The Bloodwood Tree Got Its Name For Pretty Obvious Reasons
You know how Cardi B sings about “bloody shoes“? Well this… is a bloody tree.
Meet the Bloodwood Tree, the tree from South Africa that actually bleeds when it’s damaged. The tree got its name from the colour of its sap, which is dark red and totally resembles blood.
There are other names for the tree as well. I guess you can’t just call it the bloodwood tree in every situation and expect people to take you seriously. The official name is Pterocarpus Angolensis. It’s also called Kiaat, Muninga, and Mukwa. A less traditional name for it is the original “red sap tree” here in North America.
Where Is Pterocarpus Angolensis Found?
The wood of the bloodwood tree is on its way to extinction. Because of this, it’s a protected tree in the region of South Africa.
The various names for this tree, however, are used throughout the world. In Zimbabwe, for example, depending on what region you’re in, they’ll call the wood Mukwa or Mubvamaropa.
The tree also grows in Eastern Africa, over a wide range of different landscapes. It needs to have the variation of a dry season and a wet season to thrive. The bloodwood tree also grows best in warm environments, free of frost, snow, and too many chilly temperatures.
What’s Up With The Red Tree Sap?
The red tree sap basically performs the same function as human blood. When the tree endures a trauma, such as a cut or even a scratch, it sends the red sap to do healing. Even if you cut the stem of a newer sapling, its dark red sap immediately comes out to cover up the wound.
The tree sap has a lot of uses, most of which were more socially acceptable before the decimation of local populations by over harvesting. It’s super popular with furniture makers, because it’s easy to glue, easy to carve, and screws go in easily and stay well.
The sap of the bloodwood tree is also used for colouring. Some people even mix it with animal fat and use for facial and beauty purposes. Some people believe that it’s beneficial for things like eye problems, stomach aches, a natural remedy for increasing breastmilk, and even topically applied to ringworm.
The purported benefits of the sap and the wood itself have created a dire situation for this tree. The continual harvesting has come close to eliminating its populations in Africa. So let’s hope that people stop buying it and locals stop harvesting it and the bloodwood tree can go on to bleed in happiness and live a long life into the future.
Related: Check out the Kalaloch Beach Tree of Life. It doesn’t bleed but it’s incredible nonetheless.