Okoumé is a light-demanding species which requires full sun to grow well (2) (3), and as a pioneer species it readily colonises open spaces (2) (5). New leaves appear from September to December and are bright red for about a week. Flowering usually starts at the end of the dry season, in August, and may last up to two months, although individual flowers last for only a few days. The whitish flowers, which are insect-pollinated, are borne on branched inflorescences up to 20 centimetres long, with male and female flowers borne on separate trees. Although plants may begin to flower at about ten years old, it only starts to produce fruit after about fifteen years, or when the tree has reached 30 to 40 centimetres in diameter. After this, fruiting is usually annual, taking place between January and March, though large quantities of seeds are only produced every few years. The fruits comprise capsules up to five centimetres by three centimetres in size, each producing five spoon-shaped, winged seeds, which are dispersed by the wind up to 200 metres from the parent tree (2) (5). A mature okoumé tree may produce up to 20,000 seeds (2). Okoumé is a long-living tree, with individuals sometimes reaching up to 300 years old (5).
Okoumé produces a lightweight, relatively soft hardwood, which is considered excellent for veneer and plywood, and is also used in light construction and furniture (2) (3) (5). In Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, it is also used as firewood and for building dugout canoes, and the bark resin is used for torches and oil lamps. The bark itself may be used to treat wounds and abscesses and as a treatment for diarrhoea (2) (5).