Euclea schimperi1 & divinorum (Hiern)
Maqayita (Konsogna), Dedeho (Amharic), Miessa (Oromiffa)
It is an evergreen shrub or small tree (3-5 m) with dense foliage growing in bushland and riverine forest area with a similar shape as the well-known olive trees of southern Europe. Leaves are opposite and the tip of the leaf is rounded and narrowing to the petiole. Flowers are cream-white and sweet-scented. The fruits are very small, round and green at early growth stage and purple-black when ripened.
Edible part(s), preparation methods and palatability
Fruits are collected for their thin edible flesh around the seeds enjoyed by children in normal times. Adults also collect and benefit from the fruits in bad times. The ripe purple-black fruits have a sweet edible pulp. The edible part is however, scanty, much of the fruit being seed, which is discarded.
The species grows in many places throughout Africa on rocky hillsides, in dry woodland, bushland, riverine forests and marginal arid areas in dry, moist and wet mid- and lowlands (1,500 2,300m).
(1) Jarso Kebele, Konso; (2) Abay Gorge, Nefas Meychew (South Gonder)
E. divinorum is an important medicinal plant. Roots and extract of roots sometimes mixed with other ingredients of other plants are a useful medicine to treat chest pains, pneumonia, internal body pains, stomach-ache and diarrhea. Chewed roots ease toothache. The wood is used for firewood and farm tools. Branches are commonly used as toothbrushes.
1 Parts of the following description have been taken from Bekele-Tesemma et al., 1993: p. 234/235 and Maundu et al., 1999: p. 130
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