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Family name: Melianthaceae

Scientific name: Melianthus comosus

Authority: Vahl.

Synonym: Diplerisma comosum (Vahl) Planch.

Zulu names: ibhonya

Short description: M. comosus is an evergreen shrub with pinnate leaves that produce an unpleasant smell when they are touched, hence the Afrikaans name “kruidjie-roer-my-nie” which means ‘touch-me-not-herb’. It also has flowers that produce black nectar that resembles black coffee in taste and appearance, hence the Afrikaans name koffebos.


The Zulu name “ibhonya” is derived from the word “bhonya“, which means “to beat on the body“.

The plant gets the name ibhonya because it used to treat body pain, sores, bruises, and wounds, incurred from a beating.

Related uses: The leaves are used to make poultice to treat bruises, sores & wounds. The leaves are used as a bathing agent to treat body pain, sores, & bruises.

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