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.

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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Other sources of information about Catha edulis:

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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 26 August 2016

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