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IUCN: not evaluated
Family: LOGANIACEAE Genus: Strychnos Species: madagascariensis Species Author: Poir.
The bark of this tree is light grey in colour and smooth to the touch. The flowers are greenish yellow and very small. The fruit is very distinctive, being almost perfectly spherical. The plants have opposite leaves and bear cymes of white or yellowish flowers that have a four-lobed or five-lobed calyx, a four-parted or five-parted corolla, five stamens, and a solitary pistil. The fruit is a berry.
Africans use the roots of the Strychnos madagascariensis tree as an emetic. The roots are ground up, mixed with hot water and taken orally. A paste is made from the fruit for treating jigger fleas.
The natives gather the fruits of the Black Monkey Orange tree and the Baobab (Adonsia digitata) and make them into unique candleholders, candles, pencil tidies, pots, and ornaments.
They strip the skins wich is sun dried for several months, then decorated them with traditional designs, then hand polished using fine wax and oils. Some fruits are used in wire, glass and wicker baskets as attractive ornaments, and others in bathrooms and conservatories. The glassy smooth finish and design sets our product well apart from others on the market.
The candles are made from fine parafinnic wax and will burn drip free. When all the wax has burned out the holder may be refilled.
(Information for this species compiled and recorded by Camelia Cirnaru, NTBG Consultant.)
Black Monkey Orange can be found in open woodland, on rocky koppies, riverine and coastal fringes of South Africa.
The fruit flesh of Black Monkey Orange is delicious to eat, but the pips are very bitter because they contain strychnine and other poisonous alkaloids.
The sun dried pips are given to children in rural areas to take to school as sweets. The fruit will also be left to ferment in the sun and used to make bitter tasting beer.
Certain tribes would remove the flesh from the fruit, sun or oven dry this and then ground into a porridge which can be kept, unrefrigirated, for up to 3 years. The pulp can be turned into porridge by mixing it with honey and is very tasty.
Even today the pulp of the fruit is still bartered for at certain markets in Maputuland, Africa.
We currently have 2 herbarium specimens for Strychnos madagascariensis in our collection. Click on any specimen below to view the herbarium sheet data.