NameNatal Mahogany [Trichilia emetica]
Latin NameTrichilia emetica
DescriptionThis large, evergreen has a wide spreading crown which casts dense shade. The handsome leaves are a glossy dark green. The sweet smelling flowers are a creamy green colour and are produced in tight bunches.It withstands an average winter drought and slight frost. The bark is smooth and is dark brown to grey in colour. This is a deciduous tree, which can grow up to 20m tall. The nectar attracts bees and birds. The round fruits split when mature, revealing striking red and black seeds which are eaten by birds. Occasionally a tree will only bear male flowers, so will never fruit.
UsesMonkeys feed on the flowers and baboon and antelope eat fruit. Local people soak seeds in water, which leave behind a milky substance, which is sometimes eaten with spinach. The seeds are also eaten by certain bird species. Oil extracted from the seeds is used cosmetically and also used to help heal bones.
Bark, which has been powdered down, is used as an emetic and an enema and may also be used to make a pinkish dye. The flowers are produced between August to November and fruit is found between December to April. The wood is used for carvings, musical instruments, household implements, furniture, bats and canoes.