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Useful Tropical Plants

Acokanthera oppositifolia

(Lam.) Codd

Apocynaceae

+ Synonyms

Acokanthera lamarckii G.Don

Acokanthera longiflora Stapf

Acokanthera rhodesica Merxm.

Acokanthera venenata (Burm.f.) G.Don

Carissa acokanthera Pichon

Carissa longiflora (Stapf) G.H.M.Lawr.

Carissa oppositifolia (Lam.) Pichon

Cestrum oppositifolium Lam.

Cestrum venenatum Burm.f.

Pleiocarpa hockii De Wild.

Toxicophlaea cestroides A.DC.

Toxicophlaea thunbergii Harv.

Common Name:

Acokanthera oppositifolia
Flowers and leaves
Photograph by: Paul venter
Creative Commons License
Acokanthera oppositifolia Acokanthera oppositifolia

General Information

Acokanthera oppositifolia is an attractive, evergreen, small tree or multi-stemmed shrub, occasionally long and climbing, growing from 2 - 7 metres tall. All parts of the plant produce a white latex when cut[
398
Title
Edible Wild Plants of Tanzania
Publication
 
Author
Ruffo, C.K.: Birnie, A. & Tengnas, B.
Publisher
Regional Land Management Unit; Nairobi.
Year
2002
ISBN
9966-896-60-0
Description
A very well presented, simple guide to growing and utilizing wild food plants in Tanzania, with line drawings of each plant, a description, habitat and range, non-food as well as food uses, plus basic information on growing the plants.
].
Although most parts of the plant (other than the fruit) are poisonous, it is often harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine. The plant is commonly left standing in pasture fields and farm land in order to provide shade, fruit, a source of poisons and medicines[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. It has beautiful flowers and is often grown as an ornamental It is sometimes marketed as a container plant in South Africa and in subtropical and temperate regions[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Known Hazards

All parts of the plant, except the fully ripe fruit, are poisonous[
398
Title
Edible Wild Plants of Tanzania
Publication
 
Author
Ruffo, C.K.: Birnie, A. & Tengnas, B.
Publisher
Regional Land Management Unit; Nairobi.
Year
2002
ISBN
9966-896-60-0
Description
A very well presented, simple guide to growing and utilizing wild food plants in Tanzania, with line drawings of each plant, a description, habitat and range, non-food as well as food uses, plus basic information on growing the plants.
].
A thick extract, obtained from the cooked roots, bark and leaves of the plant, is used as an arrow poison, which must be handled with care[
398
Title
Edible Wild Plants of Tanzania
Publication
 
Author
Ruffo, C.K.: Birnie, A. & Tengnas, B.
Publisher
Regional Land Management Unit; Nairobi.
Year
2002
ISBN
9966-896-60-0
Description
A very well presented, simple guide to growing and utilizing wild food plants in Tanzania, with line drawings of each plant, a description, habitat and range, non-food as well as food uses, plus basic information on growing the plants.
].
The only treatment against the poison is immediate excision of the flesh around the wound[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. Fatal accidents have been caused by eating meat grilled over a fire of sticks from this tree[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Contact with the plant can cause smarting of the eyes and skin, and throat irritation[
407
Title
BoDD (Botanical Dermatology Database)
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://bodd.cf.ac.uk/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Brief notes on a very wide range of plants that have reports of causing harm to the skin.
].

Botanical References


Range

East tropical Africa - Kenya, eastern Zaire, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, S. Africa.

Habitat

Found in a variety of habitats: rocky hillsides, coastal bush, open woodland, termite mounds, dry forest and forest margins, riverine forest or woodland, at elevations from 1,500 - 2,100 metres[
398
Title
Edible Wild Plants of Tanzania
Publication
 
Author
Ruffo, C.K.: Birnie, A. & Tengnas, B.
Publisher
Regional Land Management Unit; Nairobi.
Year
2002
ISBN
9966-896-60-0
Description
A very well presented, simple guide to growing and utilizing wild food plants in Tanzania, with line drawings of each plant, a description, habitat and range, non-food as well as food uses, plus basic information on growing the plants.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height5.00 m
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Semi-cultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of moderate to higher elevations in the drier tropics, where it can be found at elevations from 1,000 - 2,400 metres. It grows best in areas with a mean annual rainfall in the range 600 - 1,000mm[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. Older plants can resist at least some frost[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Often found in open, sunny positions, the plant is also shade tolerant[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. It thrives in rocky, red clay and clay-loam soils, often being found on termite mounds in the wild[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. Established plants are drought tolerant[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
A moderately fast-growing tree[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The tree responds well to pruning, coppicing and pollarding[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Edible Uses

The pulp of ripe fruit is sweet and edible[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
,
398
Title
Edible Wild Plants of Tanzania
Publication
 
Author
Ruffo, C.K.: Birnie, A. & Tengnas, B.
Publisher
Regional Land Management Unit; Nairobi.
Year
2002
ISBN
9966-896-60-0
Description
A very well presented, simple guide to growing and utilizing wild food plants in Tanzania, with line drawings of each plant, a description, habitat and range, non-food as well as food uses, plus basic information on growing the plants.
]. A sweetish, bitter taste[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. It has been used in making jams and preserves[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. The fruit is a purple, ellipsoid berry 15 - 40mm long, with a green to deep red pulp containing 1 - 2 seeds[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The unripe fruit, leaves, bark and roots are all highly poisonous, and accidental poisoning of children has been recorded[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
,
398
Title
Edible Wild Plants of Tanzania
Publication
 
Author
Ruffo, C.K.: Birnie, A. & Tengnas, B.
Publisher
Regional Land Management Unit; Nairobi.
Year
2002
ISBN
9966-896-60-0
Description
A very well presented, simple guide to growing and utilizing wild food plants in Tanzania, with line drawings of each plant, a description, habitat and range, non-food as well as food uses, plus basic information on growing the plants.
].

Children use the latex of the fruit as chewing gum[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. Given the information about the plant's toxicity, this use seems rather dangerous[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Medicinal

Although very poisonous, the plant has been used medicinally in Africa, particularly to combat poisoning and parasites.
All parts of the plant, except for the pulp of the ripe fruit, contain large amounts of cardiac glycosides (cardenolides), of which about 15 have been identified. These glycosides are responsible for the plant's activity as an arrow poison, but they also act as cardiac stimulants. The main compounds are acovenoside A, acovenosigenin, acolongifloroside K and ouabagenin[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

To treat snakebites and spider bites, a small amount of the leaves is eaten, a leaf or root decoction is drunk and the leaf or root pulp is rubbed into the wound[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. Alternatively, the root powder is sniffed and a dressing made of the roots or leaves is put on the swollen part[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

An infusion of the roots is taken to expel tapeworm; to treat excessive and irregular menstruation; as a treatment for syphilis[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The powdered root is sniffed as a cure for headaches[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

A leaf infusion is taken to treat abdominal pain, colds, measles and blood poisoning[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The powdered leaf is sniffed, or an infusion of the leaves is used as a nasal spray, in order to combat headaches[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Small pieces of the stem are chewed to relieve toothache[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed - it requires no pre-treatment, but has a very limited viability and so should be sown as soon as it is ripe[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Cuttings of half-ripe wood[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2018-12-16. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Acokanthera+oppositifolia>

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