Catha edulis (Vahl) Forssk. ex Endl.

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Catha edulis

Photo: Bart Wursten
Cecil Kop Nature Reserve, Mutare

Catha edulis

Photo: Bart Wursten
Cecil Kop Nature Reserve, Mutare

Catha edulis

Photo: Bart Wursten
Globe Rock, Vumba

Catha edulis

Photo: Bart Wursten
Globe Rock, Vumba

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Synonyms: Celastrus edulis Vahl
Common names: Bushman's tea (English) Inandinandi (Ndebele) Khat (English) Mutswahari (Shona) Muzvaravashava (Shona) Umnanjana (Ndebele)
Frequency: Common
Status: Native
Shrub or small to medium-sized unarmed tree with drooping leaves and branches. Bark grey, cracking in older specimens, revealing a yellowish pigment. Young branchlets and petioles often pinkish-red. Leaves opposite on older branches, alternate or spiralled on young branchlets, more or less narrowly elliptic, 5.5-12 cm, glossy green above, paler below, rather leathery with more than 10 pairs of lateral veins at a sharp angle to the midrib; margin with small, gland-tipped teeth. Flowers in small axillary clusters pale yellow to whitish-green. Fruit an oblong 3-lobed capsule, c. 1 cm, reddish-brown when ripe.
Notes: The leaves, chewed or boiled as a tea act as a mild stimulant. This use is particularly popular in countries like Ethiopia, Somalia and Yemen.
Derivation of specific name: edulis: edible
Habitat: Along the margins of forest, in woodland and on rocky hillsides, often as a pioneer in cleared areas.
Altitude range: (metres) 1160 - 1880 m
Flowering time:Mainly Aug - Nov
Worldwide distribution: From Ethiopia through the eastern side of Africa to the Eastern Cape, South Africa
Zimbabwe distribution: N,W,C,E,S
Growth form(s): Tree.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Images last updated: Monday 11 January 2016

Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (eds) (2005). Plants of the Nyika Plateau Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31 SABONET, Pretoria Page 125. (Includes a picture).

Drummond, R.B. (1975). A list of trees, shrubs and woody climbers indigenous or naturalised in Rhodesia. Kirkia 10(1) Page 255.

Robson, N.K.B. (1966). Celastraceae Flora Zambesiaca 2(2) Pages 381 - 382. (Includes a picture).

Steedman, E.C. (1933). Some Trees, Shrubs and Lianes of Southern Rhodesia. Page 41.

Strugnell, A.M. (2006). A Checklist of the Spermatophytes of Mount Mulanje, Malawi Scripta Botanica Belgica 34 National Botanic Garden of Belgium Page 66.


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Flora of Malawi: Catha edulis
Flora of Mozambique: Catha edulis
Flora of Zambia: Catha edulis

External websites:

African Plant Database: Catha edulis
Biodiversity Explorer (Biodiversity of southern Africa): Catha edulis
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Catha edulis
ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Catha edulis
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Catha edulis
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network) taxonomy for plants report for Catha edulis
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Catha edulis
Ispot Southern Africa : Catha edulis
JSTOR Plant Science: Catha edulis
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Catha edulis
Tropicos: Catha edulis
West African Plants database: Catha edulis

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-16

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2016). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Catha edulis., retrieved 23 October 2016

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