African Blackwood or Mpingo (Dalbergia melanoxylon) is a flowering plant in the family Fabaceae, native to seasonally dry regions of Africa from Senegal east to Eritrea and south to the Transvaal in South Africa.
It is a small tree, reaching 4-15 m tall, with grey bark and spiny shoots. The leaves are deciduous in the dry season, alternate, 6-22 cm long, pinnate, with 6-9 alternately arranged leaflets. The flowers are white, produced in dense clusters. The fruit is a pod 3-7 cm long, containing one to two seeds.
Due to overuse, the mpingo tree is severely threatened in Kenya and needing attention in Tanzania and Mozambique. The trees are being harvested at an unsustainable rate, partly because of illegal smuggling of the wood into Kenya, but also because the tree takes upwards of 60 years to mature.
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