Eucalyptus and gervaria are the most common tree species grown across Rwanda mostly providing firewood, and construction and other wood work supplies.
With the growing demand for quality furniture products because of the rising elitist class, Land owners in Rwanda should consider adopting the Maesopsis eminii tree commonly known in Swahili as Msizi tree.
Msizi is a large tree found in East, Central and West Africa in rain forest and riverine forest. It grows to a height of up to 30 metres with a clear bole up to 10 m.
Apart from providing quality timber, this Msizi tree can be widely distributed in forest regrowth and secondary regrowth. It is remarkably long lived for a pioneer species, attaining over 150 years
In an experiment, Taarifa investigative team prepared a seedbed and planted 100 seeds on Christmas day, germination has just started this March. The seeds were picked from a giant Msizi tree in Rwamagana district, it is not known for how long the seeds had been on ground.
According to Agroforestry scientists, Msizi Seeds remain dormant for up to at least 200 days.
Germination is not triggered by light but appears to be affected by lunar cycles and enhanced soil humidity promotes early germination.
Timber: The sapwood is light coloured, heartwood brownish-olive to dark red, soft and light with a coarse grain. Wood density varies from 0.38 to 0.48 g/cubic cm.
The wood dries rapidly, but logs have a tendency to split during felling and storage.
The wood saws and machines easily, and its high absorbency makes it easy to treat with preservatives but difficult to finish.
Msizi wood is used in poles, boxes, crates, millwork, plywood, corestock and lumber construction.
Untreated wood is vulnerable to termites and decays in contact with the ground or continual moisture.
Lipids: Analyses of Msizi seed from Karnataka, India, indicate that they contain 40-50% of an edible oil, the main components of which are stearic acid, oleic acid and linoleic acid.
Medicine: A strong purgative and diuretic can be made by soaking the bark in cold water. The root bark is beaten with clay and used to treat gonorrhoea.