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Indigenous mubanga tree

Scientific name: Pericopsis angolensis, Kiaat group (536)

English Name: East African afrormosia

Local Name: Muwanga (N), Mubanga (B)

General information

Deciduous small to medium-sized tree up to 27m tall; trunk branchless for up to 7.5 m, often bent or twisted, up to 100cm in diameter; bark surface whitish grey to creamy brown, initially smooth but later irregularly fissured and flaking in thin pieces leaving red-brown patches, inner bark fibrous, yellowish, darkening rapidly on exposure; young twigs hairy.

Human benefits

The extremely durable wood is valued for hoes and utensils, and for rims and hubs of wagon wheels. At present 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, barrels, interior trim, joinery, furniture, cabinet work, handles, ladders, agricultural tools, sporting goods, musical instruments, toys, innovations, precision equipment, carvings and turnery. Pericopsis angolensis is one of the most important trees for poles used in local house construction. It is also used as firewood; it is difficult to light, but produces great heat and little ash. It makes excellent charcoal.

Health benefits

In traditional medicine the roots, bark and leaves are commonly used. Root decoctions are used to stimulate the blood circulation, to treat diarrhea, bronchial and chest complaints, nausea, and eye problems. They are considered tonic, abortifacient and aphrodisiac. Root powder is applied externally to relieve pain, and to treat tumours. Bark decoctions or soakings are taken to treat diarrhoea, sore throat and toothache, and as eye bath. Leaf juice is drunk as anthelmintic, whereas ground leaves are applied externally against headache or vapour of a leaf decoction is inhaled for this purpose.