What Is The National Flower of Cameroon?
Red Stinkwood is the national flower of Cameroon. Prunus africana is the scientific name of Red Stinkwood and it is commonly known as Prunus africana is known by the common names African cherry, pygeum (from its former scientific name, Pygeum africanum), iron wood, red stinkwood, African plum, African prune, and bitter almond. P. africana is an important tree for local livelihoods and international trade.
The timber was previously much sought after; because it is straight-grained, quite heavy, hard and strong, with a dark red color and gives a nice polish. It was used for heavy construction such as bridges, decks and flooring and also in the production of poles, carvings, tools and utensils. Other than being native to the country, these provide enough reasons for the Red Stinkwood to be declared as the national flower of Cameroon.
Facts about Cameroon’s National Flower (Red Stinkwood)
- Common Name: Red Stinkwood, African Almond, African Cherry
- Genus: Prunus
- Species: P. africana
- Found in: Montane Tropical, Southern Africa and Madagascar
- Color: pink-ish
- Number of petals: 5
- Time of blooming: November to February
- Purpose: Medicinal, Timber
The national floral symbol of Cameroon, Prunus Africana, is a large, straight, evergreen tree that often grows to around 20 meters in height and occasionally with buttressed roots. Despite a wide natural range, spanning across Africa, this species is over exploited as it is highly sought-after for its medicinal uses. This has led to its threatened status.
P. africana is native to the montane regions of sub-Saharan Africa and the island of Madagascar. It grows in lower, upper and high montane forests, usually in forest gaps or on forest edges generally above 1500 m. The bark of P. africana is green to grey on young trees becoming almost black and flaking raggedly on older trees. Leaves are elliptic, simple, leathery and green, often with reddish petioles. Flowers are arranged in clusters with very small petals, woolly margins and multiple stamens. The fruit is a drupe, red to dark brown when ripe, containing 1 or 2 oval seeds. It requires a moist climate, 900–3,400 mm (35–130 in) annual rainfall, and is moderately frost-tolerant. P. africana appears to be a light-demanding, secondary-forest species.
This species of Prunus has a prolonged history of traditional uses. The bark of the P. africana is used as a remedy to fever, malaria, arrow poison, stomach pain, kidney disease, gonorrhea and insanity. It can also work as an appetite stimulant. The extract of the bark is a herbal remedy that can be used as an alternative medicine for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). This medicinal use of the P.
africana led it to reach international trade. The timber of the plant is also very beneficial to the economy of the country. The timber is a hardwood that is employed in the manufacture of axe and hoe handles, wagons, floors, chopping blocks, bridge decks and furniture. In addition to the excessive use of P. americana in timber and medicinal purposes. It is also an important source of food for frugivorous birds and mammals. As with other members of the genus Prunus, Prunus africana possesses extrafloral nectaries that provide antiherbivore insects with a nutrient source in return for protecting the foliage.
The national flower of Cameroon, red stinkwood (botanically P. africana) is a montane forest species that entered international trade in the 1960s, when it was found to contain a liposoluble complex, which has proved effective in treating prostate gland enlargement. The bark has long been used by traditional healers, but large-scale demand and destructive harvesting have led to serious depletion of wild populations, especially in Cameroon. Prunus africana received international protection as an endangered species in 1997. In addition to displaying stunning beauty, the flowers are immensely valuable to the local economy of the country.