African Koa (Anzem)

[Copaifera religiosa]

Native to Western Africa and Central Africa, African Koa grows up to 148 feet tall and more than 6 feet wide, primarily in the dense, lowland rainforests of Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, and Zaire.

Also known as “Anzem,” the indigenous people of Cameroon and Gabon credit the tree with having magical properties and use it to make boxes for ritual purposes. But it’s also relied upon in traditional medicine, often used to treat cardiovascular disease, malaria, headache, stomachache, and cough.

There’s a more practical side to African Koa too. Not only is it used to make perfume, but the resin of the tree is used in torches and for sealing canoes.

An outstandingly beautiful wood, African Koa’s heartwood varies from a light reddish brown to gray brown color with a pinkish hue, often veined with reddish stripes. It’s clearly demarcated from the wide, yellow-white to pale pink sapwood. While the grain is straight to slightly interlocked, it features a medium to fine texture.

Though unrelated to “Hawaiian” Koa, African Koa features a similarly exotic eye appeal — at a more cost-conscious price. Making it a popular choice for wood veneer sheets, custom plywood, furniture, cabinets, light flooring, joinery, interior trim, boxes, and musical instruments.

Species Distribution:

Western Africa
Central Africa

Common / Alternative Names:


Sustainability Status:

CITES Appendices: Not listed
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Not listed

See It In Use