Milicia excelsa and M. regia (Moraceae)

Milicia excelsa and M. regia (Moraceae) wood colour
Milicia excelsa and M. regia (Moraceae) wood grain

Very Durable

Slightly Workable

Price Rating:

Material Grade:

640 kg/m3

Typical Tree Height:

Trunk Diameter:

Length Ranges:
1.8 - 4.8m

Width Ranges:


Kiln dried Iroko

The yellowish-white sapwood in Iroko Wood is clearly differentiated from the heartwood, which is golden-orange to brown. Deposits of calcium carbonate with darker wood around them are often present. Yellow bands of soft tissue can show a zigzag pattern, and lighter lines can be seen on flat, sawn surfaces. The grain of Iroko is moderately interlocked, with a fairly coarse and even texture. Iroko is often used as a substitute for teak (Tectona grandis), very durable and can be left to weather naturally to go a silver/grey

We recommend Iroko for use as: Windows, doors, external joinery and mouldings.
Iroko on the wood database Further reading on Iroko timber:
If you would like to read a full profile specification on Iroko timber, please visit our sister site, Any One wood, The online wood reference database.

Material Type:

Also Called:
Kambala, Mokongo, Lusanga, Moreira, Tule, Rokko, Intule, Odum,

Durability Notes:
Although the heartwood of Iroko has a high natural resistance to decay, it can be vulnerable to attack from dry-wood insects. The sapwood can be attacked by the powder-beetle. Resistant to preservative treatment, which is not, however, normally required. Good, naturally oily hardwood, ideal for areas of high exposure. Needs to be de-oiled before decoration with methylated spirit

The drying and seasoning of Iroko is dependant on a number of factors; the speed in which it is processed after felling and logging, the method of drying and the specific kilns or location (if air dried). Generally the care taken by those processing the wood will have an impact on its drying and seasoning. As an overview; Iroko - The wood dries well and fairly quickly, with little impact on the grade and quality of the wood. There can be slight checking and distortion. The wood is expected to move very little in service. Please note that all wood is liable to move when in service plus there can be dimensional change. The extent of this will depend on; the stability of the species itself, the conditions it is exposed to, the coating, decoration and protection. You will find more information about the suitability of this wood, for any proposed application, by using our interactive system and the filters shown.

Iroko has medium density and a tolerable steam-bending rating. It works adequately with hand tools. Tolerable to severe blunting effect on cutting edges. Planing, turning and moulding - the results are generally good. Interlocked grain can cause tearing and the mineral deposits can blunt cutters rapidly. It glues, nails and stains well and screws, varnishes and paints adequately. Naturally oily, Iroko, needs to be de-oiled with methylated spirit before painting. Iroko can be brought to a high gloss finish after filling.

Typical Uses:
Furniture, interiors and exterior joinery, carving, mouldings; boatbuilding, shipbuilding, piles and other marine work; laboratory benches, factory and parquet flooring. Also plywood, wall panelling and decorative veneer.

Spiritual Properties:
The tree is feared in some cultures where it originates for example - Yoruba people believe that the tree is inhabited by a spirit and any man who cuts down any Iroko tree causes misfortune on himself and all of his family.

Moisture Content:
14-18% KD

Possible Health Risks:
Dermatitis, furunculosis, asthma, nettle rash. Dust is fine and can cause respiratory problems.

Considered lower risk/near threatened by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (this was last assessed in 1998 and considerable changes in awareness and more stringent forestry controls may have had an impact and the results of the latest assessment are due soon) for more information and latest updates please visit and type in the botanical name of the species into the search box. It should also be noted that one unintentional shortcoming of the Red List is that it only considers the risk of extinction; broader issues dealing with habitat destruction or deforestation are not considered. Also, it does not necessarily take into account the maturity of the trees (i.e., centuries-old trees are cut down, and subsequently replanted with saplings) Therefore we hope that further assessments will consider this long term commitment to re-growth.The reason Iroko is at risk is due to a number of factors; suffers from heavy exploitation. East Africa was once a major source of the timber, which was used as a teak substitute until supplies, became short. West Africa continues to export large quantities of it. Some sub-populations suffer from gall attacks, especially in plantations, and its seed loses viability quickly.

Wood Worker's Thoughts:
Hard to work due to density and tight grain. Cross graining issues can occur in finishing and moves during cutting. It is a naturally oily timber which enhances it's durability and performance when exposed. If choosing to paint or stain de-oiling the timber is recommended with methylated spirit or similar.


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