Strychnos brazzavillensis A.Chev.
Strychnos henriquesiana Baker
Strychnos occidentalis Soler.
Strychnos sapini De Wild.
Tree growing in native habitat at Schanskop, Pretoria
Photograph by: JMK
Strychnos pungens is an evergreen shrub or a tree; it usually grows from 0.6 - 8 metres tall, though specimens up to 16 metres have been recorded[
]. The bole has a thick, fissured bark[
The edible fruit is harvested from the wild for local use. In some areas the fruit is of good quality and it is a highly valued food, though in other areas the fruit has an unpleasant smell and is much less eaten[
]. The plant also has local medicinal uses and the fruit shells have a range of uses. Although not cultivated, the tree is often left standing when the forest is cleared for cultivation[
The seeds are poisonous[
Southern Africa - Tanzania, southern Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, S. Africa.
Woodland, often with Brachystegia, at elevations up to 2,000 metres[
]. Dry sites on ledges, rocky slopes, or at the base of stony koppies; also in sandy regions[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Semi-cultivated, Wild
Fruit - raw[
]. A sweet tasting pulp[
]. A hole is made into the shell and the fruit, which is a mixture of juice and a compact cluster of seeds embedded in a slimy pulp, is scooped out[
]. The seeds are spat out when eating the fruit because they are believed to be poisonous[
]. The globose, hard-shelled fruit turns orange or yellow as it matures, it can be 5 - 15cm in diameter, with about 20 - 100 seeds[
Fruit from trees growing in S. Africa usually has a strong smell and is inferior, from the palatable stand-point, to some of the other large-fruited species in this genus. Reports from Namibia, however, state that in those regions the fruit is palatable and has not got a disagreeable smell[
A decoction of roots is used as a remedy for stomach-ache and bronchitis[
An infusion from the leaves is used as a lotion for sore eyes[
The empty fruit shells are used for making rattles[
]. The shell, after the flesh has been removed, is left to dry for some time and is then filled with hard dry seeds - preferably those from Rhynchosia resinosa[
The fruit shell is also sometimes used as a drinking vessel[
The translucent seeds are sometimes used in making necklaces[
The yellow wood is used for fuel[
If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.