Lovoa swynnertonii

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

Local names:
English (brown mahogany), Luganda (nabugala)

Lovoa swynnertonii is an evergreen tree up to 50 m in height. Bole fluted or slightly buttressed at the base to a height of 2 m, long and straight, sometimes 30 m to first branch, slender, up to 2 m in diameter. Bark brown-grey to black, fairly smooth, flaking in round pieces 2-30 cm across.

Leaves up to 30 cm long, pubescent when young; leaflets usually 10-16, oblong-elliptic or lanceolate-elliptic, slightly falcate, up to 10 x 4 cm, apex shortly acuminate, base cuneate; lateral nerves in 16 closely spaced pairs; petiole flattened.

Inflorescence an axillary panicle up to 10 cm long; calyx 0.1 cm long, puberulous especially on the margins. Petals 0.25-0.3 cm long.

Capsule up to 5.5 x 2 cm; valves brownish black, with scattered, minute, white lenticels, separating first from the apex and remaining attached for some time before falling. 

Seeds, including wing, up to 4.5 x 1 cm.

The generic name Lovoa is after River Lovoi in Congo.


L. swynnertonii is commonly found in lowland and mid-altitude mixed rain forest between 180-1 525 m.

Native range
Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe

Tree management

The tree matures after 30 years.

The wind dispersed seeds are collected under mother trees. There are about 4 400 seeds/kg. Seeds require no pretreatment. Seeds should be stored in sealed containers in a cool place, addition of ash is recommended to reduce insect damage.

L. swynnertonii is commonly found in lowland and mid-altitude mixed rain forest between 180-1 525 m.

Brown mahogany is propagated mainly by seedlings and wildings.

Erosion control:  This species is important in water catchment area protection.

The tree provides fuelwood.

Timber:  The tree produces a beautiful dark brownish red timber, is cross-grained and difficult to work. The timber is generally marketed with L. trichiloides. In Zimbabawe it was formerly used for outdoor work.

Shade or shelter:  The brown mahogany provides cool shading.

Intercropping:  Because of the height of the tree, it  is very suitable for intercropping as  shade is cast over a large area and will not suppress the near crops or trees. It is therefore planted in pure stands or intercropped in banana, coffee and cacao plantations.