TREE OF THE YEAR 2019
Botanical name: Garcinia buchananii
English name: Granite garcinia / Granite mangosteen
Shona Name: Mutunduru
Description of the tree
Garcinia buchananii is a small evergreen tree which reaches 4 to 8 meters in height at maturity, often densely branched. It has distinctive shiny dark green leaves above and paler green below, making it an attractive species of indigenous tree. It has greenish-yellow flowers and fleshy edible fruits.
Leaves: The leaves of Garciania buchananii are distinctively oblong-shaped, thickly lathered, shiny dark green above, paler green below with many lateral veins on both leaf surfaces
Flowers: The flowers are greenish – yellow in colour, 1 to 1, 5 cm in diameter, shortly stalked so that the flower lies close against the stem and in 2-3 flowered clusters.
Fruit and seed: The fruit is almost spherical up to 2,5cm in diameter, fleshy, yellow to orange when mature and it is edible from March to June.
Bark: The bark of Garcinia buchaninii is greyish -brown, rather rough, all parts contain a sticky, yellow sap.
Worldwide distribution covers areas from the Sudan southwards through eastern Africa to Angola, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. In Zimbabwe, the tree is found in the Eastern Highlands of Manicaland spreading to the North in some parts of Mashonaland Central , to the west (near Zambezi) and to the Central and Mid-Masvingo Province.
The tree occurs on granite kopjes and rocky outcrops, woodland margins, often on heavy soils and also on riverine fringe forest. It is associated with trees like Runde cycad and Uapaca kirkiana which also thrive well on granite hills.
Uses and Economic value
- An infusion of the bark is considered to be a good antiseptic for wounds.
- It is also cultural believed to treat venereal sores (STDs)
- It is widely used in communities as a traditional anti-diarrheal remedy
- Its hard-yellow timber is suitable for construction as well as for firewood
- It is also used to brew traditional beverages
- Individual trees are good ornamentals.
- The fruit on its own in nutritious and has a high vitamin-C content.
Ripe fruits are collected and put in a cool dry place for the pulp to rot and fall away. The fruits are then dried in the sun whereby the seeds are separated. Granite garcinia has a hard seed coat which needs brazing for early germination or soaking overnight before sowing. Seeds are sown in pots.
The species can be grown on its own in an orchard and in the Eastern Highlands it is often intercropped with coffee.