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Family name: Rubiaceae

Scientific name: Rothmannia globosa

Authority: (Hochst.) Keay

Synonym: Gardenia globosa Hochst.

Zulu names: uvelabahleke, umqathani

Other names: September bells, bell gardenia (English) klokkies valskatjiepiering (Afrikaans)

Short description: R..globosa is a small tree with glossy opposite leaves, aromatic bell-shaped white flowers, and round fruits. The tree grows in forests and along forest margins.


The Zulu name “uvelabahleke” loosely translates to “make them laugh when you appear” or “when you appear others laugh“.

The plant gets the name uvelabahleke because it is used to influence the attitude of unfriendly and angry people, causing them to be affable or polite towards you.

Related uses: The roots and bark are used as a bathing agent to enhance physical appearance and aura. The roots and bark are mixed with other commercial products, such as ilitshe labelungu (white man’s stone), to enhance appearance. This plant is often used by people when they go for job interviews, court cases, and lobola negotiations.

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