Botanical Name

Tieghemella Heckelii

Other Common Names

African Cherry, Baku, Babu, Abaku, Cherry Mahogany, Douka


Found from Sierra Leone to Cameroon, Gabon, and south to Cabinda; widely distributed in the high rain forests.

The Tree

Reaches a height of 180 to 200 ft; boles straight, cylindrical, and clear to 100 ft, free of buttresses; trunk diameters generally about 4 ft but may be up to 10 ft.


Heartwood pink to pink- or red brown; sapwood 2 to 3 in. wide, whitish or light pink, clearly demarcated.


Texture fine to medium; grain generally straight; lustrous; often found with an attractive mottle, curly, wavy and moire figures. Liable to stain in contact with iron when damp.

Working Properties

A high silica content causes blunting of cutting edges, particularly in dry wood; works reasonably well with hand and machine tools, good veneering properties, finishes well, good gluing properties. Fine dust may irritate nose and throat or cause dermatitis.


Furniture, cabinetwork, joinery, decorative veneers, paneling, boatbuilding, flooring, turnery, marine plywood.


Should be moderately priced for an import. Likely to be on par with other common African hardwoods such as Padauk or African Mahogany. Boards with figured grain patterns are likely to be much more expensive.