Gardenia cornuta

Gardenia cornuta

Common Names

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

Taxonomy

Family RUBIACEAE
Genus Gardenia
Specie cornuta
SA Plant Number 690.1
Basionym Gardenia cornuta

Description

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

Wildlife

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

Uses

Traditional:
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).

Distribution

KwaZulu Natal
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