Botanical Name: Baikiaea plurijuga
Species Type: Hardwood
Origin: Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe
Known as Mukusi, Rhodesian Teak, Zambian Teak or Zambesi Redwood is a species of legume in the Fabaceae family. It forms a dense hardwood valued for its termite resistance, used for railway sleepers, in construction and for furniture making.
Zambezi Teak is an excellent timber for the flooring application being very hard and with a rich, deep red coloring. Due to the cantrast of colour of this timber in its raw form (white on the outside and dark on the inside), the majority of the flooring available has this contrast in the color.
It is a deciduous, semi-deciduous, or almost evergreen tree growing to 27 m tall, with a straight bole up to 120 cm in diameter; occasionally swollen at the base; the erect to spreading branches form a heavy, usually rounded crown The bark is smooth and pale in young trees, later becoming vertically fissured and cracked, brown to grey, especially on slow-growing trees.
In its natural range, from Tanzania to Zimbabwe, B. plurijuga is a dominant species in the dry, open, deciduous forest. The species suffers adversely from dry-season fires and subsequent competition from thorny, fast-growing colonizer bushes, mainly of Acacia species. B. plurijuga is frost sensitive but can withstand some drought.
The heartwood is an attractive reddish-brown with prominent, irregular black streaks and flecks. The pale pinkish-brown sapwood is sharply demarcated from the heartwood. The texture is fine and even. The grain is straight or slightly interlocked.
The durability of Zambezi teak is excellent. It is moderately resistant to termite attacks.
Uses of Zambezi Teak
- Decorative flooring
- Turnery and carving
- Decorative veneer and store fittings
- Mining timber
- Railway sleepers