Coula Edulis is a tree in the genus Coula, native to tropical West Africa from Sierra Leone to Angola. It is plentiful in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. It prefers tropical regions and is tolerant of light shade. It can be found in the top canopy of forest as well as the lower story and has no special soil requirements.
It is an evergreen tree growing to a height of 25-38 meters (approx. 82-125 ft.), and has a dense crown that can cast deep shade.
Common names include Gabon Nut, African Walnut, Congowood, Tigerwood. It is not related to the Walnut, being so named because its nuts bear a superficial resemblance to the Walnut.
Every part of the tree is used in both raw and finished states. Its timber and nuts are used extensively. The bark is used locally to produce rinses or enemas for loin pains or kidney problems. The wood is used to make pilings for bridges and railway ties in addition to charcoal and standard construction. It is also used for furniture and cabinetwork construction, decorative veneers, paneling, fixtures and joinery.
African Walnut – Technical Info
The wood is bronze-colored, with irregular lines of dark gray, yellow, green and brown, which is how the name Tigerwood was derived. It is extremely hard, heavy, close-grained, and resists water well, making it a valuable hardwood. Increasing that value is the fact that it can come in large sizes, has an attractive appearance and easy to shape with tools.
African walnut is not very expensive (a little more than maple), and very common, but there is a difference between trunks of different trees which might impede furniture planning – it’s important to always see the boards and carefully choose (whether the planner or the woodworker) the raw materials for each project. Some very interestingly patterned veneers can be made from African walnut, or else, a pattern less section of the tree can be isolated and made into a light, pattern less veneer.