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Kiaat

 

KIAAT

Botanical Name: Pterocarpus angolensis DC. Fabaceae (Subfamily Papilionoideae)

Common Names: kiaat, bloodwood, paddle-wood, sealing-wax tree, wild teak, Transvaal teak (Eng.); kiaat, bloedhout, dolfhout, greinhout, kajatenhout, lakhout, wilde-kiaat (Afr.); morôtô (North Sotho); mokwa, morotômadi (Tswana); umvangazi, umbilo (Zulu)

Description:
The kiaat is a deciduous, spreading and slightly flat-crowned tree with a high canopy. It reaches about 15 meters in height and has dark bark. The shiny leaves are compound (divided into leaflets) and characteristically hang downwards. An abundance of scented, orange-yellow flowers appear in spring. These are carried in sprays. The flowering time is rather short, two to three weeks only.
The kiaat grows in the warm, frost free areas in the northeast of the country, extending into Zimbabwe, northern Botswana, Mozambique and Namibia and northwards into other parts of Africa. It grows in bushveld and woodland where the rainfall is above 500 mm per year and it favors rocky slopes or well-drained, deep, sandy soil.
This graceful tree has very many uses and is much valued throughout Africa. The beautiful timber is worked into furniture, implements and curios. Kiaat is also used to make canoes because the wood does not shrink and swell much. Baskets are also woven from the inner bark.
The red sap is used traditionally as a dye and in some areas mixed with animal fat to make a cosmetic for faces and bodies. It is also believed to have magical properties for the curing of problems concerning blood, apparently because of its close resemblance to blood.


 
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