Prunus africana


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Prunus africana
Species Authority: (Hook.f.) Kalkman
Common Name(s):
English Red Stinkwood, African Cherry, African Almond
Pygeum africanum Hook.f.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A1cd ver 2.3
Year Published: 1998
Date Assessed: 1998-01-01
Needs updating
Assessor(s): World Conservation Monitoring Centre
An unofficial appeal against this listing was published in The Plants of Mount Cameroon. A Conservation Checklist by Martin Cheek (1998). In this he argues that the species is not remotely in danger of extinction, so long as some montane forest survives somewhere within its enormous range. He suggests a rating of LR/nt at best. Further consultation with all parties concerned is required.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Montane Africa (to East and South Africa) and Madagascar. This species is one of about ten Pan-African montane tree species (including e.g., Agauria salicifolia, Ilex mitis and Myrica arborea) and is not remotely in danger of extinction, so long as some montane forest survives somewhere within its enormous range.
Angola (Angola); Burundi; Cameroon; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Equatorial Guinea (Bioko); Ethiopia; Kenya; Lesotho; Madagascar; Mozambique; Rwanda; Sao Tomé and Principe (Sâo Tomé); South Africa (Eastern Cape Province, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo Province, Mpumalanga); South Sudan; Sudan; Swaziland; Tanzania, United Republic of; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Locally it can be very common.

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Montane forest, usually at about 1800-2200 m alt.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Harvesting of bark for the European medicinal market. On Mt Cameroon as with some other areas within the range of this species, many trees have died as a result of girdling caused by bark removal. The bark from the trees on Mt Cameroon is transported to the Plantecam factory at Mutengene where it is extracted to produce a powder for export to a company in France. A great deal of attention, and funding has been paid by International Conservation organizations to investigate and address this harvest and perhaps for this reason the species has received a high conservation rating. In the opinion of this author, it merits a "Lower Risk, near threatened" at best.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The Mt. Cameroon Project has already conducted a detailed survey of this species on the mountain and has been energetic in developing methods for propagating and replanting it.

Bibliography [top]

Beentje, H.J. 1994. Kenya Trees, Shrubs and Lianas. National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya.

Cable, S. and Cheek, M. (compilers and editors) 1998. The Plants of Mount Cameroon, A Conservation Checklist. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Cunningham, A.B. 1991. Development of a conservation policy on commercially exploited medicinal plants: a case study from southern Africa. In: O. Akerele, V. Heywood and H. Synge (eds) Conservation of medicinal plants, pp.337-358. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Cunningham, A.B. and Mbenkum, F.T. 1993. Sustainability of harvesting Prunus africana bark in Cameroon. People and Plants Working Paper 2:1-28.

Friis, I. 1992. Forests and forest trees of Northeast Tropical Africa. Their natural habitats and distribution patterns in Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia. HMSO, Middlesex, UK.

Hutchinson, J., Dalziel, J.M. and Hepper, F.N. 1927. Flora of West Tropical Africa. Published by the English Ministry of State for the Colonies.

Katende, A.B. 1995. Annotations to: WCMC printout of Trees of Uganda dated 23 Nov. 1995.

Okullo, J.B. et al. 1997. Completed data collection forms for woody plants of Uganda.

Oldfield, S., Lusty, C. and MacKinven, A. (compilers). 1998. The World List of Threatened Trees. World Conservation Press, Cambridge, UK.

Songwe, C. 1990. Revised preliminary list of timbers of Cameroon with conservation categories.

Citation: World Conservation Monitoring Centre 1998. Prunus africana. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 03 September 2015.
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