wood species



Density in kg/m3

The Tree
The average height is 30m with a diameter up to 1.0m; the bole length, above the arched, plank buttresses is usually no more than 20m. The bole is cylindrical and well formed when the trees grow on well-drained sites, but in swampy areas it is twisted and irregular.

The Timber
The heartwood and sapwood are not clearly distinct. The heartwood varies from pale pink to reddish-brown; the sapwood is lighter coloured and about 75mm wide. The gain is often wavy and interlocked, so that quarter-sawn material shows an irregular stripe figure. The texture is rather coarse, and the timber has a greasy feel, due to the presence of resin. The weight is variable from 512 to 770 kg/m3, and averaging about 625 kg/m3 when dried Niangon is similar to African mahogany but coarser in texture and denser. The two timbers may also be distinguished by examination of the radial surface (quarter-sawn) in niangon the large rays are conspicuous as dark flecks; in mahogany they are hardly visible. This characteristic gives niangon an attractive figure when quarter-sawn, which is often emphasised by the interlocking grain.

The timber presents only minor drying problems, and it dries fairly rapidly. A small proportion of the wood may show a tendency to twist. There might be slight end splitting and surface checking and very slight collapse may occur in a few boards.

Similar to African mahogany, but in compression, hardness, and resistance to shear and splitting, is appreciably superior and almost equal to oak.

Working Qualities
Good - Fairly easy to work. It does not dull cutting edges to any appreciable extent. A considerable improvement in finish is gained by reducing cutting angles to 150. The timber stains and polishes well but requires a rather large amount of filler; excess of gum in the wood may sometimes create difficulties in finishing. Takes nails and screws satisfactorily, and generally glues quite well, though the French recommend a preliminary treatment with a solution of caustic soda or ammonia to overcome the resinous nature of the wood prior to gluing or varnishing.

Latin Name
Heritiera utilis, Heritiera densiflora

Also known as
ogoue (Ivory Coast, Gabon), wishmor (Liberia), nyankom (Ghana)

Wood Type

Extremely Difficult



Sierra Leone, Liberia, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon.