Coffee Bauhinia

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Indigenous coffee bauhinia tree

Scientific name: Bauhinia Petersiana,

English Name: White bauhinia, Zambezi coffee

Local Name: Mpondo (N)

General information

Bauhinia petersiana is an evergreen shrub or small tree, 1–3m tall, and can reach a height of 8m. The young branches display hairy bark and are often covered with tiny, orange scales; in contrast to this, the older branches tend to turn grey, smooth and the flaking of the older branches is quite common. The leaves are simple and produce hairs on the lower surface; about 9 visible veins can also be observed on the underside of the leaves. The margins are entire and the leaf stalks up to 10 mm long.


Human benefits

 It is recorded that the roots of this tree can be easily baked and eaten; even the pods when still young, can be boiled and used in the place of spinach. Seeds are still roasted today and used like coffee. It is also recorded that the seeds are an important nutrient source and may contain protein and minerals such as, calcium, phosphorus and copper. The bark is also very useful; it is recorded that rope can be made from it and this rope was used to collect fire wood and used in the construction of huts, for example to hold beams together. This tree is also known for having a non-aggressive root system and can be safely planted near a wall or paving. The Bauhinia petersiana is an ideal candidate to be used as a bonsai specimen, the plant adapts almost instantly to its potted environment. Its scrambling habit makes it a perfect screening plant.

Livestock benefits

Livestock and game browse on leaves and pods.

Health benefits

Leaves are pounded and boiled in salt solution are used in treating wounds.

Planting and tree management

This tree will grow well in drought prone areas. Generally, seedlings transplant well and they grow quite fast. The tree can grow up to 750 mm per year

 

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