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Family: Sapotaceae

Scientific name: Manilkara nicholsonii

Authority: A.E.van Wyk 

Zulu name: amasethole

Other name: Pondo milkberry

Plant description: M. nicholsonii is a medium-sized to large tree. It has elliptic dark green leaves that are glossy above and dull below, small solitary white flowers, berry-like fruits that turn orange when ripe, and branches and greyish furrow bark that bleeds a white latex when injured. The tree grows on rocky forest margins or streambanks of Pondoland.

The Zulu name amasethole is a portmanteau of the words amasi (sour milk) and ithole (calf), referencing the milk sap of the tree. 


  • The edible fruits are eaten as food.
  • The milky latex used to make chicle, a natural gum, that is traditionally used in making chewing gum.
  • The plant is used to treat poisoning from rotten meat. 
  • The plant is used to treat stomach cramps. 
  • The wood is used to make traditional sticks for fighting and personal protection.
  • The wood is used to make knobkerries, wooden clubs, and walking sticks.  
  • The plant is used as ornamental.

Safety precaution:

Using traditional medicine responsibly can enhance your overall health and well-being. Misuse and abuse can lead to complications. You can inquire about the correct use of traditional medicine from a knowledgeable herbalist and practitioner. You can also visit or email: to learn more about traditional medicine

References and further reading: 

  • Abbott, T., 2001. Rare and Threatened Plants of KwaZulu-Natal and Neighbouring Regions.
  • Kate and Grieve, G., 2021. Twist of fate. Veld & Flora, 107(1), pp.16-21.
  • Mucina, L., Mucina, L., Abbott, A. and Tichý, L., 2018. Classification of Pondoland scarp forests. Vegetation survey and classification of subtropical forests of southern Africa, pp.91-124.
  • Van Wyk, A.E. and Lötter, L.A., 1982. Manilkara nicholsonii (Sapotaceae), a new species from southern Natal. South African Journal of Botany, 1(1-2), pp.33-37.
  • Zukulu, S., Dold, T. and Abbott, T., 2012. Medicinal and charm plants of Pondoland. South African National Biodiversity Institute.

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