Markhamia lutea

Invasive species Disclaimer

In view of the fact that some tree species are invasive, the world Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) has put in place a policy document on Invasive Alien Species, currently under draft available at Here.

For more information on this subject, please refer to
100 of the World's worst Invasive and Alien Species.

Species Index    A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Multiple Criteria Search

Abelmoschus moschatus
Acacia aneura
Acacia angustissima
Acacia aulacocarpa
Acacia auriculiformis
Acacia catechu
Acacia cincinnata
Acacia crassicarpa
Acacia elatior
Acacia erioloba
Acacia etbaica
Acacia ferruginea
Acacia glauca
Acacia holosericea
Acacia karroo*
Acacia koa
Acacia laeta
Acacia lahai
Acacia leptocarpa
Acacia leucophloea
Acacia mangium
Acacia mearnsii*
Acacia melanoxylon
Acacia mellifera
Acacia nilotica subsp nilotica
Acacia pachycarpa
Acacia pennatula
Acacia polyacantha ssp. polyacantha
Acacia saligna
Acacia senegal
Acacia seyal
Acacia sieberiana
Acacia tortilis
Acacia xanthophloea
Acrocarpus fraxinifolius
Adansonia digitata
Adenanthera pavonina
Aegle marmelos
Afzelia africana
Afzelia quanzensis
Agathis macrophylla
Agathis philippinensis
Ailanthus altissima
Ailanthus excelsa
Ailanthus triphysa
Albizia adianthifolia
Albizia amara
Albizia anthelmintica
Albizia chinensis
Albizia coriaria
Albizia ferruginea
Albizia gummifera
Albizia julibrissin
Albizia lebbeck
Albizia odoratissima
Albizia procera
Albizia saman
Albizia versicolor
Albizia zygia
Aleurites moluccana
Allanblackia floribunda
Allanblackia stuhlmannii
Allanblackia ulugurensis
Alnus acuminata
Alnus cordata
Alnus japonica
Alnus nepalensis
Alnus rubra
Alphitonia zizyphoides
Alstonia boonei
Alstonia congensis
Alstonia scholaris
Altingia excelsa
Anacardium occidentale
Andira inermis
Annona cherimola
Annona muricata
Annona reticulata
Annona senegalensis
Annona squamosa
Anogeissus latifolia
Anthocephalus cadamba
Antiaris toxicaria
Antidesma bunius
Araucaria bidwillii
Araucaria cunninghamii
Arbutus unedo
Areca catechu
Arenga pinnata
Argania spinosa
Artemisia annua
Artocarpus altilis
Artocarpus camansi
Artocarpus heterophyllus
Artocarpus integer
Artocarpus lakoocha
Artocarpus mariannensis
Asimina triloba
Ateleia herbert-smithii
Aucomea klaineana
Averrhoa bilimbi
Averrhoa carambola
Azadirachta excelsa
Azadirachta indica
Azanza garckeana
Related Links
Two-year-old trees in provenance trial in Malava, Kenya.
© Anthony Simons
Markhamia lutea line planting with beans at Kifu
© Thomas Raussen
Amenity use: M. lutea at the ICRAF Hq compound (Kenya). Note the very showy flowers.
© AFT team
Amenity use: M. lutea in an office compound (Kenya), 12 years old and 8 m high. Note the very dense shade produced.
© E. Chagala
Agroforestry use: M. lutea in an agroforestry system in Muguga (Kenya), 1 year old and 3 m high. Note the dense shade and profuse coppicing.
© E. Chagala
Agroforestry use: M. lutea in an agroforestry system, 5 years old and 6 m high. Note the low crop production and profuse coppicing (Bondo, Kenya).
© E. Chagala

Local names:
Amharic (botoro), English (markhamia), Luganda (nsambya,lusambya), Somali (sogdu), Swahili (mtalawanda,mgambo), Trade name (markhamia)

Markhamia lutea is an upright evergreen tree 10-15 m high, with a narrow, irregular crown and long taproot. Bark light brown with fine vertical fissures.

Leaves compound, often in bunches, thin and wavy, each leaflet up to 10 cm, wider at the tip, often with round outgrowths at the base.

Flower buds yellow-green and furry, splitting down 1 side as flower emerges. Flowers bright yellow, in showy terminal clusters, each trumpet shaped, to 6 cm long, with 5 frilly lobes, the throat striped with orange-red.

Fruit very long, thin, brown capsules, to 75 cm in length, hanging in clusters and tending to spiral, splitting on the tree to release abundant seed with transparent wings, 2.5 cm long and yellow-whitish when mature.

The genus was named after Sir Clement Markham, who introduced the famous quinine-yielding cinchona into India. The specific name, ‘lutea’, is Latin for golden-yellow.


M. lutea is common in the lake basins and highland areas of eastern Africa. The tree is drought resistant but cannot withstand waterlogging.

Native range
Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda

Tree management

M. lutea grows fast in good forest soil, and plants can attain growth rates of more than 2 m/year. They should be planted in a deep hole, as the roots are long. Trees can be pruned and pollarded to reduce shading and are coppiced when they are about 1.7 m in height. Pods should be collected from the trees after they turn grey.

Seed storage behaviour is orthodox, but seeds are better sown fresh. After extraction, seeds can be dried in the sun to 5-10% mc. Mature and properly dried seeds can be stored in hermetic storage at 3 deg. C for several years with no loss in viability. On average, there are about 75 000 seeds/kg.

M. lutea is common in the lake basins and highland areas of eastern Africa. The tree is drought resistant but cannot withstand waterlogging.

Natural regeneration is mainly by seed. Pretreatment is not necessary, and under ideal conditions, seeds germinate within 20-30 days, with an expected rate of 30-60%. Trees may also be propagated by seedling or wildings.

Erosion control: Recommended for use in soil-conservation.

Apiculture: M. lutea provides good bee forage.

Trees are a source of firewood and produce good charcoal. Fuelwood is used to cure tobacco in western Kenya.

Timber: The wood, which is fairly resistant to termites, is used for furniture, poles, posts, tool handles and boat building.

Shade or shelter: The species provides useful shade and acts as a windbreak.

Medicine: Leaves are known to have medicinal value.

Ornamental: Attractive and worth planting as a screen or background tree for gardens and on golf courses.

M. lutea poles can be used as props to support banana trees.

Soil improver: It provides mulch, which enhances soil-moisture retention and increases organic matter.