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H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Lophira alata Banks ex Gaertn.f. (Azobé, bongossi)

Nomenclature etc. OCHNACEAE. Syn.: L. procera A. Chev. Trade and local names: azobé (DE, FR, CI, GH, NG); bongossi (DE, CM, NG); ekki, eba (GB, NG); asso, edoum, ous (CI); hendui (LR), kaku (GH); akélé, bang, okoa (CM); akoga, akoura (GA); aya, bonkolé (BE, CD, CF); red ironwood (GB). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Tree. Geographic distribution: tropical Africa.

General. Heartwood basically brown red to brown (dark) brown to purple (dark), without streaks. Sapwood colour distinct from heartwood colour. Density 0.95–1.05–1.15 g/cm³. Transition zone between sapwood and heartwood; heavily interlocked grain.

Vessels. Wood diffuse-porous. Vessels in multiples, commonly short (2–3 vessels) radial rows. Average tangential vessel diameter 200–252–315 µm. Average number of vessels/mm² 1–4–7. Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) 2–4 µm. Vessel-ray pits with distinct borders, similar to intervessel pits. Helical thickenings absent. Other deposits in heartwood vessels present (predominantly light coloured, macroscopically distinct from the dark wood).

Tracheids and fibres. Fibres very thick-walled. Average fibre length 1700–2400–2900 µm. Fibre pits common in both radial and tangential walls, simple to minutely bordered. Fibres non-septate.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma banded and not banded (predominantly banded). Axial parenchyma paratracheal. Paratracheal axial parenchyma scanty. Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand (6–)8–10(–14).

Rays. Rays 8–11 per tangential mm, multiseriate (also if only few), 1–2–3 cells wide (uniseriates few). Rays composed of a single cell type (homocellular); homocellular ray cells procumbent.

Storied structures. Storied structure absent.

Secretory structures. Intercellular canals absent.

Mineral inclusions. Crystals present, prismatic, located in axial parenchyma cells. Crystal-containing axial parenchyma cells chambered and not chambered. Number of crystals per cell or chamber one. Silica not observed.

Illustrations. • Macro images. Lophira alata. Transverse. Radial. • Transverse section. Lophira alata. • Tangential section. Lophira alata. • Radial section. Lophira alata.


The interactive key allows access to the character list, illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting specified attributes, summaries of attributes within groups of taxa, and geographical distribution.

Cite this publication as: ‘Richter, H.G., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2000 onwards. Commercial timbers: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval. In English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. Version: 25th June 2009. http://delta-intkey.com’.

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