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1) A soft, lightweight wood obtained from the Antiaris africana tree native to the rain forests of western Africa. Antiaris is a tall, large tree that produces soft, lightweight timber with no visible growth rings. The wood has a medium to coarse texture with an uneven, roey grain and ribbonlike figuring. It can range in color from white to pale yellow to light gray. Antiaris is primarily used locally for plywood, furniture, interior finish, doors, and veneer. In Africa, the soft, lightweight wood was commonly used for dug-out canoes.

2) The poisonous latex obtained from the upas tree, Antiaris toxicaria, native to Indonesia. Antiaris sap was used on the tips of blow gun darts. The lethal poison is soluble in acetone and chloroform, but insoluble in water.

Synonyms and Related Terms

1: chenchen (It., Esp.); kyenkyen; egyan; ejan (Ghana); ako (Fr., Esp.); Bonkonko (Deut.); akede; boufou; fou (Ivory coast); bouee; kalambana (Fr. Sudan); kan; nguetyana (Senegal); bovii; kalulu (Sierra Leone); anitaris; oro; ogiovu; ovu; rokobokum (Nigeria); aloa; diolosso (Cameroons); andoum (Gabon)

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Freshly cut wood has an unpleasant odor.
  • Color: yellow.
  • Rings: obscure.
  • Pores: coarse, diffuse.
  • Grain: invisible.
  • Rays: obscure.
  • Lightweight; soft.
Density 23-27 ppcf
Molecular Weight Spec. grav.=0.36-0.54

Resources and Citations

  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983
  • F. H. Titmuss, Commercial Timbers of the World, The Technical Press Ltd., London, 1965
  • Kribs, Commercial Foreign woods on the American market
  • H.L.Edlin, What Wood is That?, Viking Press, New York, 1969