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Amatulwa ehlathi

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Family: Rubiaceae

Scientific name: Vangueria lasiantha

Authority: (Sond.) Sond.  

Synonyms: Canthium discolor Baill., Cuviera australis K.Schum., Lagynias discolor E.Mey ex Robyn, Lagynias lasiantha (Sond.) Bullock, Pachystigma lasianthum Sond.

Zulu names: amatulwa ehlathi, umtulwa, umtulwabathwa, umviyo, umviyo wehlathi, isibangabulonga

Other name: smooth pendent medlar

Plant description: V. lasiantha is a small tree or shrub. It has dark green leaves that have a paler underside, many small flowers, and edible globular fruits. The tree is native to Southern Africa and can be found growing in the woodland, coastal thicket, and forest habitats.


  • The edible fruits are eaten as snack food.
  • The leaves are used for steaming to cure body pains. 
  • The leaves are used to treat diarrhoea and dysentery. 
  • The plant is used to make umuthi omhlophe tonic.  
  • The plant is used to make tonics to boost the body’s immunity. 
  • The wood is used to make fighting sticks.
  • The wood is used as fuelwood to make firewood and charcoal.

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: 

  • Corrigan, B.M., Van Wyk, B.-E., Geldenhuys, C.J., Jardine, J.M., 2011. Ethnobotanical plant uses in the KwaNibela Peninsula, St Lucia, South Africa. South African Journal of Botany 77, 346–359.
  • Hutchings, A., Scott, A.H., Lewis, G., Cunningham, A., 1996. Zulu medicinal plants. Natal University Press, Pietermaritzburg.
  • Massingue, A., Datizua, C., Langa, C. and Bruno, C., 2021. Mozambique TIPAs Fieldwork Report A Preliminary Botanical Survey to Support Biodiversity Conservation in the Vilanculos Coastal Wildlife Sanctuary, Mozambique.
  • Mbanjwa, S.G., 2020. A quantitative ethnobotanical survey of the Ixopo area of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. University of Johannesburg (South Africa).
  • Mhlongo, L.S. and Van Wyk, B.E., 2019. Zulu medicinal ethnobotany: New records from the Amandawe area of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. South African Journal of Botany122, pp.266-290.
  • Watt, J.M., and Breyer-Brandwijk, M.G., 1962. Medicinal and poisonous plants of southern and eastern Africa, second edition. Livingstone, London.

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