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Pouteria altissima (A.Chev.) Baehni

Candollea 9: 292 (1942).
Sideroxylon altissimum (A.Chev.) Hutch. & Dalziel (1931), Aningeria altissima (A.Chev.) Aubrév. & Pellegr. (1935).
Vernacular names
Aningeria (En). Aningré blanc, aniégré blanc (Fr).
Origin and geographic distribution
Pouteria altissima occurs from Guinea east to south-western Ethiopia, western Kenya and north-western Tanzania, and south to northern Zambia.
The wood (trade names: aningré, aniégré, anigré, asanfena, asanfona, osan, mukangu) is especially recommended for high-quality sliced and peeled veneer. In West Africa it is also used for light carpentry, interior joinery, high-class furniture and moulding. In East Africa it is considered suitable for the same purposes and additionally for light construction, vehicle bodies, musical instruments, boxes and crates, railway sleepers, toys and novelties, turnery, and pulpwood for paper production. It is also used as firewood and for the production of charcoal. In Ethiopia and Uganda Pouteria altissima is used as a shade tree in coffee, banana and cocoa plantations, and it is considered useful as a bee plant. It is sometimes planted as roadside tree.
Production and international trade
Pouteria altissima timber is exported as sawn wood and veneer from Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana in mixed consignments with Pouteria aningeri Baehni (synonym: Aningeria robusta (A.Chev.) Aubrév. & Pellegr.); however, the latter constitutes the larger part of the export.
In 2001 the export of ‘aniégré’ veneer from Côte d’Ivoire was 15,000 m³ with an average price of US$ 769/m³. From Ghana 19,000 m³ ‘asanfena’ veneer was exported in 2002 (average price of US$ 923/m³), 14,000 m³ in 2003 (average price of US$ 1243/m³), and 13,000 m³ in 2004 (average price of US$ 1164/m³). Cameroon exported 1000 m³ ‘anigré’ veneer in 2003 with an average price of US$ 1864/m³.
The Central African Republic exported 21,000 m³ ‘aningré’ logs in 2003, with an average price of US$ 801/m³. Congo exported 6000 m³ ‘aningré’ logs in 2003 with an average price of US$ 171/m³, and 4000 m³ in 2004 with an average price of US$ 156/m³. The statistics for the Central African Republic and Congo may refer entirely to Pouteria altissima because Pouteria aningeri has not been recorded for these countries.
In Uganda Pouteria altissima belongs to the commonly harvested timber species, but figures on production and trade are not available.
The heartwood is creamy white to reddish brown and indistinctly demarcated from the 3–6 cm wide sapwood. The grain is straight, sometimes interlocked, texture fine to moderately coarse.
The wood is moderately light, with a density of 500–580 kg/m³ at 12% moisture content. Drying usually does not cause problems, but there is a slight risk of distortion and checking and a tendency to blue stain, especially in early stages of air drying. The shrinkage rates are moderate. Once dry, the wood is moderately stable in service.
At 12% moisture content, the modulus of rupture is 90 N/mm², compression parallel to grain 48 N/mm², Janka side hardness 5560 N and Janka end hardness 3780 N.
The wood contains about 0.3% silica and consequently the blunting effect on saws and cutting tools is high. Stellite-tipped sawteeth and tungsten-carbide tools are recommended. It sometimes finishes poorly after planing or sawing. The nailing, screwing and slicing properties are good, and the wood stains, paints and glues well.
The wood is not durable and liable to attacks by fungi, termites, dry-wood borers and marine borers. It is fairly permeable to preservatives.
Adulterations and substitutes
The wood of some Chrysophyllum spp. (e.g. Chrysophyllum giganteum A.Chev.) closely resembles that of Pouteria and is sometimes traded under the same name, e.g. ‘aniégré’, in Côte d’Ivoire.
Large tree up to 45(–50) m tall; bole up to 200(–250) cm in diameter, branchless for up to 30 m, straight and cylindrical, sometimes fluted, with triangular, often winged buttresses up to 3 m high; bark surface creamy grey, irregularly fissured, inner bark fibrous, reddish brown, exuding latex; crown spreading; young branches finely hairy. Leaves arranged spirally, simple and entire; stipules absent; petiole up to 1.5 cm long; blade elliptical to ovate-oblong, 4–16 cm × 2.5–7 cm, slightly cuneate to rounded at base, rounded to shortly acuminate at apex, glabrous except lower side of midrib, with glandular translucent dots, pinnately veined with 11–23 pairs of lateral veins. Flowers in fascicles in leaf axils, bisexual, regular, 5-merous, fragrant; pedicel 3–6 mm long; sepals free, elliptical to ovate-oblong, 3.5–5.5 mm long, pubescent outside; corolla with up to 3.5 mm long tube and rounded lobes up to 2 mm long, hairy at margins, creamy white; stamens inserted in upper half of the corolla tube, opposite corolla lobes; ovary superior, globose, long-hairy, 5-celled, style up to 4 mm long, stigma 5-lobed. Fruit an obovoid to globose berry up to 2 cm long, becoming red when ripe, finely hairy but glabrescent, 1-seeded. Seed obovoid, up to 1.5 cm long, shiny brown, with very large scar. Seedling with hypogeal germination.
Other botanical information
Pouteria is pantropical and comprises approximately 320 species, about 200 of them in tropical America, 120 in tropical Asia and only 6 in Africa. The African species were classified in the genera Aningeria and Malacantha, but both have been included in Pouteria. Pouteria has been subdivided into 9 sections. The African species belong to section Rivicoa, together with some American species including the well-known fruit tree Pouteria campechiana (Kunth) Baehni (canistel or yellow sapote).
The timber of Pouteria spp. is sometimes confused with that of Chrysophyllum spp., but the latter genus differs in the absence of translucent dots in the leaves and fruits containing several seeds. Pouteria aningeri differs from Pouteria altissima in its leaves being densely hairy below. However, the two species are often confused and mixed in the timber trade.
Pouteria pseudoracemosa (J.H.Hemsl.) L.Gaut. (synonym: Aningeria pseudoracemosa J.H.Hemsl.; Swahili name: mkuti) is a tree up to 40 m tall, endemic to Tanzania and occurring in moist lowland and submontane forest. It is used for timber, fuelwood, making charcoal and as a shade tree. It is classified as vulnerable in the 2006 IUCN Red list of threatened species.
Wood-anatomical description (IAWA hardwood codes):
Growth rings: (1: growth ring boundaries distinct); (2: growth ring boundaries indistinct or absent). Vessels: (10: vessels in radial multiples of 4 or more common); 13: simple perforation plates; 22: intervessel pits alternate; (23: shape of alternate pits polygonal); 25: intervessel pits small (4–7 μm); 26: intervessel pits medium (7–10 μm); (30: vessel-ray pits with distinct borders; similar to intervessel pits in size and shape throughout the ray cell); (31: vessel-ray pits with much reduced borders to apparently simple: pits rounded or angular); 32: vessel-ray pits with much reduced borders to apparently simple: pits horizontal (scalariform, gash-like) to vertical (palisade); 33: vessel-ray pits of two distinct sizes or types in the same ray cell; (35: vessel-ray pits restricted to marginal rows); 41: mean tangential diameter of vessel lumina 50–100 μm; 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: (77: axial parenchyma diffuse-in-aggregates); 86: axial parenchyma in narrow bands or lines up to three cells wide; (87: axial parenchyma reticulate); (89: axial parenchyma in marginal or in seemingly marginal bands); 92: four (3–4) cells per parenchyma strand; 93: eight (5–8) cells per parenchyma strand. Rays: 97: ray width 1–3 cells; (100: rays with multiseriate portion(s) as wide as uniseriate portions); (106: body ray cells procumbent with one row of upright and/or square marginal cells); 107: body ray cells procumbent with mostly 2–4 rows of upright and/or square marginal cells; 115: 4–12 rays per mm. Mineral inclusions: 159: silica bodies present; 160: silica bodies in ray cells; 161: silica bodies in axial parenchyma cells.
(N.P. Mollel, P. Baas & A.A. Oteng-Amoako)
Growth and development
In natural forest in Gabon Pouteria altissima trees showed a mean annual bole diameter increment of 3.3 mm. In the Central African Republic the annual bole diameter increment was 3.2 mm in a non-perturbed forest, 4 mm after exploitation of the forest and 6 mm after exploitation and chemical thinning. In Mbaiki forest (Central African Republic) there are 4.3 Pouteria altissima trees per ha, corresponding to a basal area of 0.2 m²/ha and a timber volume of 2 m³/ha. In Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana Pouteria altissima flowers in December–March. Most trees with boles over 50 cm in diameter are capable of producing fruits. In West Africa the fruits are ripe around the start of the rainy season. They are eaten by birds and chimpanzees, which may disperse the seeds.
In West Africa, where the areas of distribution of Pouteria altissima and Pouteria aningeri overlap in the semi-deciduous forest zone, the former generally occurs in drier forest types than the latter. In Ghana Pouteria altissima occurs in the driest types of semi-deciduous forest and is locally fairly common. In Côte d’Ivoire it is found near the northern border of the semi-deciduous forest zone and is most common at higher altitudes. In Uganda it is common, locally even dominant, in rainforest at 1000–1700 m altitude.
Propagation and planting
Seedlings are classified as non-pioneer light demanders. Although they may be abundant around parent trees, further development depends on the presence of gaps in the forest canopy. However, research in Uganda showed that large-scale logging operations in the forest negatively influence regeneration. The 1000-seed weight is about 1 kg. Seeds lose viability very quickly and should be sown directly after collection.
Tests on regeneration in Kenya showed that artificial regeneration of Pouteria altissima in buffer plantations around the natural timber production forest may be needed to maintain the species in sufficient numbers after logging. In cultivation, the tree can be managed by coppicing or pollarding.
Handling after harvest
Logs should be extracted from the forest as soon as possible after felling or directly treated with preservatives as they are liable to blue stain. Assessments of sliced veneer recovery of Pouteria altissima logs in Ghana showed 30% recovery, which means that the veneer mills generate a lot of waste.
Genetic resources
Although Pouteria altissima is more widespread than Pouteria aningeri, it is less common in West Africa, e.g. in Ghana. Moreover, it is heavily exploited in Ghana as well as Côte d’Ivoire. In several countries in East Africa it is rare or occurs only locally, e.g. in Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia. It is classified as a lower risk species in the 2006 IUCN Red list of threatened species, but it is expected to become threatened within a period of 5 years without conservation programmes. In Ghana it is considered a still common species, but under pressure from exploitation, and therefore in need of careful control.
In recent years Pouteria altissima has become an important timber tree, particularly for veneer production, in some West African countries (Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana), while it has already been of importance in Uganda and locally in western Kenya (Kakamega Forest) for a longer time. It will only maintain its importance if its exploitation is carefully controlled, as it is already overexploited in many regions. Research should therefore focus on methods of sustainable exploitation. Studies in Ghana showed that there is still scope for improving yield and quality of Pouteria altissima veneer and sawn wood by utilizing optimal production techniques.
Major references
• Aubréville, A., 1964. Sapotacées. Flore du Cameroun. Volume 2. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. 143 pp.
• 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., 2000. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 5, Families S–Z, Addenda. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 686 pp.
• Durrieu de Madron, L., Nasi, R. & Détienne, P., 2000. Accroissements diamétriques de quelques essences en forêt dense africaine. Bois et Forêts des Tropiques 263(1): 63–74.
• Hawthorne, W.D., 1995. Ecological profiles of Ghanaian forest trees. Tropical Forestry Papers 29. Oxford Forestry Institute, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, United Kingdom. 345 pp.
• Hemsley, J.H., 1968. Sapotaceae. In: Milne-Redhead, E. & Polhill, R.M. (Editors). Flora of Tropical East Africa. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. 79 pp.
• Katende, A.B., Birnie, A. & Tengnäs, B., 1995. Useful trees and shrubs for Uganda: identification, propagation and management for agricultural and pastoral communities. Technical Handbook 10. Regional Soil Conservation Unit, Nairobi, Kenya. 710 pp.
• Normand, D., 1970. Les aniégré, Sapotacées de Côte d’Ivoire et leurs bois. Bois et Forêts des Tropiques 134: 3–13.
• Takahashi, A., 1978. Compilation of data on the mechanical properties of foreign woods (part 3) Africa. Shimane University, Matsue, Japan, 248 pp.
• Wimbush, S.H., 1957. Catalogue of Kenya timbers. 2nd reprint. Government Printer, Nairobi, Kenya. 74 pp.
Other references
• Adjei-Sakyi, E., 2000. Yield maximization of sliced veneer: a case study. MSc Wood Technology degree thesis, Department of Wood Science and Technology, Institute of Renewable Natural Resources, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana. 49 pp.
• African Regional Workshop (Conservation & Sustainable Management of Trees, Zimbabwe), 1998. Pouteria altissima. In: IUCN. 2006 Red list of threatened species. [Internet] Accessed December 2006.
• Aubréville, A., 1959. La flore forestière de la Côte d’Ivoire. Deuxième édition révisée. Tome troisième. Publication No 15. Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Nogent-sur-Marne, France. 334 pp.
• Aubréville, A., 1962. Irvingiacées. Flore du Gabon. Volume 3. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. pp. 12–32.
• Beentje, H.J., 1994. Kenya trees, shrubs and lianas. National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya. 722 pp.
• Chudnoff, M., 1980. Tropical timbers of the world. USDA Forest Service, Agricultural Handbook No 607, Washington D.C., United States. 826 pp.
• CIRAD Forestry Department, 2003. Aningre. [Internet] Tropix 5.0. afr/aningre.pdf. Accessed August 2006.
• CTFT (Centre Technique Forestier Tropical), 1970. Aniégré. Information technique No 284. Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Nogent-sur-Marne, France. 2 pp.
• Durand, P., 1983. Aniégrés et longhis: étude comparative de leurs propriétés technologiques. Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. 29 pp.
• Forest Products Research Laboratory, 1955. Trials of timbers for plywood manufacture: aningueria – Aningueria altissima – Uganda. Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Forest Products Research Laboratory, Aylesbury, United Kingdom. 12 pp.
• Gérard, J., Edi Kouassi, A., Daigremont, C., Détienne, P., Fouquet, D. & Vernay, M., 1998. Synthèse sur les caractéristiques technologiques des principaux bois commerciaux africains. Document Forafri 11. Cirad, Montpellier, France. 185 pp.
• InsideWood, undated. [Internet] Accessed May 2007.
• ITTO, 2006. Annual review and assessment of the world timber situation 2005. International Timber Trade Organisation, Yokohama, Japan. 214 pp.
• Kalema, J., 1994. Tree association and the regeneration of selected forest tree species in Kibale National Park, Uganda: implementations for management. MSc Thesis, Institute of Environment and Natural Resources, Kampala, Uganda. 133 pp.
• Kiama, D. & Kiyiapi, J., 2001. Shade tolerance and regeneration of some tree species of a tropical rain forest in Western Kenya. Plant Ecology 156(2): 183–191.
• Kupicha, F.K., 1983. Sapotaceae. In: Launert, E. (Editor). Flora Zambesiaca. Volume 7, part 1. Flora Zambesiaca Managing Committee, London, United Kingdom. pp. 210–247.
• Lovett, J. & Clarke, G.P., 1998. Pouteria pseudoracemosa. In: IUCN. 2006 Red list of threatened species. [Internet] Accessed December 2006.
• Lovett, J.C., Ruffo, C.K., Gereau, R.E. & Taplin, J.R.D., 2006. Field guide to the moist forest trees of Tanzania. [Internet] Centre for Ecology Law and Policy, Environment Department, University of York, York, United Kingdom. res/celp/webpages/projects/ecology/ tree%20guide/guide.htm. Accessed December 2006.
• Pennington, T.D., 1991. The genera of Sapotaceae. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom and the New York Botanical Garden, New York, United States. 295 pp.
• Sommerlatte, H. & Sommerlatte, M., 1990. A field guide to the trees and shrubs of the Imatong Mountains, southern Sudan. Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammmenarbeit (GTZ), Nairobi, Kenya. 372 pp.
• Taylor C.J., 1960. Synecology and sylviculture in Ghana. Thomas Nelson and Sons, Edinburgh, United Kingdom. 418 pp.
Sources of illustration
• Kupicha, F.K., 1983. Sapotaceae. In: Launert, E. (Editor). Flora Zambesiaca. Volume 7, part 1. Flora Zambesiaca Managing Committee, London, United Kingdom. pp. 210–247.
• Normand, D., 1970. Les aniégré, Sapotacées de Côte d’Ivoire et leurs bois. Bois et Forêts des Tropiques 134: 3–13.
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
M. Brink
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
General editors
R.H.M.J. Lemmens
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
L.P.A. Oyen
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
J.R. Cobbinah
Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG), University P.O. Box 63, KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana
Photo editor
A. de Ruijter
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article:
Lemmens, R.H.M.J., 2007. Pouteria altissima (A.Chev.) Baehni. In: Louppe, D., Oteng-Amoako, A.A. & Brink, M. (Editors). Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.
Distribution Map wild

1, flowering branch; 2, flower; 3, fruit; 4, seeds.
Redrawn and adapted by R.H.M.J. Lemmens

leafy branch

obtained from
Carlton McLendon, Inc.

wood in transverse section

wood in tangential section

wood in radial section