Rosewood

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Indigenous rosewood tree

Scientific name: Guibourtia coleosperma

English Name: African rosewood

Local Name: Muzaule, Mukusa (B)

General information

It is a large evergreen tree with a somewhat rounded, drooping crown; it can grow 12-30metres tall. The ridged trunk can be unbranched for 8-13metres and 55-65cm or more in diameter. It is found in open woodland and dry forest. The tree is confined to deep Kalahari sand; at elevations from 750 - 1,400 metres

Health benefits

Young leaves are taken to treat coughs and the leaf extracts are administered after childbirth to promote recovery and to treat stomach complaints. Extracts from roots and bark are administered as a vapour bath to treat headache, whereas roots and leaves are ingredients in mixtures for the treatment of fever and mental problems. In traditional medicine, the roots are applied to wounds to promote healing and a root decoction is used as cure for sexually transmitted diseases.

Human benefits

The wood of Guibourtia coleosperma is used for construction, flooring, joinery, interior trim, furniture, ship building, vehicle bodies, railway sleepers, toys, innovations, tool handles, turnery and decorative facing. It is traditionally used for canoes. It is an appreciated firewood. The seed and its aril contain oil, which is used for cooking and for the skin. The red dye from the aril has been used for staining furniture. The seeds are eaten, especially during times of food shortage, often after roasting and pounding. The arils are also eaten or used to make a nourishing drink. The leaves are cooked with cassava leaves as relish

Cultivation details

Found in the wild almost exclusively on deep sandy soils. Although many species within the family Fabaceae have a symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria, this species is said to be devoid of such a relationship and therefore does not fix atmospheric nitrogen

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