Botanicalk Name: Daniellia oliveri
Species: D. oliveri
Synonyms: Paradaniellia oliveri Rolfe
Common Names: African Copaiba Balsam Tree
Habitat: Daniellia oliveri is native to Tropical Africa – Senegal to Cote D’Ivoire, east to Sudan and Uganda. It grows in wooded grassland with Butyrospermum paradoxum; gregarious in deciduous forests; wooded savannah to open forest on sandy-clayey humid soil; sandy soils on laterite; granitic rocks; on alluvial terrace of large marigot.
Daniellia oliveri is a medium-sized, deciduous tree growing to a height of 25 m (80 ft) or more. It has a sometimes twisted trunk up to 200 cm (80 in) in diameter, and a broad, flat-topped crown, and usually lacks branches on the lowest 9 m (30 ft) of trunk. The bark is greyish-white, smooth at first but later flaking off in patches. The alternate leaves are pinnate, up to 15 cm (6 in) long, with six to eleven pairs of leaflets and no terminal leaflet. The inflorescence is a compound raceme, the individual scented bisexual flowers having five, unequal creamy-white petals. These are followed by flattened oblong pods each containing one seed.
Daniellia oliveri occurs in tree savanna, bush savanna and in more open grassland, on any type of soil, but often on sandy soils, from sea-level up to 1500 m altitude. It is often one of the dominant trees in more humid savanna and may locally constitute nearly pure stands, e.g. in temporarily flooded localities in the Sahel region. It is sometimes found on termite mounds. It is resistant to fires if these are not too frequent and not too late in the dry season. Although many species within the family Fabaceae have a symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria, this species is said to be devoid of such a relationship and therefore does not fix atmospheric nitrogen.
Tender young leaves – cooked and eaten as a vegetable. The young leaves are only eaten in times of scarcity. The leaves are being used increasingly as a replacement for Vitex doniana leaves, which have become more difficult to obtain due to over-exploitation.
A decoction of the root is used in the treatment of gonorrhoea and skin diseases. The gum-resin, obtained from the wood, is used medicinally. The leaves are used in the treatment of dysmenorrhoea. The roots, leaves and the bark are used medicinally.
An ogea-gum-resin, obtained from the wood, is used for the manufacture of perfume, varnishes and furniture polish. Used locally as a gum. The heartwood is brown, sometimes with greenish-brown veins; it is not clearly demarcated from the 4 – 12cm wide band of sapwood. The texture is coarse; the grain straight or interlocked. The wood is light in weight, soft; it is not very durable, having a slight resistance to fungi and being susceptible to dry wood borers and termites. It seasons rapidly, with only a slight risk of checking or distortion; once dry it is moderately stable in service. The wood can be worked with ordinary tools, though they need to be kept very sharp because of the risk of fuzzy surfaces; nailing and screwing are good; gluing is correct, though assembling and gluing is sometimes difficult due to the warping of dried veneers. The wood is used for purposes such as boxes and crates, cheaper furniture, interior joinery, blockboard and veneer.
The wood is used for such purposes as flooring, joinery, furniture, boat-building, cattle troughs and drums, but the timber exudes too much gum for high quality joinery and carving. It is also used for firewood and for charcoal manufacture. Long strips of the bark are used to make beehives. The gum produces a fragrant smoke when burned and is used to make torches and incense, and to fumigate houses. The powdered gum is used to make cloth shiny and to create a varnish for furniture.
The young leaves of this tree are cooked and eaten in times of famine; they are also used for cattle fodder, and the leaves, bark, roots and gum are used in traditional medicine, both internally and externally, for a range of conditions. Lumps of gum can be chewed, used to fill teeth or made into beads, and the bark is used in brewing beer. The tree is a pioneer species and is used in forest regeneration, and the fragrant flowers are a rich source of nectar for bees.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.