The long narrow leaves held in one plane on slightly drooping branches give this tree a distinctive appearance. The leaves are shiny on their upper surface when fresh. This species can grow to a diameter of 50 cm. Another species, Cleistopholis glauca, also occurs in the area.
This is one of the few trees to have two local names in the same language. When it is a small tree it is often given the name for a head strap for carrying heavy loads on one’s back. This is because the bark of the small to medium sized trees can be quickly removed with a couple of machete strokes to make a flexible head strap. As the tree gets larger, however, and the bark is not so easy to make into a head strap, the tree is given its own name.
Sierra Leone to Uganda and Angola.