Wild Medlar

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Indigenous tree

Scientific name: Vangueria infausta;

English Name: Wild medlar

Local Name: Viru (SW)

General information


Vangueria infausta is a deciduous tree 3-8m in height with a short trunk and hanging branch-lets. Bark pale grey-brown, peeling in untidy flakes; branches usually opposite with reddish young branch-lets. Vangueria infausta is found in all types of woodland, especially on rocky ridges and hillsides or in wooded grassland; also near the sea on sand dunes. It can withstand long periods of drought and frost. Widely distributed in savannah-like communities derived from forest, and often in rocky or sandy places.

Human benefits

The fruits are eaten raw and the pulp sometimes soaked in water and then dried to use later. The pulp, when mixed with a little sugar and water, makes a good substitute for applesauce; it has a sweet and slightly sour taste. Each 100g fresh fruit contain 3.7g vitaminC, 1.4g protein, 28g carbohydrate, 28 mg sodium, 0.61 mg nicotinic acid and high levels of calcium and magnesium. Seeds can be eaten roasted. Vangueria infausta is a good source of firewood and timber. Poles for houses, agricultural tools and handles are some of the ways in which the wood is utilized.

Health benefits

Traditional healers use the roots for a variety of illnesses such as malaria and pneumonia. An infusion made from the roots is used to treat coughs and other chest troubles. A decoction from the root is used as a purgative and an anthelmintic and is also a popular snakebite remedy. The pounded leaves are applied to tick- bite sores on livestock and dogs to speed up healing. A poultice made of the leaves is used to treat swellings on the legs and inflammation of the navel in children. An infusion of the leaves is used in treating abdominal pain and for the relief of dental pain. In southern Africa, a decoction is used as a remedy for menstrual troubles.

Livestock benefits


The leaves of Vangueria infausta browsed by livestock especially goats, and the leaves and young branches are also eaten by game.

 

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