Afzelia (Afzelia africana)
Afzelia Africana is from the family group Afzelia spp. Also known by the trade names of Doussie, Apa, Pau Conta or Lingu. The vernacular names for it are Lucky Bean Tree, African Mahogany and African Oak. This tree comes from an area covering West, Central and East Africa i.e. Cameroon, Central African Republic, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda.
The colour is a reddish pink, sometimes ginger with golden yellow and warm brown tones. The colour will darken a little with age. It has a pretty grain running through the heart-wood which is a medium to coarse texture and naturally lustrous. Occasional mineral deposits show on the surface although they are very subtle. These deposits take the form of tiny white or yellow flecks. The sapwood is a paler straw colour. It has no characteristic odour. A dense timber which polishes up to a fine surface when sanded.
This species has excellent stability. There is little susceptibility to variations in humidity i.e. small movement in service. So Afzelia species are generally suitable for under-floor heating systems.
It is an unusual, very attractive and useful timber, comparable to Mahogany and Teak for its uses, stability and durability. Used for docks, boat-building, exterior mill-work and construction. As well as for parquet floors, furniture, cabinetry, veneer, and interior fittings. Afzelia has good resistance to many chemical products and is used for vats and precision instruments due to the great dimensional stability.
This species is widely traded on international markets but has been placed on the IUCN Red List categorised as ‘vulnerable to endangered’. This is due to a population reduction of at least 20% to 50% in the past three generations, caused by a decline in its natural range, as well as to exploitation.