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Vangueria_infausta - Burch.

Common Name African medlar
Family Rubiaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Grassland, thicket and open woodlands, often on termite mounds, in rocky places and even dunes at elevations from near sea level to 1,500 metres[308 ].
Range Tropical Africa - Cameroon to Kenya, south to Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and northern S.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Vangueria_infausta African medlar

Vangueria_infausta African medlar


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Vangueria infausta, known as African Medlar, is a low-branching tree reaching a height of 8 m and is native to the southern and eastern Afrotropics. It is tolerant to drought but growth rate is slow. The bark is brown and flaky, and leaves are large, opposite, dull, and vary in shape. Flowers are green and in dense clusters. The fruits are glossy and green when young, then become tan as it mature. African medlar is a traditional food plant in Africa and provides medicinal uses. The fruits are consumed raw or its pulp is dried and stored for later use. The seeds can be roasted. The roots are used to treat snake-bite, malaria, pneumonia, heart ailments and coughs, while the leaves are used for swellings on the legs, inflammation of the navel in children, abdominal pain, and dental pain. The wood is used as poles for houses, tool handles, and agricultural implements. It is also used for fuel.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Vangueria_infausta is a deciduous Shrub growing to 5 m (16ft) by 5 m (16ft) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. The flowers are pollinated by Bees, Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.


Canthium infaustum (Burch.) Baill. Vangueria barnimiana Schweinf. Vangueria campanulata Robyns Vangu


Edible Uses

Fruit - raw[46 , 301 , 418 ]. A soft, fleshy pulp[418 ]. An acid, somewhat sweetish-sour flavour[301 ]. The brown pulp round the seeds tastes somewhat like stewed dried, apple-rings[466 ]. The pulp is sometimes soaked in water and then dried for later use[418 ]. The green fruit usually ripens to a dull orange-brown or purplish colour. It is 15 - 47mm in diameter[308 ]. Seeds - raw[301 ]. They can also be made into a relish[301 ].

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 root is anthelmintic, antidote and purgative[418 ]. A popular snake-bite remedy, it is also used to treat a variety of complaints such as malaria, pneumonia, coughs and other chest troubles[418 ]. A warm decoction of the roots is considered to be an effective remedy for heart ailments in Namibia[775 ]. The leaves are applied externally as a treatment for swellings on the legs; inflammation of the navel in children; abdominal pain; and for the relief of dental pain[418 ].

Other Uses

Other Uses The wood can be used as poles for houses, tool handles and agricultural implements[303 ]. The wood is considered a good fuel in some areas, though in others it is said to bring bad luck if burnt[295 , 303 , 418 ].

Cultivation details

A tree of the subtropics to tropics, usually growing in areas with a distinct dry season at elevations up to 1,500 metres[308 , 418 ]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 17 - 28?c, though it can tolerate 12 - 36?c[418 ]. The plant is fairly frost-tolerant and is able to withstand temperatures down to -5?c when it is dormant, though even light frosts can damage the young growth[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall of 800 - 1,200mm, but tolerates 700 - 1,500mm[418 ]. Succeeds in full sun to light shade[418 ]. Succeeds in most soils so long as they are well drained[418 ]. Established plants are drought tolerant[418 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 7, tolerating 5 - 7.5[418 ]. A slow growing plant, usually increasing height by less than 50cm a year[295 , 303 ].


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Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe[295 ]. It can be stored for up to 12 months if dried properly[303 ]. Cuttings.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Imadnulu, Infahlo, Ingumi, Ivili, Iviyo, Mafila, Mapendo, Mbilima, Mfukutu, Mispel, Mkangandembo, Mmilo, Mpulukututu, Msada, Msambarawe, Msilu, Mulada, Mungolomya, Mutululo, Muziru, Mvilu, Mviru, Mzilu, Ndigiti, Ndowiro, Nombumbu, Nwene, Titipe, !hom!homs, /guri, anyuka, apindi, bergmispel, eembu, emaler, engumi-etari (loita), false medlar, grootmispel, g|u'urih, ibbu, ikoromosien, ikoromosyoi, kimolik, kimolwet, komolik, komolwo, kumukhomoli, m'djululo, m'ziro, mafila, mbiruiru, mboghombogho, mmilo, mmupudu, monyonyana, mothwane, mpfilwa, mubilo, mubiru, mughomoli, mukhomoli, mukomoa, mukomora, munziro, munzviru, muteleli, mutululo, muviru, muzoza, mviru, narakasha, nombumbu, ntswila, nwene, nzwigwa, olgum (plural), olgumi, ombu, omibu, omimbu, omokomoni, omudenja, omudjenya, omumbu, omundjenya, omutjenya, omuya, ondenya, oshimbu, ozondjenya, shikomoli, titipe, umthofu, umviyo, velvet wild-medlar, wild medlar, wild-medlar, wilde moepel, wildemispel, |u'uru.

Found In

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

Cameroon; Rwanda; Kenya; Tanzania, United Republic of; Uganda; Malawi; Mozambique; Zambia; Zimbabwe; Namibia; South Africa; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Angola; Swaziland; Sudan; South Sudan, Africa, Angola, Botswana, Central Africa, Central African Republic, Congo, East Africa, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Southern Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zululand, 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

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

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