°c, but can tolerate 16 - 38°c.
When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -4°c, but young growth can be severely damaged at -1°c. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,000 - 2,500mm, but tolerates 700 - 3,000mm
Grows best in a sunny position. Prefers a well-drained, sandy to loamy soil of moderate fertility.