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Rauvolfia caffra

   (Family: Apocynaceae)
Afrikaans: Kinaboom English: Quinine tree  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Tree
Tree No.: 647
Height: 6 - 35m
Special properties:
  Has Medicinal Uses
Rarity Status:
Preferred altitude: 0 - 1500m
Preferred position:
Full Sun
Tolerated soil:  
  Sand (coarse texture, drains easily),
Loam (gritty, moist, and retains water easily)
Flowering time EDIT
        x x x x x x    
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
  Butterflies and other insects
  Flower info
Leaf shape EDIT
Leaf type
Leaf texture Smooth
Leaf size 30 - 280mm
  Leaf info EDIT
  Leaves simple, in whorls of 3–6, crowded at the ends of the branchlets, slightly leathery, tapering to both ends, about 120–280 mm long and 30–60 mm broad. Leaf blade shiny green above, paler green below with midrib raised and margins smooth. Leaf stalk up to 35 mm long.
Fruit colour
  Seed info EDIT
  Fruits are in large branched clusters, fleshy, almost spherical, 1- or 2-locular, shiny dark green with white spots, turning black and wrinkled when mature. Fruiting time is from October to March.
Description EDIT
An evergreen tree with a roundish crown. The bark is yellowish-brown, corked and cracked into small squares on older branches.
Growing EDIT
Fast-growing tree for sheltered gardens, easily raised from seed.
Transplants well and is comparatively fast-growing, with a growth rate of up to 1.5 m per year.

The pulp must be removed from the fruit, washed with water and sown in seedling trays filled with a mixture of river sand and compost. The seeds should be pressed into the mixture until they are flush with the surface. The seedlings should be transplanted into nursery bags when reaching the 3-leaf stage. Seedlings and young plants transplant well when given sufficient water for the first three months until they are established.

Young plants should be placed in good fertile soil that contains plenty of compost, in moist areas. The species is not resistant to cold and thus cannot cope with odd frost conditions.
Distribution EDIT
Restricted to coastal forests in east, central and southern Africa.
In South Africa, it is found along the coastal belt, in the eastern regions of South Africa, from the Eastern Cape to KwaZulu-Natal, extending further north and inland to Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Gauteng and North-West.
Usually found along wooded streams, on river banks, at margins of evergreen forest and in swamp forest.
History EDIT
‘Rauvolfia' was named after a medical doctor and a collector of drug plants from the 16th century, Leonhart Rauwolf of Augsburg, and 'caffra' means 'of Kaffraria' (Eastern Cape). The common name 'quinine tree' refers to the bitter and supposedly quinine-like properties of the bark.
A decorative shade tree for the larger garden and park.
Attracts birds and butterflies.

The wood is used for drums, general timber work on the farm, making of fruit boxes, and is ideal for kitchen furniture and shelving.

Used as a medicinal plant among traditional communities in many countries to manage tumors and other diseases associated with oxidative stress.

The bark is used as a dressing for wounds and the infusion is used to kill maggots in wounds. Pieces of bark are chewed to treat coughs. The latex is used to treat diarrhoea and other stomach ailments. The latex contains alkaloids that are used in preparations for the treatment of high blood pressure and certain mental aberrations.
Ecology EDIT
The leaves, flowers and fruits serve as the source of food to vervet monkeys.
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