Warburgia salutaris

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Warburgia salutaris
Warburgia salutaris, blomme, Manie van der Schijff BT, a.jpg
Warburgia salutaris, bas, Manie van der Schijff BT, a.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Magnoliids
Order: Canellales
Family: Canellaceae
Genus: Warburgia
W. salutaris
Binomial name
Warburgia salutaris
(Bertol.f.) Chiov.

Warburgia salutaris (pepper-bark tree, Afrikaans: Peperbasboom, Sotho: Molaka, Venda: Mulanga, Zulu: Isibaha)[1] is a species of tree in the Canellaceae family. It is found in Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Malawi and Zimbabwe. It is threatened by habitat loss. It is a popular medicinal plant and is overharvested in the wild, another reason for its endangerment.[2] The Pepper-bark tree is a protected tree in South Africa.[1] Various projects are investigating methods of propagation under controlled conditions with subsequent planting in the wild.[3]

This is an erect tree growing up to about ten metres in maximum height, but known to reach 20 metres at times. It has a thick canopy of aromatic, shiny green leaves. The evergreen leaf blades are lance-shaped, measuring up to 11 cm long by 3 wide. The flowers have ten yellow-green petals. They are each just under a centimeter long and are solitary or borne in small clusters of up to 3. The fruit is a berry, leathery purple or black in color when ripe, measuring up to 4 cm wide.

The leaves are used to add peppery flavoring to food and tea.[3] The bitter taste of the tree's bark and leaves is due to the presence of iridoids. The aromatic, oily, yellowish wood is used for firewood.[3]

It is attractive and makes a good shade tree.[3]

Traditional medicine[edit]

This plant is used medicinally by the Maasai people to treat malaria.[4] It is used as a snuff or smoked for respiratory complaints such as common cold and cough.[3] The bark can be purchased at markets in Tanzania,[5] and elsewhere.[6]


  1. ^ a b "Protected Trees" (PDF). Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, Republic of South Africa. 3 May 2013.
  2. ^ "Warburgia salutaris | Plantz Africa". www.plantzafrica.com. Retrieved 2017-07-18.
  3. ^ a b c d e W. salutaris. World Agroforestry.
  4. ^ Bussmann, RW; Gilbreath, GG; Solio, J; Lutura, M; Lutuluo, R; Kunguru, K; Wood, N; Mathenge, SG (2006). "Plant use of the Maasai of Sekenani Valley, Maasai Mara, Kenya". Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine. 2: 22. doi:10.1186/1746-4269-2-22. PMC 1475560. PMID 16674830.
  5. ^ "Indigenous multipurpose trees of Tanzania: Uses and economic benefits for people - WARBURGIA SALUTARIS". www.fao.org. Retrieved 2017-07-18.
  6. ^ Botha, J.; Witkowski, E.T.F.; Shackleton, C.M. (2004). "The impact of commercial harvesting on Warburgia salutaris ('pepper-bark tree') in Mpumalanga, South Africa". Biodiversity and Conservation. 13 (9): 1675. doi:10.1023/B:BIOC.0000029333.72945.b0..