Formerly known as Erythrophleum guineense. This tree species comes from tropical Africa and can grow to a height of 20 m to 30 m. It has a wide-spreading crown of simple pinnate compund leaves. The young leaves are attractive in their coppery colour. Flowers are small, cream and in thick, long bunches. Fruits are flat pods.
In tropical Africa, this tree is known as Ordeal Tree or Red Water Tree. The bark has been used in Africa as an arrow poison. When pounded and soaked in water, the water turns red, thus the name Red Water Tree. The bark was also once used as an ordeal poison among the African tribes as it contains an alkaloid which acts on the heart. Ordeal poisoning was practised with the witch doctor dispensing the poison to the accused. Should the accused die after drinking a portion of the bark in water, he is declared guilty. However, should he survive the ordeal, he is declared innocent.