Afzelia quanzensis

Botanical Name: Afzelia quanzensis          

Common Name: Pod Mahogany, Mupapa, Musambambamfwa, Mwande, Mwala, Mpapa

Plant Family: Fabaceae (Legume Family) Caesalpinoideae

Growth Form, Habitat and Distribution: A large, semi-deciduous tree with a short cylindrical, sometimes divided trunk and upward-spreading lateral branches. Occurs throughout Zambia except in montane, dry evergreen and swamp forest areas, particularly abundant in Lake Basin Chipya and Kalahari woodland. The bark is grey-brown, becoming darker, cracked and flaking leaving pale patches. Loses its leaves between July and November.  The flowers are Sweet-smelling, with a single red or pink petal in sprays, July to November.  The pods are distinctive – large, dark brown flattened, oblong wooden pods (10 to 17cm) mature a year later and split on the tree releasing 6 to 10 “lucky bean” seeds. black with and red-orange cap (up to 3cm).

Size: Height up to 25m, spread 8 to 12m.

Uses: The wood is reddish-brown and used for canoes and polishes well as furniture items. The leaves and seeds are eaten by wildlife. The bark and roots are used in traditional medicine. The lucky beans are often used to make jewellery.