Vitex keniensis Turrill [Syn: V. balbi Chiov.] VERBENACEAE.


Names: Meru Oak (trade name); Muuru, Muhuru, Moru (Kikuyu).

Description: Tree 12-35m with long clear bole; bark grey, slightly fissured. Leaves 5-foliate; leaflets elliptic, base often unequal, apex short-acuminate, terminal leaflet 9-21 by 3.5-10cm; slightly sandpapery above, densely pubescent beneath. Flowers white or purplish, with largest lobe dark mauve, in axillary dichasia 12-18cm long; flowers 7-8mm long. Fruit black, ellipsoid, 13-16mm long.

Occurrence: Moist evergreen forest, 1500-1850masl on the eastern slopes of Mt. Kenya and possibly Taita Hills.

Use: timber is hard and durable, pale brown with darker heartwood and handsome wavy grain. Much prized for high quality furniture, panelling and veneer. Wood yellows somewhat as it ages.