Piliostigma thonningii
Status: Least Concern
Type: Deciduous
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Names: Musekese, camel's foot tree, monkey bread, monkey biscuit tree or Rhodesian bauhinia
Appearance: The flower petals are white and the thick, calyces (or seed pods) are covered in rust coloured hairs. The pods do not spilt (like other tree pods) but fall from the branches, then rot whilst on the ground, releasing the seeds.

General Information

Piliostigma thonningii grows scattered throughout Zambia except on the Nyika plateau. When fields are left fallow these trees often emerge. A very dominant tree in Macha area. Heavy clayey soils or medium loamy soils are preferred by this plant.

Uses

The inner bark of the tree has been used to make rope. Used medicinally in many African countries to treat wounds, ulcers, gastric pain, heart pain, and gingivitis. A cough remedy is prepared from the root bark. Polyphenolic fractions of the root bark, exhibit potent antitussive activity. Extracts were screened for activity against Herpes simplex virus type and African swine fever virus.

Cultivation

Piliostigma thonningii grows quickly relative to some other tree species it competes with, and relies on rapid re-growth to survive bush fires.[1] It grows up to 5–10 m (16–33 ft) tall, with leaves that are similar to a bauhinia, but it differs from bauhinia by having separate male and female flowers on separate trees. Piliostigma thonningii grows scattered throughout Zambia except on the Nyika plateau. When fields are left fallow these trees often emerge. A very dominant tree in Macha area. Heavy clayey soils or medium loamy soils are preferred by this plant.

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