Celtis africana (Bekele-Tesemma, 2007)

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Ceiba pentandra
Bekele-Tesemma, Useful trees and shrubs for Ethiopia, 2007
Celtis africana (Bekele-Tesemma, 2007)
Celtis toka

Celtis africana Ulmaceae Indigenous

Common names

  • English: White stinkwood
  • Agewgna: Equa
  • Amargna: Amlaka, Kawoot
  • Kefgna: Shishu
  • Oromugna: Amalaqqa, Cheke, Meteqamma
  • Sidamigna: Shishu
  • Somaligna: Bodar, Kidi
  • Tigrigna: Haua, Hamat, Reway


A tree with a very wide range of habitats. It is common in dry evergreen, semi‑arid or semi‑humid lower highland forest. Grows well in Dry and Moist Kolla and Weyna Dega agroclimatic zones in all regions, 1,300–2,300 m.


Firewood, timber (local construction, farm implements), tool handles, fodder (leaves), shade.


A deciduous forest tree about 12 m but reaching 35 m, with a spreading crown.

  • BARK: Smooth, grey often marked with horizontal rings. Young shoots have rustcoloured hairs.
  • LEAVES: Clearly 3-veined from the base of the oval leaves, rough and dull green above, hairs on veins below, edge toothed over top two thirds, base a little unequal, tip drawn out and pointed.
  • FLOWERS: Very small, greenish, on thin stalks, in clusters beside leaves, female flowers above male flowers on the stalk.
  • FRUIT: Yellow or orange, round and hairy, less than 1 cm on stalks about 2 cm long, hard seeds inside.


Seedlings and wildings.


Fruit must be collected from the tree before they release the seed. The right time is when the fruits turn from yellow to brownish. They are then dried in the sun and the seed extracted through shaking when the drupes open. Germination within 60 days. 17,000 seeds per kg.

  • Treatment: Not necessary, but soaking in cold water for 24 hours may hasten germination.
  • Storage: Seed can be stored for some time if kept in airtight containers.


Side pruning.


The timber rots and splits easily, but is very strong and, with proper seasoning, makes good useful for tool handles and building. Animals, including cattle, eat the leaves while fruits are important in the diet of black and white colobus monkeys.