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,
kajatenhout, lakhout, wilde-kiaat (Afr.); morôtô (North Sotho);
mokwa, morotômadi (Tswana); umvangazi, umbilo (Zulu)
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
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.