Herbs & Plants

Leplaea cedrata

Botanical Name: Leplaea cedrata
Family: Meliaceae
Subfamily: Melioideae
Tribe: Guareeae
Genus: Leplaea
Species: Leplaea cedrata

Synonyms: Guarea alatipetiolata De Wild. Guarea cedrata (A.Chev.) Pellegr. Khaya canaliculata De Wild. Trichil

Common Names: Light bossé or Scented guarea

Habitat: : Leplaea cedrata is native to Tropical Africa – Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Uganda. It is threatened by habitat loss.. It grows in the lowland rain-forest to semi-deciduous forest. A canopy and sub-canopy tree of evergreen and semi-deciduous forests, occurring at elevations ranging from sea-level to 1,300 metres.

Leplaea cedrata is an Evergreen, large tree up to 45(–55) m tall; bole branchless for up to 26 (–41) m, usually straight and cylindrical, sometimes fluted, up to 150(–200) cm in diameter, sometimes with spreading, blunt buttresses up to 3 m high. The plant is not self-fertile. The bark surface is greyish to yellowish brown and smooth but exfoliating in small circular scales leaving concentric rings of markings (mussel shell pattern), inner bark pinkish or reddish pale brown, fibrous, with cedar-like smell.
Heartwood initially a pale pinkish brown, darkening with age to a more golden to medium brown. Pale yellowish sapwood is well defined. Can be highly figured, with grain patterns such as pommele being sought after in veneer form. Grain is irregular, wavy or interlocked, slightly moiré. Texture is medium to fine, with a good natural luster. The wood has a cedar-like smell when fresh. It may have a gummy exudate.


ALeplaea cedrata is a plant of the moister, lowland tropics up to elevations of 1,100 metres. It is found in regions with more than 1,600 mm annual rainfall and attains its highest density in regions with 2,000 mm annual rainfall. Prefers a well-drained soil, tolerating infertile soils. The tree is classified as a shade-bearer. Seedlings are most common in the shade, although they are occasionally found in full sunlight. They are often even common in deep shade, where they can survive for a long time. All sizes of seedlings and saplings are less abundant in forest affected by recent logging, in comparison with undisturbed, not too dense forest. However, for further development, some opening of the forest canopy seems essential. Initial growth of seedlings is slow, less than 30 cm after 1 year. They show their best growth at 10% of full sunlight. If they are exposed to more sunlight after 1 year, growth may speed up, reaching annual growth rates of up to 1 metre in height in plots managed by the tropical shelterwood system. In Guinea trees planted in the understorey showed a mortality of about 50% and reached a mean height of 2.5 – 3 metres at 6 years of age, for those planted in forest paths the mortality was 25 – 30% but the height only 1.2 metres, and all seedlings planted in full sun died within 2 years. It is recommended to start thinning the upper storey of the forest 4 years after planting so that the saplings receive progressively more light. Planted trees in Ghana reached a height of up to 15 metres and 19 cm in bole diameter in 14 years. Under natural conditions in Cote d’Ivoire an average annual diameter increment of 2.9 mm was recorded, and in Ghana it was 3.2 – 5.5 mm. In Nigeria it has been estimated that it takes more than 170 years for the trees to reach 100 cm in bole diameter. Trees can flower and produce fruit twice a year, or even all year round in some areas. The ripe fruits often develop at the beginning of the dry season. A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required.

Medicinal Uses:
The bark is used in traditional medicine. Bark decoctions or macerations are taken to treat stomach-ache, food poisoning and gonorrhoea, and used as a wash against kidney pain, bleeding after childbirth, rheumatism and leprosy. An essential oil and limonoids, including dregeanin, have been isolated from the bark.

Other Uses:
Agroforestry Uses: The trees are sometimes left after forest clearing to serve as shade trees for coffee and cocoa plantations. Other Uses The bark contains an essential oil, which consists exclusively of sesquiterpenes, with as major constituents ß -caryophyllene (45%) and globulol (11%). The heartwood is pale pinkish brown when freshly cut, darkening to reddish brown upon exposure. It is usually distinctly demarcated from the yellowish white, 5 – 10 cm wide sapwood. The grain is straight or interlocked, texture fine to moderately coarse. The wood sometimes shows a mottled or curly figure, and has a cedar-like smell when fresh. It may have a gummy exudate. The wood is medium-weight, moderately durable and only occasionally attacked by termites and pinhole borers. It is usually fairly easy to saw and work, with moderate blunting effects on cutting edges because the wood contains some silica (up to 1.0%). It can be finished to a smooth surface, but there may be a slight tendency to pick up in planing quarter-sawn material and gum may appear at the surfaces. The wood holds nails and screws well, but may split upon nailing. It glues satisfactorily except when gum is present; the use of a filler is recommended for staining and polishing. The bending properties are usually satisfactory. The heartwood is strongly resistant to impregnation, the sapwood permeable to moderately resistant. The wood is valued for house building, flooring, joinery, interior trim, panelling, window frames, doors, ship building, vehicle bodies, furniture, cabinet work, decorative boxes, crates, veneer and plywood. It is suitable for musical instruments, toys, novelties, carving and turnery, but gum exudation may have adverse effects on the products. Good-quality veneer can be produced by both rotary cutting and slicing, the wood is also suitable for pulping to make paper. Traditionally, the wood is used for dug-out canoes. The wood is also used as fuel wood and for charcoal production

Known Hazards : The wood dust may cause irritation to the skin. The bark is used locally as a fish poison.

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.


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