CVP Trees



Notes from the UNAFAS CVP tree nursery, on how to germinate and nurse useful tree species of Cameroon



Many of Cameroon 's native tree species that have socio-economic value still tend to be harvested from the wild rather than cultivated. Farmers sometimes encourage (by not clearing them, and by weeding) seedlings of species like njangsanga, country onion, bush mango and mahogany that germinate naturally on their land, but it is rare for someone to actively cultivate these trees. People are accustomed to collecting certain products from the bush but are not yet used to planting and farming them. The question we ask is 'Why trek far into the bush to harvest from individual scattered trees when you could be growing the same thing conveniently on the farm?' Sometimes they know of the species or product as originating elsewhere, or currently coming from elsewhere (sometimes because it has become rare locally) and believe that it won't grow in their area. The conditions - climate, soils, altitude, in many areas of Cameroon will support a wider range of tree crops than most farmers are aware. Sometimes people just haven't thought about planting, sometimes they have but don't know how. UNAFAS CVP has been researching, informing and helping people to appreciate how they can, easily, manage and make better use of the trees that they know.

- There are native economic tree species that are good for planting in areas with an abundance of land, even as plantation crops, as well as species that can be planted on farms without disturbing other crops (agro forestry).

- There are slow and faster growing timber species can be planted for long and medium term harvesting. There are species that produce spices, fuel wood, fodder, food, medicinal and other commercial products that generate income within a few years. There are species that improve the soil, protect against pests and erosion, protect water catchments, while generating profit at the same time - plus of course there are ornamental and shade trees.

UNAFAS CVP has been researching, holding seminars and promoting these ideas with farmers, schools and community leaders, and helping those who are interested to start making more use of trees.


The CVP nursery

The CVP nursery was started in 2006, to experiment and learn how to germinate and grow some of these economic tree species with potential to help North West Province. Many native forest species are tricky to germinate and nurse. Bitter kola seeds for example can take from a month to more than a year before they start germinating, and even then grow very, very slowly, giving the impression if one is at all anxious, that they are in fact not growing at all. Some species require that the seeds are dug and turned over regularly to maintain germination, some need to be protected from pests. Some only germinate when exposed to the sun. Without knowing these things people often become frustrated or disinterested and abandon attempts to produce and cultivate such trees.

Some seeds have their tricks, and so do some seedlings. Seedlings of different ages and sizes can be sensitive to different things, some die in pots during the wet season if there is too much water ; some require exposure to sunshine, not shade ; some are susceptible to aphid or ant attack ; some have delicate roots that can't be transplanted when young. These are all very typical horticultural and sylvicultural issues, but which are not known or not widely known for many of the trees we are growing and have not yet, as have the ways of cultivating yams, plantains and local crops, entered folk knowledge that is spread by word of mouth in farming communities.

Our Notes from the CVP Tree Nursery record some of the learning from our experiments and observations, and advice that we include in training sessions and have been told that people find helpful in their own nurseries. Our intention in sharing this is to encourage others to cultivate, profit from and value Cameroon 's trees. Some species not native to Cameroon are included because people have requested seedlings of these, and information on how to grow them. Surprisingly some of these are relatively easy to grow and not uncommon, yet many do not know how to produce them and want to. Additionally, we have found that nursing such species, ornamentals like Jacaranda or the 'Christmas tree' for example often catalyses more ambitious projects.

Complete Notes from the CVP Tree Nursery are available from [email protected]


If you need help getting seeds e-mail us - [email protected]


Read or download notes on how to germinate and nurse a species by clicking on it's common name in the index of species below

View photographs by clicking on the tree's scientific name, below.






Lophira alata




Sterculia oblonga



Bitter kola

Garcinai kola



Bush mango

Irvingia species



Bush onion

Afrostrax species




Khaya senegalensis




Baphia nitida




Anacardium occidentale



Christmas tree*

Terminalia mantaly



Four corners / sweet achu spice

Tetrapleura tetraptera



Gum Arabic

Acacia senegalense




Milicia excelsa




Jacaranda mimosifolia




Entandrophragma species




Azadiracha indica




Ricinodendron heudelotii



Sausage tree

Kigelia Africana



Yellow bark

Annickia chlorantha





detailed descriptions of the mature trees (height, shape, etc), growing conditions and limits, tree management, uses, pests and diseases, for these and many other species is available at


*not native of Cameroon

© Copyright UNAFAS, 2008, Yaoundé, Cameroon