Lannea Edulis

Lannea Edulis

Wild Grape

The Crocodile River Reserve is home to several species of geoxyle or underground trees. One of these is the Lannea Edulis, or wild grape.

Beneath the flimsy leafy shoots of a geoxyle or underground tree, grows a large woody structure as much as one metre wide, while others form branched networks of stems measuring up to 10 metres across. Their aerial shoots are so small and thin that it makes little difference to the tree if it occasionally loses them to wildfire – they can quickly regrow.

The Wonder Of Underground Trees

Underground trees are an African phenomenon common in fire-prone grasslands with higher rainfalls. Research shows that the higher levels of rainfall results in higher grass productivity. This means that tree saplings are often prevented from growing into mature trees. Scientists argue that geoxyles are trees that have adopted a dwarf growth form in order to survive. Being underground allows them to withstand drought, grazing and fire pressures.

It has been postulated by experts that some geoxyles live to the age of 10,000 years!

The Lannea edulis has shiny green leaves that are hairy when young and leathery when matured. There are creamy white flowers from August to October. Once the flower season is over, it bears bright red ovoid berries from October to December that become purplish black when they become ripe. These fruits have a juicy and pleasantly sour flavour and are eaten by mice, birds and humans.

Lannea Edulis Is Part Of Nature’s Pharmacy

Traditionally, people have used the bark, leaves, rootbark, and roots of Lannea edulis as herbal medicines against 39 human diseases in tropical Africa. Experts use the leaves as a medicine to treat bronchitis, and prevent abortion when it is anticipated. If you have menstrual pains, bilharzia, or gonorrhea, you can use the roots for relief. For a treatment against blackwater fever, the bark and fruits are an excellent treatment. However, be sure to first be trained in the fine art of herbal medicine before trying these remedies at home.

Use Lannea Edulis To Beautify Your Spaces

For a splash of colour on your property, this plant can be grown as an ornamental in a sunny rockery. The bright red fruits will provide seasonal colour.