of the bark and latex of the Sycamore fig tree is used
by the locals for chest ailments and sore throats.
Within the mixed Mopane
broadleaf woodland found within the Khwai area, the
five most common trees are the Leadwood, Large feverberry,
Mopane, Knobthorn and Umbrella thorn.
(Motswiri) have a dense wood (air-dried 1200kg/m cubed)
and as the name suggests it is very heavy and does not
float. The ash serves can be used as toothpaste.
The Herero people regard
the Leadwood tree as the great ancestor of all animals
and people and never pass by the trees without paying
it the necessary respect. This superstition most stems
from the fact that the Leadwood can live up to 1000
The Large Fever-berry
(Motsede) was so named because of its association with
malaria; this was however proved not to be accurate.
In fact it has been proved that the seeds have some
anti-malarial properties (Dr. John Maberly).
The seed of the large fever-berry
contain 50% oil; generally known as Croton oil and can
be used as a very effective purgative. The locals also
use it as a potent fish poison.
(Mophane) tree leaves have important nutritional value
containing high protein (12,6%). The browsing animals
favour these leaves.
The Emperor Moth family
lays its eggs on the Mopane tree. The larva feed on
the leaves when they hatch and the locals feed on the
larva, which they consider a delicacy.
(Mokoba) is also referred to as the "wait-a-bit"
tree because of its nasty hock thorn. This is not the
tree you select to climb when being chased into the
A parasitic herb known
as "Mistletoe" is commonly found on branches
of Knobthorn trees. The mistletoe flowers attract sunbird
species like the Marico Sunbird.
The Umbrella Thorn
Tree (Mosu) has a characteristic shape featured
regularly on many African postcards. The pods are highly
valued containing protein (18%), fat (2%), carbohydrates
(46%), minerals (5%) and fibre (20%).
The Apple leaf/Raintree
(Mopororo) also referred to, as the rain tree, because
of the way its sap drips to the ground in the early
morning, after an insect called the Froghopper, eats
It is believed that carrying
the twig from the Raintree in a pocket will assist one
in attracting friends.
The Kalahari Apple
leaf (Mohata) is very similar to its cousin
the Apple Leaf. This species is, however, restricted
to the deep sands of the Kalahari.
The Kalahari Apple Leaf
makes for an excellent fodder tree, favoured by Kudu,
giraffe and often eaten off the ground by Impala.
The Russet bush-willow
(Mokabe) is a member of the Combretum family and has
the characteristic four winged seeds found in this family.
The seeds have the red colour that gives the tree its
The russet bush-willow
seeds can be used to make a herbal tea and an infusion
of the roots is used to treat stomach disorders.
acacia (Setshi) is not often referred to as
a large tree. The major characteristic of this plant
as its name would suggest, is the candle shape pod.
The Ovahimba in Namibia
use a mixture of powdered root from the candle-pod acacia
and fat, as a hair treatment. This tree has also been
used as a leprosy remedy.