Nature has its unique way of blowing your mind away. Today we talk about a phenomenal tree that is found mostly in the Southern part of Africa; popularly known as the Bloodwood tree.
The Bloodwood tree, scientifically known as Pterocarpus angolensis, is indigenous to the Southern part of Africa. This tree drips deep red fluid (like humans bleed) when cut. Many refer to it as a magical tree, even though there is scientific backing for this phenomenon; especially since the red sap promotes healing just as blood does for humans.
Taking a thorough look at the red sap, it is realized that it is actually a gum known as “Kino” and the blood-red color is a chemical called tannin; the same ones found in wine. For regular plants, the tannin ranges from 12 to 20 percent but for the Bloodwood tree, its tannin is 77 percent.
Tannins are naturally occurring compounds found in Stems, barks, and seeds. They are the main compounds that cause some plants to be bitter or have color, hence the reason for the deep red fluid of the Bloodwood tree.
Why the Tree is Believed to be Special
The Bloodwood tree has red or dark brown sap that is released whenever there is a cut on the tree or a branch breaks, unlike regular trees that have yellow or white sap. The red sap is redesigned to coagulate and seal wounds.
A beautiful pact of the African culture is their beliefs. Beliefs that guide us with whatever we do; and regarding this amazing tree; some say it is frightening to watch a chopped trunk of the tree dripping the deep red fluid.
While the locals believe that the tree is magical and has healing properties. The branches are used to cure ringworm, sharp pains, malaria, blackwater fever, stomach problems, and eye problems.
Even Breastfeeding mothers are not left out; as they are encouraged to use the sap to increase the production of breast milk. Others make cosmetics out of it, combining it with animal fat to make beauty products.
Where you can find the Bloodwood Tree
The Bloodwood trees have dark-brown rough bark, a beautiful umbrella-shaped spreading crown, and bear yellow flowers. The tree grows 12 to 18 meters tall. Known by various names such as Mukwa, Muniga, and Kiaat. The Bloodwood tree can be found in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Zambia, Mozambique, Namibia, Zaire, and Angola.
Just like many natural resources we have in this beautiful continent called Africa; the Bloodwood trees have become a fascination for tourists and locals, especially because the wood itself is great for producing high-quality furniture. Locals say the tree can easily be carved and easy to work with.
According to reports, it possesses some qualities that make it durable, easy to glue, screw, and takes polish very well. Also, it has the ability to shrink very well during its drying process and this makes it a suitable material for canoes, bathroom floors, and building boats.
Sadly, The “magical” Bloodwood trees are now endangered because of rampant deforestation. In South Africa, the Bloodwood tree has been named a protected tree, meaning anyone found cutting it down illegally will be dealt with by the law.
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