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Indigenous silver cluster-leaf tree

Scientific name: Terminalia sericea;

Common name: Terminalia

English Name: Purple pod terminalia

Local Name: Muhonohono, Mwangati-punda (SW)

General information

Terminalia prunioides is a small, deciduous tree up to 15m high. It may be single or multi-stemmed, with bark that is light grey, ribbed longitudinally, bark on the twigs strips off in small lengths. Long, smooth, arching wands of branches spread outwards and downwards. The short, rigid, usually purplish twigs grow sharply outwards and at right angles to the branches, with the leaves and flowers crowded at their tips. The outline of the tree is thus spiky. Spines are often present on the long branches. Terminalia prunioides occurs in frost-free and often sandy areas and on stony slopes, often associated with mopane and sometimes with acacias of the arid and semi-arid zones. It also occurs in coastal bushlands and riverine thickets and on alluvial plains and saline areas.The plant thrives in areas with an elevation of 50–400 m.

Human benefits

The tree exudes edible gum. Fuel: Provides good firewood and makes excellent charcoal. Timber: The wood is yellow, hard, heavy, tough, durable even in salty water, resistant to borers; it is used for tool handles, fence posts, house building, dhow keels and wagon axles.

Farmer benefits

Fruits are eaten by livestock. Leaves are used as green manure.

Health benefits

A decoction is used to relieve postnatal abdominal pains.

Cultivation Details

plant of the drier tropics where it is found at elevations up to 1,400 metres. It grows best in areas where the mean maximum and minimum annual temperatures are within the range 20 - 35°c, though it can tolerate 15 - 40°c. It is only found wild in frost-free areas.It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 450 - 900mm, though can tolerate from 400 - 1,000mm