This species is closely related to Obetia carruthersiana (Hiern) Rendle from Namibia and W. Angola, and perhaps is no more than subspecifically distinct[
Obetia tenax is a deciduous shrub or tree that can grow from 2 - 5 metres tall, occasionally to 7 metres[
]. The bole can be up to 30cm in diameter[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
Contact with the stinging hairs causes intense itching and burning, and may result in blisters on the skin[
Southern Africa - Zimbabwe, Botswana, southern Mozambique, Swaziland, S. Africa.
Rocky ravines in deciduous bushland; very frequently on granite outcrops at elevations from 1,000 - 1,400 metres[
Grows best in a sunny position[
]. Prefers a moist but well-drained soil[
A moderately fast-growing plant[
This species is presumed to be dioecious, in which case both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required[
Leaves - cooked and eaten as a vegetable[
]. It is often mixed with the leaves of Pouzolzia mixta and eaten with porridge[
The root pulp is applied on snakebites[
A strong fibre of good colour is obtained from the bark[
]. It is used traditionally for making sleeping mats[
]. The fibre is made into tough cords, ropes, nets and mats[
]. The stripped bast resembles China grass, but is more brittle and is not so lustrous[
The bark is used for thatching[
The wood is soft and fibrous, with a spongy pith or hollow centre[
The plant is easily propagated[
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