African Jungle Plants

Updated April 17, 2017

Tropical African rainforests and jungles are home to an array of trees and plants. Africa's rainforest has an estimated 8,000 different plant species, according to the Public Broadcasting Service. The Congo rainforest in central Africa is the second-largest in the world and has such a vast amount of plants that scientists have only indentified about 10 per cent of them.

Oil Palm

Elaeis guineensis, the "Oil Palm," is a tree that originated in west and central Africa and accounts for approximately 14 per cent of the world's plant oils. The "Oil Palm" produces fruit that is reddish orange and has a soft, fleshy outer skin with a shell and kernel inside that contains the palm oil. This is used in producing goods such as soaps, washing powders, candles, chocolates and cosmetics.


Khaya senegalensis "Mahogany," also known as "African Mahogany," "Senegal Mahogany," "Dry Zone Mahogany," or "Cailcedrat," produces one of the most commercially popular woods. It has a coarse grain, which makes it resistant to termites and a valued product for furniture, staircases, boat building, house flooring and panelling. The rainforest tribes use the bark from mahogany to treat the common cold, and use the oil from its seed to kill insects.


Aucoumea klaineana, also known as "Angouma" or "Gaboon," Okoume is a tree that can only be found in central Africa. It is a hardwood tree that grows 90-130 feet. Okoume produces a high-quality, lightweight wood and serves many foreign markets, in particular Italy, France, Israel and Japan. They use it to make veneer, sawn timber and plywood.


"Rosewood" (Pterocarpus indicus Willd) is native to the tropical rainforests of Madagascar. Its name is derived from its sweet, floral fragrance and its reddish colour when cut. Due to the high quality and physical beauty of rosewood timber, furnituremakers often use it in the production of furniture, boat building, flooring, ornaments, and also musical instruments, due to its fine acoustic and tonal qualities.

Tabernanthe Iboga

Tabernanthe iboga is a small shrub which grows in central Africa and consists of yellow to red berries and tiny fragrant flowers. It is most popularly known for its psychoactive properties, the substance ibogaine that is found in this plant is known to stimulate the senses and produce feelings of euphoria and relaxation. The root bark was also used in religious initiation ceremonies however it is illegal in the United States and many countries in Europe, as it is classed as a hallucinogenic drug. Ibogaine is also toxic in high doses.

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