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Euclea divinorum - Hiern

Common Name Magic Guarri
Family Ebenaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Grassland with scattered trees and open bushland, often on termite mounds, but also in secondary forest, margins of evergreen forest and on stony slopes, from sea-level up to elevations of 2,700 metres[ 299 ].
Range Eastern and southern Africa - Ethiopia and Kenya, south to Angola, Mozambique and S. Africa.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Euclea divinorum Magic Guarri

JMK wikimedia.org
Euclea divinorum Magic Guarri
JMK wikimedia.org


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Euclea divinorum or commonly known as Magic Guarri or Diamond-leaved Euclea is a tropical small tree or shrub growing up to 6 - 18 m tall found in eastern and southern Africa. It often branches from the base. The bark is grey and smooth but becomes cracked as the tree gets old. The leaves are leathery grey green, with wavy edges. The flowers are cup-shaped, small, and cream in colour. The fruits are taken as a mild laxative. Root extracts and dried powdered roots are used for the treatment of gastro-intestinal disturbances, cancer, miscarriage, jaundice, ulcers, leprosy, wounds, arthritis, snakebites, headache, toothache, and gonorrhoea. Other plant parts and forms are used for various illnesses as well like diarrhoea, anaemia, etc. Bark infusion is used as a condiment in soup preparation. The fruit, particularly the thin fleshy part, can be eaten but not very palatable. The roots are used in the fermentation process to make beer. Magic Cuarri is highly tolerant to high arsenic in soil thus it can be used in the reclamation of gold mine pit wastes. The bark contains tannins which can be used to produce dyes. The roots and fruits are used in dyeing as well. The wood is used for building poles, tool handles, spoons, carving, and for fuel.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Euclea divinorum is an evergreen Tree growing to 8 m (26ft) by 8 m (26ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Embelia oleifolia S.Moore Euclea huillensis Gürke Euclea katangensis De Wild. Euclea keniensis R.E.F


Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Inner bark  Leaves  Root
Edible Uses: Condiment  Salt

Edible portion: Fruit, Leaves. Bark. Root. An infusion of the bark is used as a condiment in the preparation of soup[ 299 ]. The thin fleshy part of the fruits is edible, but not very palatable[ 299 ] The roots are applied in the fermentation process to make beer[ 299 ]. The leaves are considered an appetiser. They are also burnt to produce plant ash as an edible salt. It is a famine food.

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antiarthritic  Antidiarrhoeal  Cancer  Disinfectant  Laxative  Leprosy  Odontalgic  Purgative  

The fruits are taken as a mild laxative, but can have a strong purgative action[ 299 ]. In traditional medicine the root extracts and dried powdered roots are used both internally and externally. Taken internally, they are used for the treatment of gastro-intestinal disturbances, cancer, miscarriage and jaundice[ 299 ]. They are applied externally to treat ulcers, leprosy, wounds, arthritis, snakebites, headache, toothache and gonorrhoea[ 299 ]. The fruits, bark and roots are used as a purgative (in soup) also as a tonic for anaemia[ 364 ]. The leaves are used to treat diarrhoea[ 364 ]. Research on the root-bark has isolated several compounds in the roots and rootbark. These include triterpenoids, naphthoquinones and napthoquinone dimers and trimers: 7-methyljuglone (juglone being the main colorant in walnuts, Juglans species), isodiospyrin, and flavonoids[ 299 ]. One of the triterpenoid compounds and 7-methyljuglone showed cytotoxicity, the latter against a wider range of cell lines than the former[ 299 ]. Chemical investigation of the aerial parts of the plant resulted in the isolation of 4 flavonoid compounds: (+)-catechin, glycosides of aromadendrin, quercetin and myricetin[ 299 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Cosmetic  Disinfectant  Dye  Filter  Fuel  Soil reclamation  Tannin  Teeth  Wood

Agroforestry Uses: Because of its tolerance of high arsenic soil levels, this species can be used in the reclamation of gold mine pit wastes[ 303 ]. The plant is particularly common on arsenical soils, which are often associated with gold deposits or reefs, and it has been suggested that this species may have value as an indicator of the presence of gold[ 299 ]. Other Uses The bark contains tannins and is used to produce fast reddish-brown dyes[ 299 ]. The roots are used to dye the various vegetable fibres used in the weaving of mats, baskets etc into various shades of brown and even black when a mordant of iron-rich mud is applied after dyeing[ 299 ]. When used for dyeing, the roots are dug up and beaten to bruise the bark. Approximately equal quantities of fresh roots and palm leaves or other fibres are required. The fibres and textiles to be dyed are simply left for some time in the boiling extract and subsequently dried[ 299 ]. Depending on how long the fibre to be dyed is left in the boiling dye extract, the colour obtained can range from pale to dark brown or black[ 299 ]. The root-bark contains a rich combination of dyeing compounds making this species an interesting fast dye that can be used with or without the addition of metallic salts as mordants, due to the mordanting effect of the tannins present in the plant[ 299 ]. Research on the root-bark done in Zimbabwe resulted in the isolation of naphthoquinones and napthoquinone dimers and trimers: 7-methyljuglone (juglone being the main colourant in walnuts, Juglans species), isodiospyrin, and flavonoids which contribute together to the dyeing properties of the plant[ 299 ]. The roots are chewed as a disinfectant and to colour the lips and mouth red[ 299 ]. The fruits are used as a purple dye for basket fibres by the Kwanyama Ovambos of northern Namibia and also boiled to produce purple ink[ 299 ]. The fruits, mixed with those of Berchemia discolour, are crushed and boiled with palm leaf strips and the mixture is allowed to stand for one to several days to produce a purplish-brown dye to decorate baskets[ 299 ]. Used alone and without mordant, they give a purple colour that is less fast than the darker colour obtained with the mixture[ 299 ]. The roots and twigs are popular as toothbrushes[ 299 ]. Some evidence exists that the twigs not only clean the teeth but also inhibit growth of teeth-attacking bacteria because of their high polyphenolic content[ 299 , 303 ]. The plant is used to purify drinking water[ 299 ]. The branches are added to the gourds or pots of water and then left to soak in the water for several hours[ 299 ]. This is one of the species used in the treatment of milk to increase its digestibility, palatability and preservation; sometimes treated milk can be stored for over a year without turning bad, which is vital to the household food security[ 299 ]. The wood is white with brown spots and is heavy, hard and strong. The sapwood is pinkish to cream-coloured, turning apricot colour on exposure to air[ 299 ]. The wood is used for building poles, tool handles, spoons and carving[ 299 , 364 ]. The wood is used for fuel[ 299 , 364 ].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A plant of drier areas in the tropics and subtropics, where it can be found at elevations up to 2,400 metres. It grows best in areas where the mean annual temperatures are around 17c, and the mean annual rainfall around 700mm[ 303 ]. Prefers mesic calcareous valley clays and sometimes rocky ground[ 303 ]. Moderately tolerant of heavy metals in the soil, tolerating high concentrations of nickel, but only relatively low levels of copper, and often becomes locally abundant on metalliferous soils. It is particularly common on arsenical soils[ 299 ]. The plant has a good coppicing ability and root suckers are common, growing up some distance from the tree[ 299 ]. Plants tends to dominate pastures to the detriment of wildlife and pastoralism. In some situations only the use of arboricides can solve the problem[ 299 ]. A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seeds are required[ 303 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Seed - no pre-treatment is necessary[ 299 ]. Fresh seed germinates readily[ 299 ]. The seed only has a short viability in normal store, losing viability within about 2 months[ 299 ]. Suckers.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Achondradoho, Indlelanyamatane-lebovu, Iwaruka, Kanho-kanho, Magic gwarri, Maqayita, Mdaa, Mdala, Mkenye, Motlhakola, Mubhununu, Mudziviriratsuro, Mugurameno, Mukinyai, Mungunya, Munyenya, Musikizi, Sijelele, Umtshekesane, Unsi,

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Djibouti; Burundi; Rwanda; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Ethiopia; Yemen; Somalia; South Sudan; Kenya; Tanzania, United Republic of; Uganda; Angola; Malawi; Mozambique; Zambia; Zimbabwe; Botswana; Namibia; South Africa; Swaziland, Africa, Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Central Africa, Congo, Djibouti, East Africa, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Socotra, Somalia, South Africa, Southern Africa, Southern Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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