Warburgia stuhlmannii

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Local names:
Swahili (mkarambaki,mkaa)

Warburgia stuhlmannii is a small evergreen tree 12-24 m high, with a bole to 8 m, girth 1.5 m. Bark yellow to grey-black, splitting into irregular flakes. Slash blood-red turning brown. 

Leaves very glossy above, elliptic, base cuneate, apex acute (and often somewhat asymmetrical), 3-9.5 by 1.5-3.5 cm; petiole 3-5 mm.

Flowers green, or yellow-green, subtended by 3 bracts, 5-6 mm long. 

Fruit a berry, green, with a waxy bloom, globose, 12-15 mm across, containing 2 or more seed with an oily endosperm.

The genus is named after Dr Otto Warburg (1859-1938), born in Hamburg, lecturer in botany at the University of Berlin and author of numerous botanical papers.


This rare tree is found in coastal forest and wooded grassland.

Native range
Kenya, Tanzania

This rare tree is found in coastal forest and wooded grassland.

 Bark, leaves and fruit are hot to the taste. The bark is traditionally used as a spice.

Timber: Sapwood white, very wide. Heartwood yellowish-green, darkening to olive green, lustrous, oily, hard and heavy, with fine texture and straight grain, handsomely figured with broad dark bands. The wood contains an aromatic oil with a sweet scent of sandalwood and lemon. Saws easily and machines to an excellent finish. Difficult to nail and liable to split. Used for cabinet making, turnery and furniture. 

Lipids: Oil has been extracted from the wood for use in perfumes.

Medicine: Bark used in a remedy for toothache and rheumatism. Pulverized bark mixed with honey is used as a cough medicine. Exudate from the bark is mixed with egg, boiled and drunk for constipation.