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Bersama lucens

   (Family: Melianthaceae)
   
Afrikaans: Blinkblaarwitessenhout English: Glossy white ash, Glossy bersama Xhosa: isiNdiyandiya  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Tree
Height: 3 - 10m
Special properties:
  Has Medicinal Uses
Rarity Status:
Common
   
Preferred altitude: 0 - 1200m
Preferred position:
Full Sun
Toxicity:  
  Bersama species should be treated with caution, as they are known to contain highly toxic heart glycosides.
 
Flowering time EDIT
x x x x x       x x x x
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
 
White
 
Green
 
Cream
Flower shape
 
  Flower info
  The flowers are small, greenish white clusters, on slender stalks, in long, narrow heads. The tree flowers from September to May.
 
 
Leaf margin
Leaf type
Leaf arrangement
Leaf texture Smooth
 
  Leaf info EDIT
  Evergreen
  Dense leaf clusters at the tip of the branchlets. The leaves each have 3-7 glossy, green, leathery, thick, hairless leaflets. The midrib is yellow and the veins are conspicuous. The margins are wavy and entire.
 
 
Fruit type EDIT
Fruit colour
Green
Fruit size Length: 20mm   Width: 20mm
Sow seeds in Spring
 
  Seeds per fruit 4
 
Seed colour
Red
  Seed info EDIT
  In summer the flowers are followed by fruits that are dull green, velvety, wrinkled, woody capsules of up to 20 mm in diameter. The capsule has 4 valves, with scarlet seeds half covered in a fleshy, yellowish-green, fleshy aril.
 
 
Description EDIT
Shrub or small tree.
This is a decorative shrub or small tree when in flower and even in fruit. It makes a nice specimen tree in your garden.
Growing EDIT
It suits small gardens very well as it does not grow very big. It is a relatively slow grower.

Bersama lucens is grown from seeds. Sow seeds in spring or summer, in a well-drained, well-aerated growing medium. Treat the seeds with fungicide before sowing to prevent damping off. Sprinkle the treated seeds on the seed tray and cover with river sand or fine bark. Water the tray and put it in a warm position. Germination will take 3 to 4 weeks. Prick out the seedlings and pot them when they have two pairs of compound leaves. Feed seedlings with organic fertilizer.
Distribution EDIT
Fairly widely distributed along the eastern parts of South Africa.
History EDIT
Uses EDIT
The stem bark and/or roots are used to releive menstrual pain and to treat impotency and infertility. It is also ground to a fine powder and snuffed to treat headaches and strokes.
A tincture of the bark is used as an emetic to calm nervous disorders.
Ecology EDIT
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References

 
  • Ben-Erik van Wyk, (2005), Medicinal Plants of South Africa ,Briza Publications  
 
 

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