It Looks like a normal tree, but, when you cut it Down, it literally bleeds!

Pterocarpus angolensis is a kind of  wild teak which looks like a perfectly normal tree until it’s wounded or injured. When you cut into the tree, long trails of dark-red liquid starts dripping down its trunk. It looks like as if blood is oozing out of the wound.  This wild teak is colloquially known as Bloodwood, for obvious reasons.

bleeding-tree

It looks like any other tree in the forest. Tannins are the cause of the dark red color of the sap. Tannins are present in regular plants, in leaves, skins and sap making it about 12-20% tannins, overall. Bloodwood has sap that contains a whopping 77% tannins.Tannins are actually the chemicals that make your mouth feel a little strange, as if it is washed with cleanser after you eat fruits like grapes or drink wine. These are polyphenols, essentially made up of multiple phenols.

tree-wounded

Blood Starts dripping down when the tree is wounded.

In other words, phenols are also known as carbolic acid, which contributes to the the astringent taste of tannin-heavy foods. Tannins can combine with precipitated proteins to form some kind of plant’s defense mechanism. When animals bite into the plant stored tannins in the surface comes out freely. These tannins not only create a bad taste in the mouth, their ability to combine with the  nutrients like proteins (and also carbohydrates and starches) decreases the animal’s ability to digest its food. In short, tannins has the ability to turn the food not worth eating.

Human beings are different, they find out the means to them anyway. Tannins slowly leach into wine from the oak barrels it’s stored in, and we somehow developed a taste for them. In the absence of oak barrels wine-makers often add powdered tannins to simulate the flavor.

Does the bloodwood’s substantial amount of tannins reduce its consumption? Well, animals don’t consume them but humans don’t spare them. The bloodwood timber is sought after Africa, and around the world. Because of the sap’s uncanny resemblance to blood, it’s even considered a folk-remedy for diseases related to blood.

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