Sand Apricot-Vine

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  • Regular price K100

Scientific name: Landolphia kirkii

English Name: Sand apricot-vine, Rubber vine

Local Name: Mabungo (B)

General information

Landolphia kirkii is a species of liana from the Apocynaceae family that can be found in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. It is an evergreen, straggling or climbing shrub, either scrambling across the ground or climbing into other plants. It grows in the coastal area, e.g. in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, at forest margins, in Brachystegia woodland and coastal bushland, 0-300 m on sandy soils.

The leaves of Landolphia kirkii are oblong and sometimes ovate and can reach up to 9 centimetres (3.5 in) in length. They are glossy green coloured from above, and have a channeled midrib. They have 10-12 pairs of lateral veins, with a net-veining that is slightly raised just above the midrib, that is pubescent underneath. The inflorescence has many flowers, which are white or creamy-yellow coloured and have a diameter of 1 centimetre (0.39 in). The flowers also have a tube that is 3.5–4 millimetres (0.14–0.16 in) long. The green fruits are spherical with a diameter of 15 centimetres (5.9 in), and are edible.

Health benefits

The vines have traditionally been used to supply rubber, but that function has increasingly been taken over by the rubber tree, Hevea brasiliensis which can be conveniently grown in plantations. The latex from these vines is still used to a limited extent for rubber production.  Many species have large edible fruits which are sweet and juicy and rich in beta-carotene. A juicy pulp, it is sweet with a slightly acid flavour. The fruit wall is opened and the yellow-orange pulp covering the seeds sucked. The seeds are then discarded. Leaves are said to be eaten as a vegetable.