PROTA homepage Prota 7(2): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 2
Record display

Annickia affinis (Exell) Versteegh & Sosef

Syst. Geogr. Pl. 77: 95 (2007).
Enantia affinis Exell (1926), Annickia chlorantha auct. non (Oliv.) Setten & Maas, Enantia chlorantha auct. non Oliv.
Vernacular names
African yellow wood, yellow wood (En). Moambe jaune (Fr).
Origin and geographic distribution
Annickia affinis occurs from southern Nigeria to DR Congo (Province Bas-Congo) and Cabinda (Angola).
The wood of Annickia affinis is used in house building for poles and planks, and for joinery, furniture and paddles. It is suitable for light flooring, interior trim, mine props, ship building, vehicle bodies, ladders, handles, sporting goods, toys, novelties, musical instruments, agricultural implements, boxes, crates, matches, carvings, turnery, veneer, plywood, hardboard, particle board and pulpwood.
The bark is used for hut construction in Cameroon and Gabon, and also for matting, straps for carrying baskets, and caps. It yields a bright yellow dye used for dyeing cotton and fibre. Various traditional medicines are prepared from the bark. Bark decoctions are taken to treat fever including malaria, gastric and duodenal ulcers, liver complaints, tuberculosis, diarrhoea, infections of the urinary tract, rheumatism and intercostal pain, and are applied externally to treat skin complaints and fatigue. Bark powder is applied to wounds, sores and skin ulcers. The bark is reputed to have aphrodisiac properties to improve male sexual performance.
Production and international trade
The wood of Annickia affinis has no commercial value on the international market; it is locally used for domestic products. In Cameroon it is classified amongst the promising timber species. On local markets in Cameroon the price of 1 kg of bark is about 2300 FCFA.
The heartwood is greenish yellow to brownish green, gradually turning yellowish brown or dark yellow with age; it is not distinctly demarcated from the sapwood. The grain is straight, texture fine. Some figure may be present on backsawn surfaces. The wood is medium-weight with a density of 500–560 kg/m³ at 12% moisture content. It air dries rapidly and with little degrade. The rates of shrinkage are moderate, from green to oven dry 3.5–3.8% radial and about 6.2% tangential.
At 12% moisture content, the modulus of rupture is 87–141 N/mm², modulus of elasticity 8920–10,000 N/mm², compression parallel to grain 49–53 N/mm², shear 5–7 N/mm², cleavage 9–19 N/mm and Chalais-Meudon side hardness 1.5–2.4.
Although the wood is relatively soft, it is tough. It works easily with hand and machine tools, but splits easily. The wood polishes well and takes a good finish. It is easy to nail, usually without splitting, and holds nails firmly. The wood glues and stains well, and the peeling and slicing characteristics are good. It is not durable being susceptible to attacks by fungi, Lyctus borers, pinhole borers and termites. Some resistance to marine borers has been reported. The heartwood is moderately resistant to impregnation, but the sapwood is easy to treat with preservatives.
Protoberberines isolated from the bark showed in-vitro activity against Trypanosoma brucei. The main alkaloids in the bark are the quaternary protoberberines palmatine, jatrorrhizine and columbamine. Palmatine and jatrorrhizine exhibited in-vitro activity against Plasmodium falciparum comparable to that of quinine. Methods of purification of palmatine and its semi-synthetic derivative dl-tetrahydropalmatine from crude bark extracts have been developed by using high-performance displacement chromatography.
In-vivo tests on rats with brewer’s yeast induced pyresis showed distinct antipyretic activity of bark extracts, supporting the use in the management of fever. Bark extracts showed in-vitro antimicrobial activity with palmatine chloride and jatrorrhizine chloride as active compounds. They also demonstrated anti-HIV activity. Hydrodistillation of the bark gave 0.2% of a yellowish coloured oil; oxygenated sesquiterpenes were the major compounds. In hepatic injury models in rats, a protoberberine extract from the bark prevented chemically induced traumatization and promoted the healing process. The bark also contains 7,8-dihydro-8-hydroxypalmatine, which showed anti-ulcer activity in rats with reduced gastric secretion and improved mucus production. A crude ethanolic extract was more protective against gastric ulcers in rabbits and rats than misoprostol, a standard drug for treating gastric ulcers. Bark extracts exhibited inhibitory action on the gastrointestinal tract of rats and mice, and reduced the intensity of castor oil-induced diarrhoea. Aqueous bark extracts possess antibacterial properties, with more effect on gram-positive than on gram-negative bacteria. The results of tests on rats suggest that low doses of bark extract could improve sperm quality. In toxicity studies in mice, bark extracts showed no significant damage to the organs. The results obtained suggest the relative safety of short-term use of preparations such as the popular antimalarial herbal remedy made from the bark in southern Nigeria.
A golden-yellow dye was obtained from the bark by solvent extraction using acetone at a solute-solvent ratio of 1:25, with 6.2% recovery. It could be used to dye cellulosic fibre, with highest uptake of dye at 80°C. The tensile properties of the dyed fibre were greatly enhanced, but unmordanted fibre showed low fastness ratings to washing and light.
Adulterations and substitutes
The wood of other Annickia spp. such as Annickia polycarpa (DC.) Setten & Maas is similar to that of Annickia affinis and used for similar purposes. For the treatment of malaria, the bark is sometimes substituted by that of Alstonia boonei De Wild., which appears to be much less efficacious.
Small to medium-sized tree up to 30 m tall; bole branchless for up to 20 m, usually straight and cylindrical, but sometimes fluted, up to 80(–90) cm in diameter, sometimes with small buttresses; bark smooth, often with indistinct horizontal folds, brownish grey to blackish, inner bark fibrous, bright yellow, with peppery-resinous smell; crown triangular, tall and thin, with horizontal branches, curving down towards their tips; twigs glabrous, green, later blackish. Leaves alternate, simple and entire; stipules absent; petiole 2–8 mm long; blade narrowly elliptical to obovate, 3.5–27 cm × 1.5–9.5 cm, cuneate at base, acuminate or acute at apex, papery to slightly leathery, glabrous above, short-hairy with simple hairs below, pinnately veined with 7–13 pairs of lateral veins. Flowers solitary on young shoots, bisexual, regular, 3-merous, with a strong apple scent; pedicel 0.5–1.5 cm long, short-hairy; sepals triangular, c. 7 mm long, hairy outside; petals opposite the sepals, ovate, 1.5–3.5 cm long, fleshy, short-hairy and greenish yellow outside, glabrous and greenish yellow inside; stamens numerous, 2–3.5 mm long; carpels numerous, 3–4 mm long, short-hairy, stigma sessile. Fruit consisting of 3–34 indehiscent, ellipsoid to obovoid follicles 2–3.5 cm long, red to deep purple or blackish when ripe, on green to reddish stalk up to 3(–4) cm long, 1-seeded. Seed ellipsoid, 2–2.5 cm long, slightly warty.
Other botanical information
Annickia is a small genus of 8 species nearly confined to West and Central Africa, but with one species endemic to north-eastern Tanzania. Annickia is characterized by having only 3 petals, which are opposite the sepals. The relationship with other genera in the family Annonaceae is still unclear.
Annickia chlorantha (Oliv.) Setten & Maas closely resembles Annickia affinis and the latter was considered for a long time a synonym of the first. As a result, much of the extensive literature published under the name Enantia chlorantha may refer to either of the two species. This is also the case for much of the information in this review, for which the name Annickia affinis has been chosen because Annickia chlorantha is the more rare species with a smaller area of distribution (southern Nigeria and western Cameroon). Only in Nigeria Annickia chlorantha seems to be more common than Annickia affinis. Annickia chlorantha differs in its usually hairy upper side of the midrib, its lower leaf surface with many small 2–3-fid hairs, and its carpels with longer hairs.
Wood-anatomical description (IAWA hardwood codes):
Growth rings: 1: growth ring boundaries distinct; 2: growth ring boundaries indistinct or absent. Vessels: 5: wood diffuse-porous; 13: simple perforation plates; 22: intervessel pits alternate; 23: shape of alternate pits polygonal; 25: intervessel pits small (4–7 μm); 30: vessel-ray pits with distinct borders; similar to intervessel pits in size and shape throughout the ray cell; 42: mean tangential diameter of vessel lumina 100–200 μm; 47: 5–20 vessels per square millimetre. Tracheids and fibres: 61: fibres with simple to minutely bordered pits; 66: non-septate fibres present; 69: fibres thin- to thick-walled. Axial parenchyma: 86: axial parenchyma in narrow bands or lines up to three cells wide; 88: axial parenchyma scalariform; 92: four (3–4) cells per parenchyma strand; 93: eight (5–8) cells per parenchyma strand. Rays: 98: larger rays commonly 4- to 10-seriate; 102: ray height > 1 mm; (104: all ray cells procumbent); (106: body ray cells procumbent with one row of upright and/or square marginal cells); 114: 4 rays per mm; 115: 4–12 rays per mm.
(N.P. Mollel, P.E. Gasson & E.A. Wheeler)
Growth and development
In Gabon ripe fruits are mainly found in October to February. They are eaten by monkeys and chimpanzees that may disperse the seeds.
Annickia affinis usually occurs in the middle story of evergreen and semi-deciduous forest, up to 650 m altitude. It can be found in secondary and degraded forest. It often occurs on ferralitic soils, which are acidic, sandy and poor in organic material.
Propagation and planting
An inventory in Cameroon showed that natural regeneration can be good. In Nigeria germination tests have been done with ripe follicles. Germination started after 25–27 days and the germination rate was 38–69%. Pre-treatment with concentrated sulphuric acid for 5–10 minutes slightly accelerated germination, starting 23 days after sowing; the germination rate was up to 66%. Depulped but further untreated follicles had a germination rate of 57%, whereas follicles treated with concentrated nitric acid and hot water failed to germinate. Tests on propagation by cuttings showed good results, also without the use of rooting hormones.
In Cameroon the number of larger trees is small, with on average 0.03 boles of over 60 cm diameter per ha and 0.14 m³ of wood volume per ha.
The application of 0.3–0.4 g of compost fertilizer per seedling increased growth in terms of collar diameter, number of leaves and mean height.
The bark is often not harvested on a sustainable basis. It is often cut all round the bole, and sometimes the tree is even felled to collect the bark.
Handling after harvest
Logs should be treated with preservatives immediately after harvesting because they are susceptible to attack by blue stain fungi.
Genetic resources
Annickia affinis is fairly widespread and does not seem to be subject to overexploitation for its timber. However, demand for the bark for medicinal purposes is locally high, and this may have serious consequences in the longer term unless sustainable methods of harvesting are developed and promoted.
The genetic variation has been studied in Nigeria. The number of follicles per fruit differed widely between regions, and commencement of germination and germination rate also showed some variation between provenances. However, it is not clear whether this referred to Annickia affinis or Annickia chlorantha, or both.
Annickia affinis will continue to provide timber, dye and medicine for local domestic uses. The often small size of the bole and the low durability of the wood are serious drawbacks to increased usage as a timber tree. More information is needed on its natural regeneration and on growth rates. The usage of the bark for medicinal purposes will remain important. Several applications in traditional medicine are supported by the results of pharmacological research, especially in the treatment of malaria, gastric ulcers, liver complaints and diarrhoea, and this may be a basis for drug development. Research should also focus on sustainable methods of bark harvesting. Correct identification of the specimens used for research is important and should be well documented to avoid confusion between Annickia affinis and Annickia chlorantha, and possibly other Annickia spp., which is common in the literature until present.
Major references
• Adesokan, A.A., Yakubu, M.T., Owoyele, B.V., Akanji, M.A., Soladoye, A.O. & Lawal, O.K., 2008. Effect of administration of aqueous and ethanolic extracts of Enantia chlorantha stem bark on brewer’s yeast-induced pyresis in rats. African Journal of Biochemistry Research 2(7): 165–169.
• Bolza, E. & Keating, W.G., 1972. African timbers: the properties, uses and characteristics of 700 species. Division of Building Research, CSIRO, Melbourne, Australia. 710 pp.
• Burkill, H.M., 1985. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 1, Families A–D. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 960 pp.
• Gbadamosi, A.E., 2005. Genetic variation in Enantia chlorantha Oliv. - a medicinal plant. Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment 3(1): 153–156.
• Gbadamosi, A.E. & Oni, O., 2004. Effect of pretreatments on germination of seeds of the medicinal plant Enantia chlorantha Oliv. Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment 2(2): 288–290.
• Siminialayi, I.M. & Agbaje, E.O., 2004. Gastroprotective effects of the ethanolic extract of Enantia chlorantha in rats. West African Journal of Pharmacology and Drug Research 20(1/2): 35–38.
• Siminialayi, I.M. & Agbaje, E.O., 2004. Possible mechanisms for the anti-ulcer effects of the ethanolic extract of Enantia chlorantha in rats. West African Journal of Pharmacology and Drug Research 20(1/2): 39–43.
• Widodo, S.H., 2001. Crescentia L. In: van Valkenburg, J.L.C.H. & Bunyapraphatsara, N. (Editors). Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 12(2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands. pp. 191–194.
• Versteegh, C.P.C. & Sosef, M.S.M., 2007. Revision of the African genus Annickia (Annonaceae). Systematics and Geography of Plants 77: 91–118.
• Vivien, J. & Faure, J.J., 1985. Arbres des forêts denses d’Afrique Centrale. Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique, Paris, France. 565 pp.
Other references
• Adesokan, A.A., Akanji, M.A. & Yakubu, M.T., 2007. Antibacterial potentials of aqueous extract of Enantia chlorantha stem bark. African Journal of Biotechnology 6(22): 2502–2505.
• Adetuyi, A.O., Popoola, A.V., Lajide, L. & Oladimeji, M.O., 2005. The dyeability potential of cellulosic fibres using African yellow wood (Enantia chlorantha). Pakistan Journal of Scientific and Industrial Research 48(1): 59–62.
• Agbaje, E.O. & Okubadejo, O.O., 2004. Relaxant effect of Enantia chlorantha on the gastrointestinal smooth muscle of rodents. Sahel Medical Journal 7(3): 80–83.
• Gbadamosi, A.E., 2006. Fertilizer response in seedlings of a medicinal plant - Enantia chlorantha Oliv. Tropical and Subtropical Agroecosystems 6(2): 111–115.
• Gbadamosi, A.E. & Oni, O., 2005. Macropropagation of an endangered medicinal plant, Enantia chlorantha Oliv. Journal of Arboriculture 31(2): 78–82.
• Keay, R.W.J., 1989. Trees of Nigeria. A revised version of Nigerian trees (1960, 1964) by Keay, R.W.J., Onochie, C.F.A. & Stanfield, D.P. Clarendon Press, Oxford, United Kingdom. 476 pp.
• le Thomas, A., 1969. Annonacées. Flore du Gabon. Volume 16. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. 372 pp.
• Moody, J.O., Ogundipe, O.D., Akang, E.U. & Agbedana, E.O., 2007. Toxicological studies on the purified protoberberine alkaloidal fraction of Enantia chlorantha Oliv. (Annonaceae). African Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences 36(4): 317–323.
• Neuwinger, H.D., 2000. African traditional medicine: a dictionary of plant use and applications. Medpharm Scientific, Stuttgart, Germany. 589 pp.
• Ngenang, G.M., Tsabang, N., Nkongmeneck, B.A. & Fongnzossie, F.E., 2005. Plan simple de gestion des forêts communautaires au Cameroun: prospective pour une gestion rationelle des resources: cas de Enantia chlorantha Oliv. (Annonaceae). Cameroon Journal of Ethnobotany 1(1): 76–81.
• Nyasse, B., Nkwengoua, E., Sondengam, B., Denier, C. & Willson, M., 2002. Modified berberine and protoberberines from Enantia chlorantha as potential inhibitors of Trypanosoma brucei. Pharmazie 57(6): 358–361.
• Raponda-Walker, A. & Sillans, R., 1961. Les plantes utiles du Gabon. Paul Lechevalier, Paris, France. 614 pp.
• Sallenave, P., 1964. Propriétés physiques et mécaniques des bois tropicaux. Premier supplément. Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Nogent-sur-Marne, France. 79 pp.
• Tan, P.V., Nyasse, B., Dimo, T., Wafo, P. & Akahkuh, B.T., 2002. Synergistic and potentiating effects of two new anti-ulcer compounds from Enantia chlorantha and Voacanga africana in experimental animal models. Pharmazie 57(6): 409–412.
• Tan, P.V., Nyasse, B., Enow Orock, G.E., Wafo, P. & Forcha, E.A., 2000. Prophylactic and healing properties of a new anti-ulcer compound from Enantia chlorantha in rats. Phytomedicine 7(4): 291–296.
• van Setten, A.K. & Maas, P.J.M., 1990. Studies in Annonaceae. XIV. Index to generic names of Annonaceae. Taxon 39(4): 675–690.
• Vennerstrom, J.L. & Klayman, D.L., 1988. Protoberberine alkaloids as antimalarials. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 31(6): 1084–1087.
• Virtanen, P., Lassila, V. & Soderstrom, K.O., 1993. Protoberberine alkaloids from Enantia chlorantha therapy of allyl alcohol and d-galactosamine-traumatized rats. Pathobiology 61(1): 51–56.
• White, L. & Abernethy, K., 1997. A guide to the vegetation of the Lopé Reserve, Gabon. 2nd edition. Wildlife Conservation Society, New York, United States. 224 pp.
• Wilks, C. & Issembé, Y., 2000. Les arbres de la Guinée Equatoriale: Guide pratique d’identification: région continentale. Projet CUREF, Bata, Guinée Equatoriale. 546 pp.
Sources of illustration
• Versteegh, C.P.C. & Sosef, M.S.M., 2007. Revision of the African genus Annickia (Annonaceae). Systematics and Geography of Plants 77: 91–118.
• White, L. & Abernethy, K., 1997. A guide to the vegetation of the Lopé Reserve, Gabon. 2nd edition. Wildlife Conservation Society, New York, United States. 224 pp.
• Wilks, C. & Issembé, Y., 2000. Les arbres de la Guinée Equatoriale: Guide pratique d’identification: région continentale. Projet CUREF, Bata, Guinée Equatoriale. 546 pp.
V.A. Kémeuzé
Millennium Ecologic Museum, B.P. 8038, Yaoundé, Cameroon
B.A. Nkongmeneck
Millennium Ecologic Museum, B.P. 8038, Yaoundé, Cameroon

R.H.M.J. Lemmens
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
D. Louppe
CIRAD, Département Environnements et Sociétés, Cirad es-dir, Campus international de Baillarguet, TA C-DIR / B (Bât. C, Bur. 113), 34398 Montpellier Cedex 5, France
A.A. Oteng-Amoako
Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG), University P.O. Box 63, KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana
Associate editors
E.A. Obeng
Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG), University P.O. Box 63, KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana
Photo editor
G.H. Schmelzer
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article:
Kémeuzé, V.A. & Nkongmeneck, B.A., 2011. Annickia affinis (Exell) Versteegh & Sosef. In: Lemmens, R.H.M.J., Louppe, D. & Oteng-Amoako, A.A. (Editors). Prota 7(2): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 2. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.
Distribution Map wild

1, base of bole; 2, leaf; 3, fruiting branch; 4, seed.
Redrawn and adapted by Achmad Satiri Nurhaman

wood in transverse section

wood in tangential section

wood in radial section