African greenheart

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A tough, resistant greenheart timber (Cyclicodiscus gaburensis ) often used by shipbuilders and for dock timbers. Also known as okan and dahoma, the dark, green trees can range in height from 5m to 50 m depending on available moisture. The African greenheart is being exported in increasing quantities to Europe and other destinations. The plant is also a popular traditional medicine, a source of fiber and a soap substitute. It is sometimes employed as a shade tree in plantations, often by being left as the forest around it is cleared.

Synonyms and Related Terms

okan; dahoma; Piptadena africana; Piptadeniastrum africanum


  • Stem bark is very toxic (used in arrow poisons, as an ordeal poison; a fish poison; and mixed with rice to poison mice)
  • Sawdust may irritate the skin and mucous membranes

Resources and Citations

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 377
  • Gordon Hanlon, contributed information, 1998