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Tag: Herbal/Medicinal

Siphonochilus Kirkii


Family: Zingiberaceae

ENG: Wild Ginger

GIR: Mutunguu

Wild ginger is a forest floor plant with aromatic rhizomatous roots. The leaves are deciduous and sprout annually from the underground stem in spring, they may reach a height of up to 400mm. The leaves are light green, lance shaped and borne on the end of stem-like leaf bases.

The male and female organs are borne on separate plants, female plants tend to be smaller than male plants. The small berry-like fruits are produced at or near ground level after the flowers.

The roots are used for traditional medicine.

Propagation through splitting of rhizomes.

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Encephalartos Hildebrantii

(Mombasa Cycad)
Family: Zamiaceae
KWS: – Mkwanga, Msapo
GIR: – Kitsapu/Kirori

Monkeys, rodents and birds eat the seed. Evergreen cycad can grow to 6m tall. Grows in full sun or shade. Easily propogated from seed.

The stem is used medicinally.

Rated as Near Threatened (NT) according to IUCN Red List criteria.

Available at nurseries.

Possibly host to Geometridae (Geometer) moths.


Cissius Quadrangularis

Family: Vitaceae
KSW: Mbugu-nyama
GIR: Mtsuma-pengo

Perennial deciduous trailing or climbing herb with tuberous rootstock; stems quadrangular, almost
winged, stout, succulent, glabrous. Racemes of small white, yellowish, or greenish flowers; globular
berries are red when ripe.

Medicinally, it is used in the treatment of asthma, hemorrhoids, wounds, broken bones, boils, burns,
rheumatic pains, and indigestion. The young stems are cooked. The leaves and young shoots are used in the preparation of curries and poppadoms. The fruits are eaten and the seeds are used for cooking oil. Ash of the plant is used as a substitute for baking powder.

Self seeded

Zanthoxylum Chalybeum Var. Chalybeum

Family: Rutaceae
ENG: Knobwood
GIR: Mudhungu
TSW: Mjafari

Naturalised in Kenya. Spiny deciduous shrub or tree up to 12 m high- leaves have medicinal use. Has
self seeded in Kilifi. This tree is a larval host plant to Swallowtails. Leaves, shoots and fruits are used for

The bark leaves and roots are used medicinally, including as a treatment for malaria.

Possibly larval host to:

  • Papilio dardanus – African Mocker Swallowtail
  • Papilio demodocus – Citrus Swallowtail

Harrisonia Abyssinica

Family: Rutaceae
GIR: Mkindhunga

A thorny shrub or small tree.

Roots and leaves are used for traditional anti-malarial medicine. Makes a useful defensive hedge.
The fruits are edible.

This plant has self seeded and can be invasive.

Drypetes Natalensis Var. Leiogyna Brenan

Family: Putranjivaceae (Previously Euphorbiaceae)
GIR: Mgandama

A multi stemmed shrub or tree from 9M to 15M tall. The flowering are on on the main trunk and branches. The male flowers have a very unpleasant smell. Fruits are yellow-orange when ripe. The tree is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of wood.

Larval food plant to:

  • Coeliades libeon – Spotless Policeman

Vanilla Roscheri

Family: Orchidacee
GIR: Museche

Leafless, liane-like climber with green succulent stems up to c. 1 cm in diameter and short roots at the nodes. Small brownish vestigial leaves sometimes present at the nodes. Inflorescence many-flowered, up to 30 cm long, terminal or at the nodes. Flowers large and showy, up to 15 cm in diameter, white, more or less flushed with pink, strongly and sweetly scented. Lip funnel-shaped, often salmon-pink or yellowish in the throat. Capsule up to 17.5 cm long.
Flora of Mozambique

Habitat: I have seen this growing in the coastal forest. In strong wind the stems will fall on the beach.

The orchid is used in traditional medicine.

* It is not permitted to sell or purchase indigenous orchids