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Pterocarpus lucens (small-leaved bloodwood)

Small-leaved bloodwood is an African shrub or tree with many uses, and is considered threatened in northern Burkina Faso.
Detail of a herbarium specimen of Pterocarpus lucens

Detail of a herbarium specimen of Pterocarpus lucens collected from Ethiopia by Schimper in 1841.

Species information

Scientific name: 

Pterocarpus lucens Lepr. ex Guill. & Perr.

Common name: 

small-leaved bloodwood, small-leaved kiaat (English); tami, tani, tiami (Peulh); alebonis, alibunes (Tamachek); taraya (Arabic-Sudan); pemperga (Mooré).

Conservation status: 

Least Concern (LC) according to IUCN Red List criteria. Considered to be locally threatened in northern Burkina Faso.


Wooded grassland, savanna, low altitude woodland and rocky hills.

Key Uses: 

Timber, firewood, tanning, medicinal, edible leaves and fruits.

Known hazards: 

None known.


Leguminosae/Fabaceae - Papilionoideae
Genus: Pterocarpus

About this species

The generic name Pterocarpus comes from the Greek for ‘winged fruit’ and refers to the shape of the circular, winged, single-seeded fruits which are characteristic of most Pterocarpus species. The specific epithet lucens comes from the Latin for ‘shining light’, and it probably refers to the bright yellow appearance of these trees when seen from a distance in the flowering season.

Small-leaved bloodwood belongs to the pea and bean family (Leguminosae) and is found extensively throughout the semi-arid regions of tropical Africa. It provides a beautiful yellow, sweetly-scented display when flowering in the dry season, just before leaf-set or whilst bearing young leaves. Flowering often lasts only a few days and typically occurs in November and December. The fruits normally develop between January and May. The wind-dispersed, winged fruits remain on the tree for a long time after maturity.


Pterocarpus abyssinicus, Pterocarpus simplicifolius


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