Friday, 6 May 2011

Baphia nitida

Baphia nitida, common name camwood, African sandalwood, originated from West Africa.  It is of subfamily Faboideae  of family Fabaceae ( legume family ). 

The genus name Baphia is from Greek word ‘baphe’ which means dye, of which the wood yields red dye.  Species name ‘nitida’  refer to its leaves which are shining. 

It is a shrubby tree capable to grow up to 5 meter under full sun.  Tolerate to shade.
Flower is white, with yellow center.  Fruit pod dehiscent, with 2 -3 seeds inside.

There are records of propagation via seeds.  But I seldom encounter any fruiting, eventhough yes, viable seeds. Thus never attempted propagation via seed germination.
However, propagation with air-layered is highly successful. 
B. nitida requires plenty of water to thrive.  It grows well on well-drained soil.  Growth is stunted under water-logged soils.

Its wood is commonly used to make red dye.  The dye is of brilliant colour, but not permanent. 
The wood is also used in making knife handles, violin bows, and personal items.
B. nitida is also use in landscaping, as boundary plant, sound barrier, and hedges.

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