African pollen data have been used in many empirical or quantitative palaeoenvironmental reconstructions. However, the pollen types used in these studies were not controlled and standardised, preventing the precise understanding of pollen-plant and pollen-climate relation that is necessary for the accurate quantification of continental scale climate change or ecological processes in the past. This paper presents a summary of the progress made with the African Pollen Database (APD) inventory of plant diversity from pollen data extracted from 276 fossil sites and more than 1500 modem samples, with a focus on tropical tree pollen types. This inventory (1145 taxa) gives, for each pollen taxon whose nomenclature is discussed, information on the habit, habitat and phytogeographical distribution of the plants they come from. Special attention has been paid to pollen types with similar morphology, which include several plant species or genera, whose biological or environmental parameters can differ considerably.