Millettia grandis, a semi-deciduous tree, reaches 25 m when all is in its favour, but commonly much smaller when growing in shale soils or in the open, away from forests. The tree may branch from low down, the stems often twisted.
The bark is grey to dark grey, in the photo the underbark pale reddish brown where exposed by flaking. The longitudinal fissuring is shallow, allowing thin pieces to flake and fall. Even the thinner, bare stems aren’t quite smooth, although new growth has smooth, brownish surfaces.
The bicoloured wood is heavy, hard and strong; the sapwood is yellow, the heartwood reddish brown to dark brown. This wood features in manufacturing of furniture and implements.
The trees are sometimes planted in rows, closely spaced to serve as windbreaks. Baboons strip and eat the bark, while the roots are powdered and used as a fish poison. Poisonous or not, the plant features in several applications in traditional medicine as well (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Pooley, 1993; www.plantzafrica.com).