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Products > Cordia africana
Cordia africana - East African Cordia

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Boraginaceae (Borages)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Synonyms: [Cordia abyssinica]
Height: 15-25 feet
Width: 15-25 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Cordia africana (East African Cordia) - A small to medium-sized well branched evergreen tree 15 to 25 feet tall with gray-brown bark and a spreading rounded crown holding 3 to 7 inch long ovate leaves that are dark green above and lighter below. In later spring it has many tight clusters of attractive sweet scented white flowers at the branch tips, making a white mass on the canopy and carpeting the ground beneath. Plant in full sun with occasional irrigation. Winter hardiness is not known for this seldom grown species but it has been growing in southern California at the Fullerton for many years and should prove to be a nice small tree for the garden. The natural range is from the Arabian Peninsula in the north and Guinea in west Africa east to Ethiopia and south into South Africa. The name for the genus honors the 16th century German botanists Euricius Cordus and his son Valerius Cordus. The specific epithet means "from Africa" and the synonym 'abyssinica' implies that the plant was described as being from Ethiopia. Other common names are, Large-leafed Cordia and Sudan Teak. Though the trunk of this tree is noted as often crooked or curved and the wood very hard so difficulty to cut, its heartwood finishes beautifully so is sought for furniture, veneers and general construction and drums are also made from it; in fact the a drum called "The Akan Drum", the oldest African-American object in the British Museum was made in West Africa in the early 18th century from the wood of this tree and transported to the Colony of Virginia in North America. Our plants from seed collected at the Fullerton Arboretum by arborist Ken Greby who gave it to us under the name Cordia abyssinica. There are some great images of this plant on the the Flora of Zimbabwe website.  The information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens that we have visited. We have also incorporated comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have some additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing  Cordia africana.