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Acokanthera oppositifolia

Bushmans Poison

Contains poisonous milky latex and poisonous berries. Used medicinally.
SA Tree No: 
639
Plant Type: 
General Size: 
Flowering time: 
Flowering Colour: 
Shrub Size: 
Small
Long Description: 
This small sized evergreen tree it is hardy, drought and frost resistant with non-aggressive roots. It tolerates full sun or shade and also does well as a container plant. The clusters of pink - white, sweetly scented flowers open in spring, followed by large plum coloured fruit like berries. The stems contain poisonous milky latex which was used as a poison by the Bushmen on their arrows. It attracts birds and butterflies. Although it is poisonous it is used medicinally to treat snake and spider bites and also for aches and colds. Its ideal for a small garden. This plant is toxic and must be approached with caution. Accidental deaths have occurred when children have eaten the flowers or the fruit. Some have died when they used the branches as sosati sticks to cook their boerewors. It has also been used for murder whereby thorns are soaked in the sap and then left in the path of a barefoot victim. The name is derived from the Greek ,'akris' which means sharp point and 'anthera' which means anthers referring to the sharp anthers within the flowers.
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