Mpingo is the Swahili name for Dalbergia melanoxylon, the East African Blackwood. The trees have a scruffy appearance and are frequently multi-stemmed and extensively branched. They grow very slowly and often in very gnarled and twisted shapes. Harvestable size is not reached until an estimated 70 to 100 years. Mature trees are typically between 4.5m and 7.5m high, with an average girth of 1.2m. The yellowish-brown bark on the main stem flakes off in long strips, while smaller branches bear sharp spines 2-3cm in length.
Different names for Mpingo
(East) African Blackwood (English),
Mpingo is semi-deciduous, losing many of its leaves over the dry season in common with most trees of its habitat. The flowers are small, white, sweetly scented and grow in tight clusters. They develop into greyish, papery pods each containing one or two seeds which are wind dispersed.
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