Native Plants Of Nigeria

Nigeria's varied plant species are used in construction, food, medicine, and decoration. Many are threatened.

There are a variety of different species of plants that are native to the West African nation of Nigeria, a country which is situated along the Gulf of Guinea. Most of the country is tropical and receives a lot of rainfall, but the very northeast part of the country located in the Sahel Savannah is extremely dry. This allows the country to have some contrast in the plants species that grow their. This article will discuss a few of these native plants and their physical characteristics, habitats and their current conservation status and the threats that they face.

African White Mahogany

The African White Mahogany, scientific name Turraeanthus africana, is a species of plant that is part of the Meliaceae Family of flowering plants. The species grows to be around 115 feet (35 meters) tall and its trunk usually has a diameter that is between 2 and 3 feet (0.6 and 0.9 meters) in length. The wood of the tree is usually a creamy white or pale yellow color and the pattern of the wood can have a variety of different looks due to its interlocked wood grain. The bark from this plant is used by the Baka people in the country of Cameroon to stun fish during hunting. The wood from this tree is also commonly used to make veneers that are used in marquetry and panelling. This species of plant is located in tropical rain-forests and is found in a multitude of other African countries in the Guineo-Congolian region of countries that make up West and Central Africa. The African White Mahogany is listed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as being a vulnerable species. The biggest threat the species faces is being cut down for its timber, which is thankfully only taking place at moderate levels, although the species is now rare to find in certain locations.

Light Bosse

The Light Bosse, scientific name Guarea cedrata, is a species of plant that is also part of the Meliaceae Family of plants alongside the African White Mahogany. The Light Bosse is a timber species whose wood is used in a variety of different areas including in boat-building, cabinetry, inlay, flooring, furniture and veneer. The species grows in moist semi-deciduous forest and in the undisturbed drier areas of moist evergreen forests. The species is found in a number of different countries, including Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone and Uganda. The Light Bosse is listed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as being a vulnerable species. The major threats that the species faces are loss of habitat due to burning to clear land for agriculture or homes. The species is also cut down for its wood, although it is often cut down because it is mistaken for the similar looking Entandrophragma angolense plant.

Nganda Coffee

Nganda Coffee, scientific name Coffea canephora, is a species of coffee plant that is part of the flowering plants in Family Rubiaceae. Nganda is one of the two main varieties of the Coffea canephora plant. The plant grows around to be 32.8 feet (10 meters) tall and it flowers infrequency, although when it does it takes between ten to eleven months fro the cherries to ripen on the plant. Once ripened the cherries produce oval shaped beans that are used to produce coffee. The Nganda Coffee plant grows in the forests of Western and Central Africa in countries such as Nigeria, Liberia, Angola and Tanzania. The Nganda Coffee plant has no status on the ICUN Red List, since it has not yet been assessed by the organization.


The Ube, scientific name Dacryodes edulis, is a species of fruit plant that is a member of the Burseraceae Family of plants. The Ube is a evergreen tree that grows to be anywhere between 59 to 131 feet tall (18 to 40 meters) in the wild, but grows to be no taller than 39 feet (12 meters) when cultivated by humans on plantations. The tree has pale grey bark, grows yellow flowers and the fruit the tree produces is dark blue to violet colored, ellipsoidal shaped and grows to be between 1.5 to 4.7 inches (4 to 12 centimeters) long. The Ube tree has a variety of uses starting with its fruit which can be eaten raw, roasted or cooked in water. The skin of the fruit can also be eaten and used once cooked and it the fruit also contains oil that can be extracted and used. The seeds of the fruit can also be used to feed some farm animals. The flowers that the tree produces can also be use in beekeeping. The wood of the tree is usefully for making tool handles and is also used in carpentry and sometimes used for mortars. The tree also is used in a lot of herbal medicines and has a wide range of useful chemical constituents. The Ube is usually found in the humid tropical forests of Africa. It can be found as far west as Sierra Leone, as far north as Nigeria, as far east as Uganda and as far south as Angola. The Ube has no status on the ICUN Red List, since it has not yet been assessed by the organization.

Conservation of Nigeria's Native Flora

There are certain steps that can be taken to try and help support these and other native plants that grow in Nigeria. One can look into organizations in Nigeria, Africa or a international group whose goal it is to help preserve trees that are endangered or who work to replant trees that are cut down for food or timber. Even if one does not donate money, just being better educated on the issues and finding out other ways that you can help trees and plants in Nigeria and around the world makes a big difference.

Native Plants of NigeriaScientific Name
Rogon DajiAmpelocissus africana
African White MahoganyTurraeanthus africana
Purple Plume GrassBothriochloa bladhii
Thollon's StrophanthusStrophanthus thollonii
Nganda CoffeeCoffea canephora
West African Piassava PalmRaphia vinifera
UbeDacryodes edulis
YohimbePausinystalia johimbe
Light BosseGuarea cedrata
African Corkwood TreeMusanga cecropioides

More in Environment