Herbs & Plants

Milicia excelsa

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Botanical Name :Milicia excelsa
Family: Moraceae
Genus: Milicia
Species: M. excelsa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms: Chlorophora excelsa (Welw.) Benth., C. alba A. Chev., C. tenuifolia Engl., Maclura excelsa (Welw.) Bureau, Milicia africana Sim, Morus excelsa Welw.

Common Name:African Teak,ioko (Hausa); iroko (Yoruba); mvule (Swahili); rock-elm (Eng.);

Habitat :Milicia excelsa is native to Africa. It is found in Angola, Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Zimbabwe

A large deciduous forest  tree up to 50 m tall and with a diameter up to 10 m. The bole is straight and cylindrical, branch-less up to 20 m or more. Bark is dark, fairly rough and fl aking off in small scales but rarely fi ssured. When cut, the slash exudes white latex. The crown is um- brella-shaped and fairly fl at at the top. Leaves simple and alternate, 10-20 cm long. Young leaves are vel- vety and with serrate margins while older leaves are glabrous and have entire margins.
The species is dioecious and male and female trees are slightly different in appearance, male trees having longer and more slender trunk and crown and forking being more common in male than in female trees. Flowers are born in single spikes; male fl owers white, closely crowded in a slender, pendulous catkin up to 20 cm long; females greenish, in a shorter and wider spike that looks hairy from the projecting styles.

The fruit is a syncarp, i.e. the entire female in-fl orescence forms one aggregate structure consisting of small nutlets surrounded by the fl eshy perianth. The fruit is green, 5-7.5 cm long, 2.5 cm thick, wrin-kled and fl eshy and resembling a fat green caterpillar.


There are about 70 seeds per fruit. Seeds are small and light brown, about 1.5 mm long and 1.0 mm wide. It is thinner at the scar end and has a thin seed coat.

Medicinal Uses:
The bark, its ashes, the leaves, and the latex are all Used in local medicine. The latex is used to reduce tumours and obstructions of the throat and for stomach problems. The bark is used to treat coughs, dysentery, heart problems, and general tiredness.Baka Pygmies use the leaves for lactation failure.

Other Uses:
The high quality timber is often used as a teak substitute. It is of significant commercial value and commands high prices internationally. Locally it is Used for furniture, boat building, and general purpose building timber. It resists termites well.

It is often used as a shade tree and along streets as an ornamental. Its leaves are used as mulch and it is also nitrogen fixing.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider


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