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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)
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.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 9.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.


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


Edible Uses

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 ].

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.

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 ].

Other Uses

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

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 ].


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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

Found In

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

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 NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Bauhinia forficataBrazilian Orchid Tree04
Bauhinia purpureaOrchid Tree, Purple Butterfly Tree, Mountain Ebony, Geranium Tree, Purple Bauhinia22
Bauhinia vahliiMalu Creeper, Adda Leaf, Pahur Camel's Foot Creeper23
Bauhinia variegataMountain Ebony12


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A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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