USDA Forest Service
Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53705-2398
Wood Technical Fact Sheet
Other Common Names: Poe (Ivory Coast), Itako, Otingbo (Nigeria).
Distribution: From Sierra Leone to the Congo region; found in rain forests, often as a dominant, and in transitional formations.
The Tree: Up to 100 ft in height; bole straight and slender, without buttresses; trunk diameter up to 1.5 ft.
General Characteristics: Heartwood pink or pale brown with purplish streaks; sapwood wide, yellowish and sharply defined. Texture fine; grain fairly straight; lustrous has an unpleasant smell when freshly cut; rather oily to touch.
Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) 0.80; air-dry density 61 pcf.
Mechanical Properties: (2-cm standard)
Moisture content Bending strength Modulus of elasticity Maximum crushing strength
(%) (Psi) (1,000 psi) (Psi)
12% (46) 28,200 2,370 13,100
Amsler toughness 505 in.-lb at 12% moisture content (2-cm specimen).
Drying and Shrinkage: Difficult to season, liable to surface and end checking. No information on kiln schedules. Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 7.2%; tangential 10.2%; volumetric 15.0%.
Working Properties: Timber saws cleanly but is apt to spring and split, works well and takes a smooth finish, glues well, splits in nailing and requires preboring, can be sliced into veneers.
Durability: Heartwood is highly durable and is immune to termite and other insect attack.
Preservation: Heartwood extremely resistant to preservative treatments; sapwood fairly permeable.
Uses: Often used in the round as building poles and transmission poles (treated), striking tool handles, turnery, heavy-duty flooring. Oil from seeds is used for ointment and soap. Suggested as a substitute for European boxwood.
Additional Reading: (3), (46)