Afzelia rhomboidea

Afzelia is a genus in the subfamily of carob plants ( Caesalpinioideae ) within the legume family ( Fabaceae ). The approximately 14 species are native to tropical Asia and Africa.


Afzelia species grow as trees. The alternate, stalked leaves are pinnate paired with a few pairs of leaflets. The tiny stipules fall off early.

The terminal, paniculate inflorescences contain more or less durable, slightly thick, ovate, uncolored support and cover sheets. The stalked flowers are hermaphrodite double perianth. The four leathery sepals are fused Roehrig and end in about four unequal calyx lobes. It's just a petal recognizable, which is almost circular to kidney-shaped, nailed; the other petals are more than rudimentary. There are seven to eight stamens present. The long stamens at their bases partly covered or free. The anthers are ovate or oblong. The two staminodes are very small. The only ovary contains few to many ovules. The thin style ends in an almost capitate, small scar.

The slightly flattened legume is more or less oblong, woody, thick, zweifächerig, and septate between the seeds. The ovoid to elongated seeds have two fleshy, more or less flat cotyledons ( cotyledons ) and a straight embryo, but no endosperm.


The Doussié, precious cherry or brilliant cherry wood called the West African species is very resistant to fungi.

The high density due to good thermal conductivity, which makes this timber particularly suitable as a coating for the floors. Except as parquet it is used in stairs, doors and windows, with tables and boat building. The wood is first yellowish to light brown color and turns later reddish- brown after. It must be dried slowly, otherwise it warps. How teak and merbau it is resistant to fungi and insects, and therefore requires no special protection.

The hardness is much higher than of teak or oak. The most experienced cycling track builders in the world, the architectural firm Schürmann, Afzelia use because of the low frictional resistance and the resistance as track surface for open cycle tracks.

Very similar in features, color and texture is the biologically related Merbau.


The genus belongs to the tribe Afzelia Detarieae in the subfamily Caesalpinioideae within the Fabaceae family. The first publication of Afzelia took place in 1798 by James Edward Smith ( botanist ) in Transactions of the Linnean Society of London, 4, pp. 221 A synonym for Afzelia Smith is Pahudia Miquel.

The genus name honors the Afzelia Swedish botanist Adam Afzelius.

There are about 14 species of Afzelia:

  • Afzelia africana: The wood is called lingue / papao.
  • Afzelia bella
  • Afzelia bipindensis: The wood is called Doussié.
  • Afzelia bracteata
  • Afzelia pachyloba: The wood is called Apa.
  • Afzelia palembanica
  • Afzelia peturei
  • Afzelia quanzensis: The wood is called Chanfuta / pod mahogany.
  • Afzelia xylocarpa (short ) Craib: The wood is called Makamong. The home is China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.


  • Dezhao Chen, Dianxiang Zhang, Ding Hou: Afzelia in the Flora of China, Volume 10, 2010, page 24: Online. (Section Description, distribution and systematics)