Ekki (Lophira alata) is one of the hardest and heaviest tropical hardwoods. Originating from West Africa, and found in countries such as: Cameroon, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Zambia.

Ekki recognised as a heavy duty construction timber. Items such as ships’ keels, marine posts, and in the construction of quays and pontoons. From the 16thC onwards there are documents showing the importation of Ekki into Britain from Ghana. It was imported from West Africa into Europe in large quantities after the First World War.

The trade name is Ekki or Azobe as well as being the vernacular name of this tree in Nigeria. Other names are Red Ironwood or Ironpost which accurately reflects the hardness of the timber!

The tree thrives in moist conditions, most especially along the banks of rivers. It also has a reputation as a pioneering species, flourishing in high rainfall areas. A very tall, deciduous tree up to 60m high or 200ft with a trunk diameter of about 1.8m or 6ft which would be a tree of over 150 years old. Ekki has been a highly exploited timber and is now classified as vulnerable in Cameroon.

Ekki Characteristics

The colour of the heart-wood is typically dark brown. It has dark reddish brown and purple-brown tones with a characteristic white or yellow flecked streaking. This looks incredibly like paint splashes. These are mineral deposits which are conspicuous against the dark colour of the wood. The sapwood is paler.

Ekki has a very flat finish with little natural lustre. Once sanded the colour will darken over time. It is less stable in movement than some timbers, reacting to atmospheric changes. This species is a hard, dense timber and is therefore recommended.

If you are interested in purchasing you will find this wood type here if we have it in stock.


Ekki close-up