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Acokanthera oppositifolia

   (Family: Apocynaceae)
   
Afrikaans: Boesmansgif, Gewone gifboom Xhosa: nthunguyembe  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Shrub
Height: 2 - 5m
Special properties:
  Drought Resistant (heavy)
  Frost Tolerant (heavy)
  Has Medicinal Uses
Rarity Status:
Common
   
Preferred position:
Full Sun
Tolerated soil:  
 
pH: neutral
Toxicity:  
  All parts of the plant are highly poisonous with the possible exception of the ripe fruits.
 
Flowering time EDIT
              x x x x  
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
 
White
 
Pink
 
  Flower scent EDIT
  Sweetly scented
  Flower info
  Fragrant white flowers are about 10mm long and occur in dense clusters almost throughout the year.
 
 
Leaf arrangement
 
  Leaf info EDIT
  Evergreen
  The leaves are thick and leathery, glossy dark green above and paler below, often tinged red, without any hairs but with conspicuous veins.
 
 
Fruit colour
Purple
Fruit size Length: 10mm   Width: 15mm
Sow seeds in Spring
 
  Seed info EDIT
  The plum-like berries are 10-15mm long and turn dark purple at maturity.
 
 
Description EDIT
A medium to large woody shrub with attractive hard dark green leaves.
Clusters of pinkish white, sweetly scented flowers are borne in late winter and spring and are followed by large plum coloured berry-like fruits.
Growing EDIT
A hardy drought and frost resistant evergreen shrub that tolerates full sun or shade and also does well as a container plant. Propagation of this species is from seed or semi-hardwood cuttings in the months of September to October.
Distribution EDIT
This species is widely distributed along the eastern and nothern parts of South Africa where is occurs in various habitats, from dense forest to open savanna, often in rocky places.

It also occurs in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Zaire, Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya.
History EDIT
Uses EDIT
The dried leaves (or roots) are used to treat headaches or as a treatment for snake bite.
As a snake bite treatment, the leaves or roots are powdered and applied either directly to the bite or as a paste.

Weak leaf infusions are taken for abdominal pain.
Other ailments for which the plant has been used include toothache, colds, anthrax and tapeworm.
Acokanthera species are best known as sources of extremely toxic arrow poisons.
Ecology EDIT
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References

 
  • Ben-Erik van Wyk, (2005), Medicinal Plants of South Africa ,Briza Publications  
 
 

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