Terminalia superba
Family: Combretaceae


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Other Common Names: Ofram (Ghana), Frake (Ivory Coast), Afara (Nigeria), Akom (Cameroon), Limba (Zaire, Angola).  "Korina" a trade name in the United States.


Distribution: Widely distributed from Sierra Leone to Angola and Zaire; occurs in rain and savanna forests.  A favored plantation species in West Africa.


The Tree: Reaches a height of 150 ft; boles straight and clear to 90 ft; trunk diameters 4 to 8 ft above buttresses.  Brittleheart present in some logs.


The Wood:

General Characteristics: Heartwood yellow brown, sometimes with nearly black markings producing an attractive figure; sapwood not distinct from heartwood.  Texture moderately coarse; grain straight to irregular or interlocked; slightly lustrous; mild odor.  Dark colored figured wood is marketed separately as Dark Afara or Dark Limba.  Splinters may cause skin inflammation.


Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) 0.45; air-dry density 34 pcf.


Mechanical Properties: (2-cm standard)


Moisture content   Bending strength   Modulus of elasticity   Maximum crushing strength

            (%)                  (Psi)                            (1,000 psi)                   (Psi)

12%(9)                        12,100                         1,530                           5,490


12%(29)                      13,200                         1,430                           6,900


Amsler toughness 127 in.-lb at 12% moisture content (2-cm specimen).


Drying and Shrinkage: Seasons rapidly with little or no checking and warp. Kiln schedule T10-D5S is suggested for 4/4 stock and T8-D4S for 8/4. Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 4.5%; tangential 6.2%; volumetric 10.8%. Movement in service is rated as small.


Working Properties: Saws easily, works well with hand and machine tools, good veneering properties, good gluing and nailing characteristics, takes a good finish.


Durability: Heartwood is nondurable, not resistant to termites, liable to severe ambrosia beetle and powder-post beetle attack.


Preservation: Heartwood extremely resistant to preservative treatments; sapwood moderately so.


Uses:  Plywood, furniture, interior joinery, sliced for decorative veneers.


Additional Reading: (3), (9), (29)


3. Bolza, E., and W. G. Keating.  1972.  African timbers-the properties, uses, and  characteristics of 700   species.  CSIRO.  Div.  of Build.  Res., Melbourne, Australia.

9. Farmer, R. H. 1972.  Handbook of hardwoods.  H. M. Stationery Office.  London.

29.France: Bois For.  Trop.  1974.  Limba-Frake (Terminalia superba).  Bois For.Trop.  158:33-49.


From: Chudnoff, Martin. 1984. Tropical Timbers of the World. USDA Forest Service. Ag. Handbook No. 607.