Sunday 19 May
Bleedwood tree (Pterocarpus angolensis)
What’s the World’s Favourite Species?Find out here.
Bleedwood tree fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Bleedwood tree description
The tropical, deciduous bleedwood tree (Pterocarpus angolensis) is particularly beautiful when the small, sweetly-scented, orange-yellow flowers bloom in spring, and in autumn when the long, drooping leaves assume a dark yellow colour (3) (4). The bleedwood tree has a wide, flattened crown consisting of large leaves, 30 to 40 centimetres long and divided in a feathery manner. The trunk has handsome heartwood, varying in colour from light brown to red or coppery-brown (4), and bark that is dark, rough and cracked (3). The bleedwood tree’s seed pods are almost circular, with a hard centre covered in brown bristles, surrounded by a thin, creamy-brown wing (3). The pods can be up to ten centimetres in diameter and are borne in hanging clusters (4). The dark red, sticky sap from which the tree gets its name is used as a dye and has medicinal properties (3).
- Also known as
- kiaat, mukwa, Transvaal teak. Top
- A habitat consisting ofextensive grasslands with scattered trees and bushes, found in the east of the interior of South Africa.
- A plant that sheds its leaves at the end of the growing season.
- Deciduous forest
- Forest consisting mainly of deciduous trees, which shed their leaves at the end of the growing season.
- The beginning of growth, usually following a period of dormancy and in response to favourable conditions. For example, the sprouting of a seedling from a seed.
IUCN Red List (March, 2011)
- Loots, S. (2005) Red Data Book of Namibian Plants. SABONET, Pretoria and Windhoek.
- Palmer, E. (1977) A Field Guide to the Trees of Southern Africa. William Collins Sons and Co Ltd, Glasgow.
- Van Wyk, P. (1993) Southern African Trees: A Photographic Guide. New Holland Ltd, London.
- 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)
- Boaler, S.B. (1966) The Ecology of Pterocarpus angolensis D.C. in Tanzania. Overseas Research and Publication No. 12, Ministry of Overseas Development, London.
- Banda, T., Schwartz, M.W. and Caro, T. (2006) Effects of fire on germination of Pterocarpus angolensis. Forest Ecology and Management, 233(1): 116 - 120.
Tree Conservation Information Service (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.
Bleedwood tree biology
For around two weeks in spring, the bleedwood tree bears abundant pretty, little flowers, at the same time as the new leaf buds begin to shoot (3) (6). By winter, the long drooping leaves have gone and the bleedwood tree is adorned with hundreds of its distinctive pods (3) (7). The paper-like wing of the pod enables it, and the one or two seeds within, to be carried on the wind away from the parent tree (4) (7). The hard, spiny centre of the pod does not split open on its own and thus requires physical abrasion or other mechanisms for it to open and allow the seeds to germinate (7). Exposure to moderate levels of fire has also been shown to assist in the breaking down of the woody pod, and therefore facilitate germination (8). Bleedwood trees are reproductively mature and produce pods (fruit) at 15 to 20 years of age (5), and continue to produce fruit until they die (6).Top
Bleedwood tree range
The bleedwood tree occurs in woodland areas of east and southern Africa, in Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe (5)Top
Bleedwood tree habitat
The bleedwood tree occurs in dry, deciduous woodland and open bushveld, from 300 to 1,550 metres above sea level (2). It generally grows on well-drained terrain (4), most often in deep sandy soil (3).Top
Bleedwood tree status
The bleedwood tree is classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Bleedwood tree threats
In some areas, bleedwood trees are becoming less common as they are heavily exploited by local people and for export (5). The handsome heartwood is one of the best timbers in southern Africa (3), one of the most favoured furniture woods, and is used extensively by artists producing sculptures of wild animals for the curio trade (4). In many parts of its range there is no control over the rate of harvesting (5). In addition, clearing of land for agriculture and housing, expanding human populations, and heavy browsing of small bleedwood trees, all play a part in this species’ continuing decline (2). Populations may also be impacted by the death of large bleedwood trees from a fungal disease (5) (9).Top
Bleedwood tree conservation
Despite the threats this species faces, large stands of the bleedwood tree still occur, particularly in protected areas in South Africa, Botswana and Namibia, and there are attempts to use these remaining stands in a sustainable way (5).Top
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
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.