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Gardenia cornuta flower and leaves

Gardenia cornuta

Tongakatjiepiering (afrikaans)
Tonga Gardenia (english)
umValasangweni (zulu)


Genus Gardenia
Specie cornuta
SA Plant Number 690.1
Basionym Gardenia cornuta

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Gardenia cornuta is a small, evergreen, decorative tree. It is multi-stemmed with grey-green mottled bark on erect, stiff branches.

The leaves are clustered at the ends of the hard twigs, and are shiny light green with wavy margins.

Scented, star-like white flowers adorn the tree from December to March, making it a sight to behold. They fade to creamy yellow as they get older.

These are followed by oval woody fruit that turn yellow. The fruit is eaten by monkeys when it is young, and nyala also relish the fruit.

Plant in a spot that is protected from frost, in sun or very light, dappled shade.

Size up to 5m


Leaves are browsed by game
Fruit is eaten by monkeys when it is still young, and it is one of the preferred foods of Nyala.


The isiZulu name "umValasangweni" means "to close the gate". It is planted at the gates of the homestead to ward off evil spirits and is also used to close cattle kraals (enclosures).


KwaZulu Natal

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