Pterocarpus santalinoides

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Local names:
French (ouokisse), Hausa (gyadar kurmi,gunduru), Igbo (nturukpa), Yoruba (gbengbe)

Pterocarpus santalinoides is a tree 9-12 m tall, 1 m DBH, with low straggling branches. Bark thin and flaking in small patches, slash yellowish-white exuding drops of red gum.

Leaves compound, 5-9 leaflets ovate-elliptic, abruptly acuminate, rounded at the base or slightly cuneate, glabrous, glossy, rather coriaceous with about 8 pairs of prominent main lateral nerves looping away from the margin, leaf stalk slender, glabrous stalk 10-20 cm long, leaflet stalk stout 2-5 mm long.

Flowers orange-yellow, fragrant in axillary racemes and panicles, inflorescence branches finely hairy, individual flowers with short stalks. Calyx rather narrowly cup-shaped, petals densely hairy outside, about 7 mm long including the prominent triangular teeth, standard petal about 12 mm long and broad.

Fruit a light brown glabrous pod, 3.5-6 cm across including the soft, fleshy narrow wing which extends about three quarters way round the body.

Pterocarpus is based on the Greek words ‘pteran’ meaning a wing and, ‘karpos’ meaning’ fruit.  The specific epithet ‘santalinoides’ refers to its likeness to P. santalinus found in Asia.


P. santalinoides is a shade tolerant tree commonly found along riverine forests in Africa and tropical South America.

Native range
Brazil, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal

Tree management

Pollarding, coppicing and lopping are recommended management practices for P. santalinoides.

P. santalinoides is a shade tolerant tree commonly found along riverine forests in Africa and tropical South America.

Direct seeding, cuttings and rootstocks can be used to propagate P. santalinoides.

Erosion control:  An important species for soil conservation in water catchment areas.

  The leaves are eaten as a vegetable.

Livestock browse its young shoots and leaves.

Timber:  Wood white or yellow, not hard but termite-resistant.

Shade or shelter:  A good windbreak around settled areas and farms.

Tannin or dyestuff:  The bark contains tannins and dyes used for dyeing.

Medicine:  The tree bark is used as a stomach ache remedy.

Gum or resin:  Cuttings on the stem exude a red gum.

Nitrogen fixing:  P. santalinoides forms nodules with nitrogenase activity. The nodules are generally spherical but occasionally elongate.

Ornamental:  A beautiful tree with good gardening attributes its; showy flowers, beautiful foliage and form make it a suitable ornamental tree.

Poles from A. santalinoides are used for fencing.

Soil improver:  Leaf litter from P. santalinoides on decomposition slowly releases N and significantly increases soil exchangeable Ca and Mg in the soil.