Khaya nyasica

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Local names:
Bemba (mushikishichulu,mululu), English (red mahogany,nyasaland mahogany,Mozambique mahogany,East African mahogany,African mahogany), Nyanja (mlulu,mbawa), Swahili (mkangazi), Tongan (mululu), Trade name (Uganda mahogany,red mahogany,munyama,African maho

Khaya nyasica is a large tree, sometimes exceeding 60 m in height. Bark grey to brown, mainly smooth but flaking off in characteristic scales. 

Leaves compound, paripinnate, large, 2-7 pairs of leaflets; leaflets oblong-elliptic, 17 x 7 cm, surface dark glossy green, paler green below; margin entire; petiolules and petioles.

Flowers white, up to 10 mm in diameter, sweetly scented, inconspicuous, produced in large, many-flowered, axillary, branched sprays or panicles. 

Fruit an ovoid woody capsule, 3-5 cm in diameter, creamy brown, splitting into 4-5 valves; seeds winged.

The specific epithet is after nyasaland (now Malawi) where this splendid tree was collected for scientific identification.

Ecology

East African mahogany prefers terraces and stable, gently sloping riverbeds in riparian forests; it also grows well on adjacent colluvial slopes at the margins of floodplains. Where sufficient moisture is available, the species is not limited by topographic position. It is frost sensitive and shares the dominant canopy position with Diospyros mespiliformis, Parinari excelsa and Syzygium cordatum. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, it grows in well-developed gallery forests with Chrysophyllum species.

Native range
Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia

Tree management

No guidelines exist for stocking in natural forest. Since natural East African mahogany is probably best managed in mixed stands, a few hundred seedlings/ha on the ground and a few 10s of saplings free to grow later should be satisfactory. Periodic weeding is necessary after planting, as it is sensitive to competition from weeds, grass and brush. It coppices poorly.

Seed capsules are clipped from trees when the capsules begin to split. The capsules are sun dried until they split and then shelled by hand. The seed is further dried and then stored in sealed containers in a refrigerator, because viability is lost quickly at ambient air temperatures. Seed storage behaviour is intermediate. Seeds store well in cool places. There are 2000-3800 seeds/kg.

East African mahogany prefers terraces and stable, gently sloping riverbeds in riparian forests; it also grows well on adjacent colluvial slopes at the margins of floodplains. Where sufficient moisture is available, the species is not limited by topographic position. It is frost sensitive and shares the dominant canopy position with Diospyros mespiliformis, Parinari excelsa and Syzygium cordatum. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, it grows in well-developed gallery forests with Chrysophyllum species.

K. senegalensis has been successfully planted as bare root and as stumps. Use of containerized seedlings yields better results. Germination of fresh seed can sometimes be nearly 100% and begins in about 3 weeks. Propagation by seedlings or wildings is also possible. Asexual reproduction techniques have not been developed.

Suitable for firewood.

Timber: Used for framing, panelling and veneer. Large logs are used to make dugout canoes. 

Shade or shelter: Casts a dense shade, hence suitable as a shade tree.

Medicine: Bark infusions containing a bitter substance are drunk to treat colds and oil from the seeds is rubbed into the hair to kill lice.

Ornamental: Used as an ornamental tree because of its dense canopy.