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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
Bauhinia petersiana White bauhinia, Zambezi coffee
BT Wursten


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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.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


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


Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Oil  Root  Seed  Seedpod
Edible Uses: 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 ].


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 ].


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Edible Shrubs provides detailed information, attractively presented, on over 70 shrub species. They have been selected to provide a mix of different plant sizes and growing conditions. Most provide delicious and nutritious fruit, but many also have edible leaves, seeds, flowers, stems or roots, or they yield edible or useful oil.

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Other Uses


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

Special Uses

Carbon Farming


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.


Temperature Converter

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The PFAF Bookshop

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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 NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Bauhinia forficataBrazilian Orchid TreeTree12.0 10-12 FLMHNM043
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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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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