Native to the rain forests of West Africa, it is commonly found in countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, and Tanzania. It is a large tree achieving heights over 100' with diameters averaging 6' at the base. Being a canopy specie constantly striving for light, one can expect a straight trunk with no branching until a height of about 80'. Obviously, this will yield large logs capable of being sawn into lumber of long lengths and considerable widths.
Sapele has a marked tendency to grow with interlocked grain. All trees are made of cells and fibers usually running from the root to the upper branches and leafs. It is not uncommon for these cells and fibers to rotate as they grow upward, especially in the trunk of the tree. In Sapele, these cells and fibers can rotate in one direction and then rotate in an opposite direction. This pattern can repeat itself for the life of the tree producing interlocked grain which has several important implications for the wood worker.