June 19, 2020


Genus Baphia refers to using the heartwood of the plant to extract a red dye. Species nitida refers to the wood having a polished surface. Ethnobotanical Uses . Widespread in west Africa, there are no major threats to this species at present. However, it is largely utilized locally throughout its range as a source of building. Kingdom: Plantae. Phylum/Division: Magnoliophyta. Class: Eudicots. Order: Fabales. Family: Fabaceae. Genus: Baphia. Species: B. nitida. Common Names .

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Email this to a friend Print Share on facebook Tweet this. Showing 0 of 0 comments. Baphia nitida 1, part of flowering branch; 2, fruit; 3, seed Redrawn and adapted by Achmad Satiri Nurhaman. Baphia nitida close up of a flower obtained from National Parks Board, Singapore.

Baphia nitida foliage obtained from National Parks Board, Singapore. Baphia nitida planted as shade tree obtained from National Parks Board, Singapore. Baphia nitida trimmed as hedge obtained from National Parks Board, Singapore. Baphia nitida baphia nitida 01 BE brussels Baphia nitida baphia nitida x – k – jpg pepakis.

Baphia nitida Baphia nitida x – 83k flickr. Baphia nitida Baphia nitida x – 74k flickr. Baphia nitida SH baphia nitida. Baphia nitida x – 31k – jpg tropicalplant.

Baphia nitida x – 15k – jpg tropicalplant. Baphia nitida Baphia nitida Leguminosae Also Baphia nitida Baphia nit. Baphia nitida Aluka – Baphia nitida Lodd. Baphia nitida Distribution of Baphia nitida Lodd. Baphia nitida Baphia nitida. Baphia nitida Baphia nitida Lodd. Baphia nitida Baphia nitida Baphia nitida occurs wild from Senegal to Gabon. It is often cultivated near villages, formerly as a dyewood especially in Sierra Leone and Liberia, now more often as an ornamental shade tree or as fence and hedge.

The heartwood camwood and roots of Baphia nitida yield a red dye that was used locally until recently to dye raffia and cotton textiles. In small quantities, it was an ingredient of recipes for bronze-green colours and was used as ground dye followed by a logwood Haematoxylum campechianum L.

It was used for dark grey and black colours in the wool-cloth industry until the beginning of the 20 th century. It was a major source of bright to dark red colours in the big European cotton-printing industries, e.

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In West Africa, powdered heartwood is a familiar red body paint and the paste is much used as a cosmetic for the skin, e. As body paint it is considered to have magic powers: By soaking the dried and ground roots in water a red liquid is obtained, which is used for painting furniture. In southern Benin and south-western Nigeria, Yoruba ceremonial masks are painted dark red with a decoction of the wood. Baphia nitida wood is used for house posts, rafters, naves of wheels and utensils such as walking sticks, mortars, pestles, tool-handles and farm implements.

It was formerly exported to Europe for turnery and cabinetry. The plant is grown as an ornamental for shade, or as hedge and fence. The leaves are used as fodder and in southern Ghana Baphia nitida is recommended for propagation in livestock rearing areas because of its good palatability, continuous availability and high protein content.

In Nigeria the seeds are eaten by Igbo people and the twigs are used as chewing sticks. In some regions the tree is considered sacred, endowed with the power to protect against evil spirits and to attract benevolent ones.


In Nigeria, Tiv people colour the inside of a gourd prepared as a beehive with the red dye to attract a swarm to settle there and Yoruba honey-hunters rub their body with the dye paste to prevent bee-stings. The leaves or leaf juice are applied against parasitic skin diseases, and a leaf infusion is drunk to cure enteritis and other gastrointestinal problems.

An extract of young leaves with some salt and red pepper is used as nose drops against headache.

In Nigeria powdered heartwood is made into an ointment with shea butter obtained from the seeds of Vitellaria paradoxa C. In Sierra Leone a bark decoction is drunk to cure cardial pain and bark and leaves are prepared as an enema to treat constipation.

In Nigeria and Ghana the pounded dried root, mixed with water and oil, is applied to a ringworm-like fungus attacking the feet. Finely ground root bark, mixed with honey, is taken against asthma. Link is drunk against asthma. In Benin a decoction of the leaves is taken against jaundice and diabetes; in combination with leaves of Morinda lucida Benth.

Externally it is applied, together with Cissus quadrangularis L. A decoction of bapbia bark is drunk against epilepsy. Up to about the s there was considerable export of camwood particularly from Sierra Leone and Liberia to Europe and the Bapbia States, both as dye and for wood turning and cabinet making.

The export was mainly in the shape of logs cut nnitida short lengths rather than in the form of powder or extract, allegedly to facilitate quality control. The dye nitidw found in the heartwood, which often is of small size. The dye is soluble in alkali and alcohol, much less so in water. The principal dyeing substances are the isoflavonoid-flavonoid dimers santalins A and B and santarubins A, B and C, but several other compounds such as baphic acid, baphiin, deoxysantarubin, homopterocarpin, maackiain, pterocarpin and santal possibly also contribute to the colouring properties.

In the Colour Index the number of the dye is and it is classified as Natural Red 22, together with other redwoods. A red tinge may appear on wounding the bark, and soaking the bark in water also yields a red dye. In the leaves saponins, flavonoid glycosides and true tannins are present. An ointment made from the leaves showed anti-inflammatory activity in mice and rats and this supported the external use in traditional medicine.

Extracts of fresh leaves inhibited digestion in mice and rats, and showed antidiarrhoeal effects. Leaf extracts also demonstrated analgesic activity abphia mice. In Nigeria the nutrient content of leaves per g dry matter was approximately: When freshly cut the sapwood is yellowish white, emitting an unpleasant smell, scarcely darkening when dry.

The heartwood is pale brown when fresh, nittida rapidly to dark red or orange upon exposure. The wood is extremely hard, heavy and durable, close-grained and of fine texture. It carves and turns well and planes smoothly. Substitutes for camwood are the dyes obtained from other insoluble redwoods, such as Benin camwood Baphia pubescens Hook. Many-stemmed erect shrub or small tree up to 9 m tall with glabrous to densely pubescent branchlets.

Flowers in axillary fascicles, 1—5-flowered, bisexual, papilionaceous; pedicel slender, 3—17 mm long; calyx spathaceous, 8—10 mm long, glabrous but with a tuft of brown hairs at apex; corolla with standard suborbicular, 1—2 cm in diameter, white with a yellow centre, wings and keel white with a pocket near the base; stamens 10, filaments unequal, free, up to 7 mm long; ovary superior, sessile, glabrous, sometimes with a row of silvery hairs along the dorsal margin, 1-celled, style curved, filiform, stigma small.


Fruit a compressed pod 8— Seeds almost circular in outline, 1—1. Baphia comprises about 45 species and is largely confined to tropical Africa with most species present in Nigeria and Cameroon. Benin camwood Baphia pubescens Hook. Its heartwood is also a source of a red dye but it has been less exploited. Baphia pubescens differs from Baphia nitida in its leaves, which are hairy below, and in its hairy ovary. In northern Namibia the roots of Baphia massaiensis Taub.

The roots are crushed, mixed with water, and skins are steeped in the dye bath, taking up the red dye within about one day. Formerly ox-stomachs used as aprons by women were dyed in the same way, then tanned and stretched out to dry. Baphia massaiensis occurs from southern DR Congo and Tanzania to northern South Haphia, and differs from Baphia nitida in its long bracteoles, pubescent ovary and usually rounded or obtuse leaf apex.

It is an extremely variable species.

Baphia nitida often grows as an understorey tree in wetter parts of coastal regions, in rainforest, in secondary forest and on abandoned farmland, from sea-level up to m altitude.

Camwood is easy to cultivate and can be propagated by seeds and cuttings. For best results cuttings should be taken from rather young parts. For dyeing purposes, the sapwood is removed from the trunk and the heartwood is sawn or cut into parts 30—50 cm long and dried.

When dry it is ready for transport.

Baphia nitida Camwood, Baphia PFAF Plant Database

To extract bwphia dye the wood is cut into much smaller pieces or pulverized. Because the dye does not dissolve well in water the wood is boiled for 1. The resulting solution is diluted with water until the desired dye bath concentration is obtained, which differs according to the fibre or type of textile to be dyed and the colour wanted.

Using different mordants, applied before and after the dye bath, and various mixtures with other dyewoods, a wide range of colours from red to brown, green, grey, purplish and black can be obtained. Baphia nitida is a multipurpose tree: The timber and fodder uses seem most important at present, but increasing interest in natural dyes might revive the value of camwood to the level it had in the past.

Extraction of the colorants in the countries where the trees grow, to produce liquid or powdered extracts, would bring much added value and allow further use of the extracted wood as fuel. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. Volume 3, Families J—L.

Le monde des teintures naturelles. Woody plants of Ghana, with special reference to their uses. Anti-inflammatory activities of flavonoids of Baphia nitida Lodd. Leguminosae on mice and rats. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 46 2: The effects of Baphia nitida Lodd Leguminosae extract on the gastrointestinal tract of rats and mice.

Phytotherapy Research 6 3: