Nigeria is a country with diverse ecological zones that support different species of trees.
Fast-growing trees are of particular importance to meet the growing demands of timber and wood products, as well as for ecological benefits such as soil erosion control, carbon sequestration, and biodiversity conservation.
In this context, it is essential to identify and promote fast-growing tree species that are suitable for different regions of Nigeria.
15 Fastest Growing Trees In Nigeria
There are numerous kinds of trees that can be grown in Nigeria. However, in this guide, we are concerned with providing you with a comprehensive guide on 15 fast-growing trees in Nigeria for anyone interested in tree planting and forest restoration in Nigeria.
The list of fastest growing trees in Nigeria and Africa are Neem Tree, African Locust Beans Tree, Frangipani Tree, Iroko Tree, Mango Tree, African Walnut Tree, Gmelina Tree, African Rubber Tree, Hybrid Poplar, Spanish Cedar Tree, Moringa Tree, Weeping Fig, Palm Tree, Teak, and African Mahogany.
#1. Neem Tree
The Neem tree, also known as Azadirachta indica, is a fast-growing evergreen tree native to India but widely grown in Nigeria for its medicinal and economic benefits, ranging from its medicinal properties to its economic uses.
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The tree is characterized by its small, white fragrant flowers and bitter fruits that are used for various purposes such as making medicines, cosmetics, pesticides, and fertilizers.
The Neem tree is also popularly used for shade and its wood for fuel, timber, and charcoal. Also, the fast growth rate of the Neem tree makes it an ideal choice for farmers and landowners looking to establish a profitable and sustainable agroforestry system.
With a growth rate of up to 2 meters per year, the Neem tree can reach up to 15 meters in height within a span of 5 to 7 years, making it a valuable addition to agroforestry systems in Nigeria.
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#2. African Locust Beans Tree
African Locust Beans Tree, also known as Parkia biglobosa, is a fast-growing tree that is native to Africa, including Nigeria.
It is a drought-resistant tree that can grow up to 25 meters tall and has a broad canopy. The tree’s leaves are evergreen, and its flowers are small and yellowish.
The fruit of the African Locust Beans Tree is a long, flat pod that contains seeds that are used in various ways.
The African Locust Beans Tree is highly valued for its edible seeds, which are a traditional food source in many African countries, including Nigeria.
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The seeds are rich in nutrients, including protein, fat, and carbohydrates, and are often used in soups and stews.
The tree is also used in traditional medicine, with various parts of the tree being used to treat a variety of ailments.
African Locust Beans Trees have a moderate growth rate, and they can reach maturity in about 10 to 15 years.
The tree is known for its ability to fix nitrogen in the soil, making it an important species for agroforestry and reforestation projects.
The tree also has other environmental benefits, such as providing shade and shelter for animals, and helping to prevent soil erosion.
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#3. Frangipani Tree
The Frangipani tree, also known as Plumeria, is a fast-growing deciduous tree native to tropical regions of Central and South America.
In Nigeria, it is commonly found in gardens, parks, and along roadsides. The tree can grow up to 7-8 meters tall, with a spread of 6-7 meters.
It has thick succulent branches that are light gray in color and smooth bark. The leaves are dark green and clustered near the branch tips.
The Frangipani tree is known for its fragrant, colorful flowers that come in various hues of pink, yellow, white, and red. It takes about 3-5 years to reach full maturity.
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The Frangipani tree is often used in traditional medicine as its bark and sap contain alkaloids that have anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anti-cancer properties.
It is also used in perfumes, oils, and cosmetics. The tree’s wood is soft and not durable, so it is not used for commercial purposes.
In Nigeria, the Frangipani tree is planted for its ornamental value and used as a shade tree. It is also believed to have spiritual significance in some cultures.
Despite its beauty, the Frangipani tree is toxic if ingested and should be handled with care.
#4. Iroko Tree
As one of the most iconic trees in Nigeria, the Iroko tree (Chlorophora excelsa) is known for its towering height, massive trunk, and high-quality timber.
It can grow up to 60 meters tall and have a trunk diameter of over two meters. The Iroko tree is also known for its longevity, with a lifespan of up to 500 years.
Iroko trees grow relatively fast, with an average growth rate of about 2 meters per year. It typically takes about 20-30 years for an Iroko tree to reach maturity and start producing its valuable timber.
The wood is used for a variety of purposes, including building construction, furniture making, and boat building.
Aside from its economic value, the Iroko tree also has cultural significance. In Yoruba mythology, the Iroko tree is believed to be a sacred tree inhabited by spirits, and it is often used as a meeting place for community gatherings.
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#5. Mango Tree
Mango trees are a popular and fast-growing tree in Nigeria. They are native to the Indian subcontinent and are grown for their juicy, sweet fruits.
Mango trees are evergreen, with a dense and spreading canopy that provides shade.
They have a lifespan of up to 100 years and can grow up to 40 meters tall, with a trunk diameter of up to 1.5 meters.
The growth rate of a mango tree varies depending on the variety and growing conditions, but it can take up to 10 years for a tree to reach full maturity and start bearing fruit.
Mango trees are widely cultivated in Nigeria for their fruits, which are consumed fresh or processed into juice, jam, and other products. The wood is also used for making furniture, charcoal, and as fuelwood.
#6. African Walnut Tree
The African Walnut tree, also known as Tetracarpidium conophorum, is a fast-growing deciduous tree native to Africa.
The tree can reach up to 35 meters in height and has a broad canopy of leaves. The African Walnut tree grows well in well-drained soils with good sunlight and can grow up to 1 meter per year.
It has multiple uses, including as a source of timber, fuelwood, and medicine. The African Walnut tree typically reaches full maturity within 10 to 15 years, and its nuts are a valuable source of protein and oil.
The tree is also known to have cultural significance in certain African communities.
#7. Gmelina Tree
Gmelina arborea, commonly known as the Gmelina tree, is a fast-growing tree species that is native to Nigeria and other tropical regions.
It is a deciduous tree that grows up to 30 meters tall, with a straight trunk and a rounded crown. The bark of the Gmelina tree is greyish-brown and smooth, while the leaves are simple, broad, and glossy green in color.
The Gmelina tree has a fast growth rate of up to 2 meters per year, and it can reach full maturity in about 10 to 12 years.
The Gmelina tree has a wide range of uses in Nigeria. The wood of the tree is used in furniture making, construction, and paper production.
The leaves and bark of the Gmelina tree have medicinal properties and are used to treat various ailments such as fever, inflammation, and cough.
The tree also provides shade and helps to reduce soil erosion. Additionally, the Gmelina tree has the ability to fix nitrogen in the soil, which helps to improve soil fertility.
To plant Gmelina trees, it is important to choose a site with well-drained soil and adequate sunlight. The trees can be propagated through seeds or stem cuttings.
Regular pruning and thinning of the trees are recommended to promote healthy growth and to prevent overcrowding.
The Gmelina tree is a valuable resource for Nigeria, and its fast growth rate makes it a promising species for reforestation and afforestation efforts.
#8. African Rubber Tree
The African rubber tree, also known as Funtumia elastica, is a fast-growing tree species in Nigeria that is highly valued for its rubber content.
This tree species can reach a height of 30-40 meters and a diameter of 1.5 meters at maturity. It has smooth, gray bark and glossy leaves that are arranged in a spiral pattern.
The African rubber tree has a moderate growth rate, with an average annual growth of 0.5-1 meter. It can reach full maturity in about 15-20 years.
The African rubber tree is primarily cultivated for its rubber, which is extracted from the latex found in its bark. The rubber is used for making various products such as tires, footwear, gloves, and other rubber-based products.
Additionally, the African rubber tree has medicinal properties and is used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments such as wounds, fever, and stomach problems.
#9. Hybrid Poplar
Hybrid Poplar, scientifically known as Populus deltoides x Populus nigra, is a fast-growing tree that can grow up to 5 to 8 feet per year.
This deciduous tree is widely planted in Nigeria due to its versatility and rapid growth rate. The Hybrid Poplar has a straight trunk and a conical shape, with glossy green leaves that turn yellow in autumn.
It reaches a height of up to 50-60 feet and has a spread of about 30 feet at full maturity.
This tree is a great choice for those looking to establish a screen for privacy, as well as to reduce energy costs by providing shade during hot weather.
The Hybrid Poplar is also a popular choice for farmers as it can be planted in rows and harvested for firewood.
It takes about 5-6 years for the Hybrid Poplar to reach full maturity, making it a great option for those looking for a quick-growing tree.
#10. Spanish Cedar Tree
The Spanish Cedar tree, also known as Cedrela odorata, is a fast-growing tree that is native to South and Central America, but is also found in parts of Nigeria.
This tree can grow up to 30 meters tall, with a trunk that can reach a diameter of up to 2 meters.
The Spanish Cedar has a straight, cylindrical trunk and a pyramidal canopy with spreading branches. It has a light brown to pinkish-brown color and a fine texture.
The Spanish Cedar tree can grow up to 3 meters per year, reaching maturity in around 10 to 15 years. It is often used for timber due to its straight trunk and durability.
It is also used for making furniture, doors, musical instruments, and other wood-based products.
The tree is also known for its insect-repelling properties, and its wood is often used to make storage chests and cabinets to protect clothes from moths and other insects.
Additionally, the Spanish Cedar is also used in traditional medicine for various ailments, including fever and rheumatism.
#11. Moringa Tree
Moringa tree, also known as the “miracle tree,” is a fast-growing tree that has gained popularity in Nigeria due to its nutritional and medicinal benefits.
The tree can grow up to 10 feet in a year and reach a height of 20-30 feet within three years. The Moringa tree has a slender trunk with a crown of delicate, fern-like leaves that are edible and highly nutritious.
The tree is also used for medicinal purposes as various parts of the tree have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
The Moringa tree is also used in agriculture as it improves soil fertility and acts as a natural pesticide.
It is a valuable source of food and income for small farmers and rural communities in Nigeria.
#12. Weeping Fig
The Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina) is a fast-growing tree that is native to Southeast Asia and Australia but can thrive in Nigeria’s tropical climate.
It can grow up to 50 feet tall and has glossy, oval-shaped leaves that can be variegated with white or yellow spots.
The tree produces small figs that attract birds and wildlife. Weeping figs are often used as ornamental trees in gardens, parks, and along roadsides due to their elegant appearance and shade-giving capacity.
They are also used in indoor landscaping and as bonsai trees. Weeping figs can take up to 20 years to reach full maturity but can grow up to 2 feet per year under favorable conditions.
#13. Palm Tree
Palm trees are a common sight in Nigeria due to their abundance and usefulness. They have long, slender trunks that can reach up to 20 meters in height and are topped with a crown of large, fan-shaped leaves.
The growth rate of palm trees varies depending on the species, with some varieties growing up to 3 meters per year.
The trunks can be used for construction, and the sap can be tapped for palm wine. It can take up to 4-6 years for a palm tree to reach full maturity and start producing fruit, but once they do, they can be productive for up to 30 years.
In addition to their economic value, palm trees also provide shade and are a popular ornamental plant in gardens and public spaces.
Teak (Tectona grandis) is a fast-growing tree species found in Nigeria. It is known for its durability, high-quality wood, and beautiful grains.
The tree can grow up to 40 meters in height and 1.5 meters in diameter. It has a straight trunk and a conical crown with dense foliage.
Teak is a valuable timber species, and its wood is used in various applications such as furniture, flooring, and construction. The tree is also used for shade and ornamental purposes.
The teak tree grows at a moderate pace, and it takes about 25-30 years for it to reach full maturity. However, with proper care and management, it can attain maturity in as little as 15-20 years.
Teak requires well-drained soils and plenty of sunlight to grow. It can tolerate drought, but it requires regular watering during the initial stages of growth.
Teak can also be grown in a variety of soils, including loamy, sandy, and clay soils. However, it thrives best in soils that are rich in organic matter.
#15. African Mahogany
African Mahogany (Khaya senegalensis) is a large and fast-growing deciduous tree species that is native to the West African region.
It is commonly found in Nigeria, Cameroon, and Ghana, among other countries. The tree can reach up to 30-40 meters in height, with a straight trunk and a broad, rounded crown.
The bark is smooth and grayish-brown, while the leaves are pinnate and glossy. The African Mahogany produces fragrant flowers that are pinkish-red in color, and its fruit is a capsule that contains winged seeds.
The African Mahogany is a highly valuable tree species that has numerous uses. Its timber is highly sought after for furniture making, interior finishing, and construction purposes due to its attractive color, durability, and resistance to decay.
The tree is also used for medicinal purposes, as the bark and roots contain compounds that are believed to have healing properties.
Additionally, the African Mahogany is used for shade, erosion control, and as an ornamental tree in parks and gardens.
The African Mahogany is a fast-growing tree that can reach a height of 10-15 meters in just 5-7 years under optimal conditions.
It typically takes around 20-30 years for the tree to reach maturity, although this may vary depending on the growing conditions.
To ensure optimal growth, the African Mahogany requires well-drained soils, regular watering, and full sunlight. It can be propagated through seed or vegetative means such as cuttings and grafting.
Benefits of Fast-Growing Trees in Nigeria
- Environmental Benefits: Fast-growing trees in Nigeria provide significant environmental benefits such as reducing carbon dioxide levels, improving air quality, controlling soil erosion, and promoting biodiversity.
- Economic Benefits: These trees offer numerous economic benefits such as the production of wood, paper, and furniture, as well as providing shade for crops and livestock.
- Aesthetic Benefits: Fast-growing trees can be used to beautify the landscape, create parks, and enhance the aesthetic value of cities and towns.
Challenges of Planting Fast Growing Trees in Nigeria
- Pest and Disease Management: Fast-growing trees are susceptible to pests and diseases, which can lead to reduced yield and productivity.
- Water Management: These trees require adequate water supply to support their rapid growth, and in regions with limited water resources, this can be a challenge.
- Soil Quality: Fast-growing trees require nutrient-rich soil for optimal growth, and soil degradation can negatively impact their growth.
Factors to consider when Planting Fast Growing Trees in Nigeria:
- Soil Type: Fast-growing trees thrive in different soil types, and it is essential to identify the appropriate soil type for the chosen species.
- Climate: Understanding the climate of a region is crucial in determining the most suitable fast-growing tree species to plant.
- Water Availability: Fast-growing trees require adequate water supply for optimal growth, and it is important to consider the water availability in the chosen location.
Importance of Planting Fast Growing Trees in Nigeria:
- Environmental Sustainability: Fast-growing trees play a vital role in environmental sustainability by reducing carbon dioxide levels, controlling soil erosion, and promoting biodiversity.
- Economic Growth: These trees provide significant economic benefits, including timber production, furniture making, and the production of paper.
- Aesthetic Value: Fast-growing trees enhance the aesthetic value of cities, towns, and rural areas by beautifying the landscape.
Best Practices of Planting Fast Growing Trees in Nigeria:
- Proper Species Selection: Choosing the appropriate species for the location is crucial to ensure optimal growth and yield.
- Adequate Water and Nutrient Supply: Fast-growing trees require adequate water and nutrient supply for optimal growth.
- Pest and Disease Management: Proper pest and disease management practices are crucial in ensuring healthy growth and yield.
Is Fertilizer Important for Fast Growing Trees?
Fertilizer is essential for the optimal growth and yield of fast-growing trees. The use of appropriate fertilizers provides essential nutrients required for healthy growth and development.
Is Fast-Growing Trees Profitable?
Fast-growing trees can be profitable through the production of timber, paper, and furniture.
They can also provide shade for crops and livestock, increasing their yield and productivity. Additionally, they enhance the aesthetic value of the environment, promoting tourism and contributing to the economic growth of a region.
Landscaping Trees in Nigeria
Landscaping with trees is an excellent way to improve the aesthetics of an outdoor environment.
In Nigeria, various trees are suitable for landscaping purposes, including the African tulip tree, the flamboyant tree, the jacaranda tree, and the African mahogany tree.
These trees not only provide shade but also add beauty and color to any landscape design.
Tall Trees in Nigeria:
Tall trees are an essential part of Nigeria’s natural environment, providing shelter and habitat for wildlife and contributing to the overall ecosystem.
Some of the tallest trees in Nigeria include the baobab tree, African mahogany, and the iroko tree, which can grow up to 50 meters tall.
Terminalia Umbrella Tree:
Terminalia umbrella is a fast-growing tree that is native to Nigeria. It is a popular shade tree that can grow up to 30 meters tall and has a broad, umbrella-like crown that provides ample shade.
The tree is also used for timber, fuelwood, and as a source of medicine in traditional medicine.
10 Forest Trees in Nigeria:
Nigeria has a vast forest cover, and the country is home to a wide variety of trees, including the African teak, the ironwood tree, the African mahogany tree, and the Shea butter tree. These trees have various uses, including the production of timber, medicinal purposes, and food.
Plants in Nigeria:
Nigeria has a diverse array of plant species, including both wild and cultivated plants. Some of the popular plants grown in Nigeria include cassava, yam, plantain, and maize.
These plants are not only a source of food but also contribute to the country’s economy through the production of various products.
Shade Trees in Nigeria:
Shade trees are essential in Nigeria’s hot and humid climate, providing relief from the sun’s heat and creating a comfortable outdoor environment. Some of the popular shade trees in Nigeria include the African tulip tree, the flamboyant tree, and the Terminalia umbrella tree.
The masquerade tree is a tropical tree that is native to West Africa, including Nigeria. It is known for its bright yellow flowers that bloom in clusters and its ornamental value. The tree is also used to treat various ailments in traditional medicine.
Tall Trees in Nigeria
Tall trees are an integral part of Nigeria’s ecosystem, providing habitat for wildlife and contributing to the country’s forest cover.
Some of the tallest trees in Nigeria include the African mahogany, the baobab tree, and the iroko tree, which can grow up to 50 meters tall.
Types of Trees in Nigeria
Nigeria is home to a diverse range of tree species, including both indigenous and exotic species.
Some of the most common tree types in Nigeria include hardwood trees like the African mahogany and softwood trees like the Gmelina tree. Each tree type has its unique characteristics, uses, and benefits.
Fast-growing trees offer numerous benefits to Nigeria’s environment and economy. Whether it’s for timber production, soil conservation, or ornamental purposes, there are several options to choose from. By prioritizing the planting and preservation of fast-growing trees, Nigeria can ensure a greener and more sustainable future for generations to come.