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Vitex keniensis - Turrill

Common Name Fulu, Mkombachiko, Mufuu
Family Lamiaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Moist evergreen forest and on thicketed rocky hills at elevations from 1,300 - 2,100 metres[402 , 418 ].
Range East tropical Africa - Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Vitex keniensis Fulu, Mkombachiko, Mufuu

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Vitex keniensis Fulu, Mkombachiko, Mufuu
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Meru Oak, Vitex keniensis, is a fast-growing deciduous tree in the Verbenaceae family that is native to Kenya and is threatened by habitat loss. It grows up to 30 m in height and up to 300 cm in trunk diameter. It has a tall, straight trunk and light green compound leaves with five leaflets. The flowers are small and cream with one mauve petal lobe. The soft, black, ellipsoidal drupe fruits are edible. There is no known medicinal uses of this plant but it is planted as a windbreak and its wood is used for cabinet work, panelling, veneer, furniture, and coffin boards. The wood is also used for fuel.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Vitex keniensis is a deciduous Tree growing to 25 m (82ft) by 25 m (82ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Vitex balbi Chiov.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw[325 , 418 ]. Usually only eaten in times of food shortage[418 ]. Another report says that the fruit is sold in local markets[402 ]. The soft, black fruit is an ellipsoid drupe, 13 - 16mm long[325 , 418 ].

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.

None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

The Bookshop: Edible Plant Books

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Other Uses

Fuel  Furniture  Mulch  Shelterbelt  Wood

Agroforestry Uses: The tree is planted as a windbreak[303 , 418 ]. Fallen leaves make a useful mulch[303 , 418 ]. Other Uses The very pale, greyish-brown wood is coarse textured with well-marked growth zones, and often with a wavy grain figure. The wood is hard and durable, said to be similar to teak. The heartwood of trees over 60cm in diameter is often dark and very decorative. It works easily and is used for cabinet work, panelling, veneer, furniture and coffin boards[303 , 325 , 418 ]. The wood is used for fuel[325 , 418 ].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A plant of the moist tropics where it is found growing at elevations up to 2,100 metres[418 ]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 15 - 20°c, though it can tolerate 12 - 28°c[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall of 1,800 - 2,200mm, tolerating 1,500 - 2,500mm[418 ]. Prefers a sunny position in a well-drained, deep, sandy-loam soil[418 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 7, tolerating 5 - 7.5[418 ]. The tree coppices well[402 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:



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 - when dried, it remains viable for at least 12 months in hermetic storage at 3?c[325 ]. The seed has a dormancy that is probably physical - pre-soaking in cold water for 24 hours may improve germination rates. Sow the seed in a nursery seedbed. Germination is low and sporadic, typically 40 - 60% after 2 - 3 months[325 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

fulu, Mfuru, Mfuu, Mhuru, Mkombachiko, Mufuu, Muuru.

Africa, East Africa, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania.

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 : Status: Vulnerable A1cd+2cd

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Vitex agnus-castusAgnus Castus, Lilac chastetree, Vitex, ChastetreeShrub3.0 7-9 MLMNDM253
Vitex cannabifolia Shrub3.0 -  LMNDM021
Vitex donianaBlack PlumTree15.0 10-12 MLMHSNM434
Vitex madiensisEkarukei, MurukukweTree4.0 10-12 MLMHNM423
Vitex negundoHuang Ping, Chinese chastetree, Cut Leaf Vitex, Cut-leaf ChastetreeShrub3.0 6-9 MLMNDM232
Vitex payosChocolate BerryTree8.0 10-12 MLMHNDM422
Vitex pinnataKelebanTree20.0 10-12 MLMHNDM024

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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