Gmelina arborea (Bekele-Tesemma, 2007)

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Gardenia volkensii
Bekele-Tesemma, Useful trees and shrubs for Ethiopia, 2007
Gmelina arborea (Bekele-Tesemma, 2007)
Grevillea robusta

Gmelina arborea Verbenaceae South Asia

Common names

  • English: White teak


Found naturally in moist forests of South Asia to China. Now a useful tree planted worldwide, 0–1,200 m. Grows in Moist and Wet Kolla agroclimatic zones especially in the western part of Ethiopia, 400–1,400 m. It prefers a hot and humid climate.


Firewood, charcoal, timber (furniture, tools), poles, fodder (leaves, fruit), bee forage, shade, ornamental, windbreak.


A deciduous tree which may reach 18 m, but usually smaller; the crown fairly open.

  • BARK: Pale cream when young, greyyellow- brown with age, corky and rough.
  • LEAVES: Large, heart-shaped to 20 cm, tip pointed, shiny above, pale and hairy below, on a stalk to 12 cm.
  • FLOWERS: In clusters to 30 cm long, orange-yellow, each flower bell-shaped. Abundant nectar attracts bees.
  • FRUIT: Orange-yellow, egg shaped to 2.5 cm, containing a stone with 1–4 seeds inside.


Seedlings, direct sowing at site, cuttings.


Germination 40–80 % in 20—50 days under good conditions. 2,500–3,000 seed per kg.

  • Treatment: Soak in cold water for 24 hours.
  • Storage: Seed can be stored for a year without loss of viability.


It is fast growing and moderately drought resistant once established. Protect young trees from livestock. Pruning, lopping, coppicing. Coppices well when young but older stumps less so.


Young trees do not compete well with weeds. Established trees compete with crops and should not be grown near farms.