Tuesday 18 June
African walnut (Lovoa trichilioides)
African walnut fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
African walnut description
This tall African forest tree is an important source of timber. The straight trunk is covered with smooth dark bark that becomes rougher with age (3), and the first branches appear at a height of 15 to 20 metres (2). A cut into the trunk reveals red wood with white streaks and releases a sweet scent and sticky sap (2) (3). The leaves of the African walnut are slightly folded and comprise four to six smaller parts, or ‘leaflets’ (2) (3), and, depending on the time of year, the tree is also adorned with numerous, small greenish-white to white flowers that grow in large, loose clusters. Bunches of black woody, cigar-shaped fruit open to release four to eight winged-seeds (2).
- Also known as
- congowood, dibetou, tigerwood.
- Height: up to 45 m (2)
- Greenpeace Good Wood Guide:
- The establishment of forest by natural succession or by the planting of trees on land where they did not grow formerly.
- A plant that sheds its leaves at the end of the growing season.
- IUCN Red List (September, 2007)
- Jansen, J.W.A. (1971) Timber Trees of Liberia. University of Liberia, Monrovia.
- Hawthorne, W. and Jongkind, C. (2006) Woody Plants of Western African Forests. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey.
- Oldfield, S., Lusty, C. and MacKinven, A. (1998) The World List of Threatened Trees. World Conservation Press, Cambridge, UK.
- World Agroforestry Centre: Agroforestree Database (December, 2007)
- World Conservation Monitoring Centre. (2002) Contribution to an evaluation of tree species using the new CITES listing criteria. WCMC, Cambridge, UK.
- Greenpeace Good Wood Guide (December, 2007)
- Oldfield, S. (1988) Rare Tropical Timbers. World Conservation Union, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.
- UNEP-WCMC: Dja Faunal Reserve (December, 2007)
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
African walnut biology
Almost all year round, clusters of small, greenish-white flowers hang from the African walnut tree, with each tree bearing both male and female flowers (5). The seeds of the African walnut, contained within the woody, pod-like fruit, are dispersed by the wind, carried by the long wing at the base (3) (6). The length of time for which the seeds can successfully develop once dispersed is short, and the seedlings will only develop when there is a gap in the forest canopy to allow sufficient light to the new plant. The chance of a seed successfully germinating is also hindered by the high probability of it being eaten by a forest-dwelling animal (4) (6). If conditions are favourable and the seedling develops into a mature tree, it is predicted to take an incredible 106 years to reach a trunk diameter of around 2.7 metres (6).Top
African walnut range
Occurs in western Africa; from Sierra Leone, through Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Tanzania, to Angola (4).Top
African walnut habitatTop
African walnut status
Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List 2007 (1).Top
African walnut threats
The African walnut is classified as Vulnerable to extinction due to population declines caused by clearance of forests for agriculture, and harvesting of this species for its timber (1). The African walnut is exploited at high levels (4), and has many uses including fuelwood, ship building and in furniture and piano making (5). It is one of the two principal timber species in Congo (4), an area that is home to an astonishing number of animal and plant species dependent on the continued existence of the magnificent Congo Basin rainforests. Unfortunately, large areas of these forests have been allocated to commercial logging operations and illegal logging is also rampant in certain regions (7).Top
African walnut conservation
Several actions may aid the conservation of the African walnut, including the promotion of this species in afforestation programs in Uganda (5), and its inclusion in a list of 18 species in Ghana for which the export of logs is banned. While this is primarily to encourage national wood processing industries, it is also seen as a conservation measure (8). The African walnut also occurs in protected areas throughout its range, such as Dja Faunal Reserve, Cameroon (9). Whether these measures are sufficient to ensure the future of the great African walnut and the many species which depend on the ancient forests of Africa is not yet clear.Top
Find out more
For further information on which timber products to buy and which to avoid see:
AuthenticationThis information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact: email@example.comTop
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.