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Bauhinia petersiana - Bolle

Common Name White bauhinia, Zambezi coffee
Family Fabaceae
USDA hardiness 9-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Open grassland, wooded grassland and woodland, at elevations from 150 - 1,850 metres in east Africa[299 ].
Range Africa - southern DR Congo, Tanzania, southern Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, S. Africa.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Half Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Bauhinia petersiana White bauhinia, Zambezi coffee

BT Wursten zambiaflora.com
Bauhinia petersiana White bauhinia, Zambezi coffee
BT Wursten zambiaflora.com


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Bauhinia petersiana is a deciduous Tree growing to 7 m (23ft) by 7 m (23ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 9.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) 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


Bauhinia macrantha Oliv. Bauhinia serpae Ficalho & Hiern Perlebia macrantha (Oliv.) A.Schmitz Perlebia petersiana (Bolle) A.Schmitz

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Oil  Root  Seed  Seedpod
Edible Uses: Coffee  Drink  Oil

Seed - cooked. Roasted and eaten like nuts, when they are considered a delicacy[299 ]. The seeds can be harvested whilst immature - the whole green pod is briefly roasted and then the seeds removed and eaten[775 ]. A meal made from the pounded seeds is eaten[299 ]. The seeds can be eaten green, but ripe seeds are usually roasted, peeled, and pounded into a pleasant-tasting, coarse meal[322 ]. The mature seeds are roasted and ground into a powder then used as a substitute for coffee[299 , 775 ]. Immature seedpods - cooked[299 ]. They can be roasted or boiled[299 ]. Root - roasted[775 ]. The core of the root is rejected and only the outer portion eaten[775 ]. Mainly a famine food, it is seldom eaten at other times[775 ]. An oil is obtained from the seed[299 ]. The principal fatty acids in the seed oil are linoleic acid (45%), oleic acid (26%), palmitic acid (16%) and stearic acid (7%)[299 ].

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.
Antidiarrhoeal  Antitussive  Skin

The leaves are boiled, the steam inhaled and the cooled-down liquid drunk to cure common cough[299 ]. The pounded leaves, mixed with salt, are boiled and the warm liquid is sprinkled on wounds to promote healing[299 ]. An infusion of the roots is used to treat dysmenorrhoea and female infertility[299 ]. A decoction of the macerated roots is drunk as a remedy for diarrhoea[299 ]. The roots and leaves contain tannins[299 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

The Bookshop: Edible Plant Books

Our Latest books on Perennial Plants For Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens in paperback or digital formats.

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
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Other Uses

Dye  Fibre  Oil  String  Tannin

The bark fibres are used to make rope[299 ]. A dye is obtained from the roots[299 ].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming  Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Management: Standard  Staple Crop: Protein-oil  Wild Staple Crop

Bauhinia petersiana is a plant of moist to arid areas in the tropics, where it can be found at elevations up to 1,850 metres[299 ]. The plant can tolerate some frost and can be found in areas experiencing as little as 350mm of rain in a year[299 ]. Requires a sunny position in a well-drained, preferably light, soil. Although many species within the family Fabaceae have a symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria, this species is said to be devoid of such a relationship and therefore does not fix atmospheric nitrogen[299 ].

Carbon Farming

  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • Staple Crop: Protein-oil  (16+ percent protein, 16+ percent oil). Annuals include soybeans, peanuts, sunflower seeds. Perennials include seeds, beans, nuts, and fruits such as almond, Brazil nut, pistachio, walnut, hazel, and safou.
  • Wild Staple Crop  Some wild plants have strong historical or contemporary use. Although they are not cultivated crops, they may be wild-managed.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

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Plant Propagation

Seed - Cuttings Layering

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Chingando, Imondo, Michingando, Mpando, Mpandula, Mpapa, Muauwa, Mubondo, Mumwando, Mun’ando, Mupondo, Muuwa

Africa, Angola, Australia, Botswana, Central Africa, Congo, East Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Southern Africa, Tanzania, 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
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Bauhinia purpureaOrchid Tree, Purple Butterfly Tree, Mountain Ebony, Geranium Tree, Purple BauhiniaTree10.0 9-12 FLMSNM224
Bauhinia thonningiiCamel's foot tree, monkey breadTree5.0 10-12 MLMHNDM323
Bauhinia vahliiMalu Creeper, Adda Leaf, Pahur Camel's Foot CreeperClimber20.0 7-11 FLMHNM234
Bauhinia variegataMountain EbonyTree12.0 8-11  LMHSNMWe122

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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Botanical References

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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