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Pericopsis angolensis (Muwanga)

Known locally as Muwanga.


From the Useful Tropical Plants Database

Pericopsis angolensis is a deciduous shrub or tree with a rounded crown; it usually grows from 10 – 20 metres tall, but sometimes barely exceeds 3 metres, whilst exceptional specimens up to 27 metres have also been recorded. The bole is often curved or twisted, it can be free of branches for up to 7.5 metres, and up to 100cm in diameter.

Plants respond well to coppicing, although they often produce a large number of small shoots.

The trees are fire resistant.

This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria; these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.

The wood is heavy, very hard, very durable and resistant to fungi, termites and all wood borers including marine borers.

It has been reported that the occurrence of Pericopsis angolensis trees in Malawi is an indication of fairly fertile soil.


Pertinent features

  • indigenous
  • used medicinally
  • nitrogen fixing
  • very hard, durable and strong wood
  • trees are fire resistant