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Colophospermum mopane

Common Names: Mopane, Mupane, Mwane, Chanye, Mpane, Mwaani
Family: Fabaceae (Legume Family) Caesalpinoideae


Growth Form, Habitat and Distribution 
A deciduous tree, usually with a single trunk and upward spreading branches and a fairly narrow crown. Occurs mainly on the heavy sodic clays of the main river valleys and their tributaries below 1,300m, sometimes in pure stands of “gallery” forest. Occasionally in other woodland types and on termite mounds. 

Size     Height: up to 21m, spread 6 to 10m.
Bark    Grey, becoming dark grey-brown, characteristically vertically fissured. Produces a gum when damaged. 
Leaves    Compound, bi-foliate, glossy green with numerous glands producing a turpentine smell when crushed. Leaflets without petiolules resembling butterfly wings (4 to 10cm) with several veins from the base and a vestigial leaflet between them. Petiole 2 to 4cm.
Flowers    Dioecious. Axillary sprays of small, mainly December to March.
Fruit     Golden brown, flat, kidney-shaped pods (3 to 5cm) at the ends of branchlets, ripening the following May to October. The single seed germinates in the pod and has an attractive, convoluted pattern of reddish lines and numerous resin glands. 
Uses    The wood is straw-coloured, very heavy and polished well. The leaves, bark and fruit are favoured by many species. Elephants browse results in large areas of stunted mopane woodland. A larval food plant for Emperor moths/edible mopane worm.
Other species in Zambia: None. One species ranging from Zambia to northern South Africa.

Colophospermum mopane

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