Genus Baphia refers to using the heartwood of the plant to extract a red dye. Species nitida refers to the wood having a polished surface. Ethnobotanical Uses . Widespread in west Africa, there are no major threats to this species at present. However, it is largely utilized locally throughout its range as a source of building. Kingdom: Plantae. Phylum/Division: Magnoliophyta. Class: Eudicots. Order: Fabales. Family: Fabaceae. Genus: Baphia. Species: B. nitida. Common Names .

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You can translate the content of this page by selecting a language in the select box. In some areas it is associated with superstitions; in southeast Nigeria the Ijo people carve fetish objects from it to protect an area from evil spirits. The roots are crushed, mixed with water, and skins are steeped in the dye bath, taking up the red dye within about one day.

The wood is the original camwood of commerce, now known as African sandlewood.

Email this to a friend Print Share on facebook Tweet this. Elsewhere in Nigeria, the Tiv people rub it inside a gourd as an attractant when they want to catch a swarm of bees to set up a beehive. It is often cultivated near villages, formerly as a dyewood especially in Sierra Leone and Liberia, now more often as an ornamental shade tree or as fence and hedge. For dyeing purposes, the sapwood is removed from the trunk and the heartwood is sawn or cut into parts 30—50 cm long and dried.

This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. In the Colour Index the number of the dye is and it is classified as Natural Red 22, together with other redwoods. As body paint it is considered to have magic powers: Le monde des teintures naturelles. Description This is a fast-growing smallish tree that can be as tall as 5 m. Revised structures of santalin and santarubin. Showing 0 of 0 comments.

It is also important throughout the region as a cosmetic dye to make hair dye and body paint, both for ritual use in ceremonies and for beautification. Baphia nitida often grows as an understorey tree in wetter parts of coastal regions, in rainforest, in secondary forest and on abandoned farmland, from sea-level up to m altitude. The leaves are used as fodder and in southern Ghana Baphia nitida is recommended for propagation in livestock rearing areas because of its good palatability, continuous availability and high protein content.


It was formerly exported to Europe for turnery and cabinetry. Baphia nitida wood is used for house posts, rafters, naves of wheels and utensils such as walking sticks, mortars, pestles, tool-handles and farm implements. Because the dye does not dissolve well in water the wood is boiled for 1.

In small quantities, it was an ingredient of recipes for bronze-green colours and was used as ground dye followed by a logwood Haematoxylum campechianum L. Powdered heartwood can be made into ointment with shea butter for sprains, swollen joints, and rheumatic pains. By soaking the dried and ground roots in water a red liquid is obtained, which is used for painting furniture[ ].

In Nigeria, Tiv people colour the inside of a gourd prepared as a beehive with the red dye to attract a swarm to settle there and Yoruba honey-hunters rub their body with the dye paste to prevent bee-stings[ ]. The twigs are used as chewing sticks[ ]. BoxAH Wageningen, Netherlands. Fruits are straight pods, cm long and mm wide, sharply pointed at both ends and with brown, flat seeds. Combined with Cissus quadrangularis, it is used to treat bone fractures[ ].

African whitewood Triplochiton scleroxylon The African whitewood Triplochiton scleroxylonknown as arere in Yoruba and obeche in Bini, is a large fast-growing tree, reaching 65 m ftusually with a straight trunk and buttresses up to about 8 m 26 ft high.

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Externally it is applied, together with Cissus quadrangularis L. When freshly cut the sapwood is yellowish white, emitting an unpleasant smell, scarcely darkening when dry. In southern Benin and south-western Nigeria, Yoruba ceremonial masks are painted dark red with a decoction of the wood. Prefers a position in full sun, tolerating light shade[ ]. The seeds are edible. Organic and Bio-organic Chemistry 2: Baphia angolensis sensu Lester-Garland Baphia barombiensis Taub. Citation in scholarly articles.


It carves and turns well and planes smoothly. Email us at dbsthh nus.

The dark red wood is extremely hard and heavy and is traditionally used to make drumsticks, mortars and pestles and the spokes of state umbrellas to keep sun and rain from dignitaries.

Common Name Camwood, Baphia Family Fabaceae USDA hardiness Known Hazards None known Habitats An understorey tree in wetter parts of the coastal regions, in rainforest, in secondary forest and on abandoned farmland, from sea-level up to metres[ ]. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

These are followed by pointed pods, 7cm 3 ins long, which ripen in October and split open to release one or two dark brown, shiny seeds. The dye is soluble in alkali and alcohol, much less so in water.

In northern Namibia the roots of Baphia massaiensis Taub. The wood is extremely hard, heavy and durable, close-grained and of fine texture. There are citation in web searches related to Baphia nitida Lodd.

See images of our work on Flickr. Baphia nitida is an evergreen Tree growing to 10 m 32ft by 10 m 32ft. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

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Flowers in axillary fascicles, 1—5-flowered, bisexual, papilionaceous; pedicel slender, 3—17 mm long; calyx spathaceous, 8—10 mm long, glabrous but with a tuft of brown hairs at apex; corolla with standard suborbicular, 1—2 cm in diameter, white with a yellow centre, wings and keel white with a pocket near the base; stamens 10, filaments unequal, free, up to 7 mm long; ovary superior, sessile, glabrous, sometimes with a row of silvery hairs along the dorsal margin, 1-celled, style curved, filiform, stigma small.

The wood is used for house posts, rafters, naves of wheels and utensils such as walking sticks, mortars, pestles, tool-handles and farm implements.

In Nigeria and Ghana the pounded dried root, mixed with water and oil, is applied to a ringworm-like fungus attacking the feet. Finely ground root bark, mixed with honey, nitiida taken against asthma.