Black Limba

-Limba, Black-

Terminalia superba


Combretaceae, the combretum family.


Limba grows in savannah and rain forests all over west Africa from Sierra Leone to Angola and the Congo.

Other common names:

Korina, afara, ofram, akom, frake.

The tree:

It is normally a tall tree with a straight bole reaching heights of 130 to 150 ft. with diameters of up to 5 ft. It has large, thin buttresses and the flaky, gray bark is vertically fissured and patchy. The branches are mostly on the upper parts of the tree and are whorled and curly. The alternately arranged leaves only grow towards the ends of the branches and are about 2 in. by 4 in.


Black Limba is gray brown and irregularly streaked with dark brown or black and has a satiny luster. The grain varies from straight to irregular and inerlocked.


Average reported specific gravity is 0.45(ovendry weight/green volume), equal to an air-dried weight of 34 pcf. Janka hardness is 730 pounds of force.

Drying & shrinkage:

It seasons exceptionally fast with little or no warping or checking and is stable once in service. Average reported shrinkage values (green to ovendry) are 4.5% radial, 6.2% tangential and 10.8% volumetric.

Working properties:

It is relatively easy to work with but splits easily when nailed or screwed and should be pre-bored. It stains, polishes and glues well and makes a nice veneer. Possible adverse reactions from the dust and wood include nettle rash, nose and gum bleeding and decrease in lung function. Splinters go septic.


The wood is very susceptible to attack by beetles and termites and special precautions should be taken directly after the tree is cut to prevent deterioration.


It doesn’t have many common uses and is used mostly for decorative plywood paneling.