Prunus Africana is a tree of life that can be encountered by a traveler on a Uganda safari tour in Kibale National Park Uganda and Rwenzori Mountain National Park Uganda. Kibale National Park, also known as the “primate capital of the world” is famous for Uganda chimpanzee trekking safaris, nature walks, Uganda birding safaris, among others while Rwenzori Mountain National Park is good for travelers interested in birding safaris Uganda, hiking safaris in Uganda, wildlife safaris in Uganda, nature walks, and many more.
The genus name ‘Prunus’ is derived from the Latin word which refers to refers to the species of African origin. Prunus Africana is sometimes referred to as the red stink wood tree because its wood has unpleasant smell. It belongs to the Rosaceae family and the scientific name “Prunus africana”.
Importance of the Prunus Africana
- This tree of life is used for medicinal purposes. scientific studies have shown that it has various bio active substances with anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antiviral, and antimicrobial effects.
- It has been discovered to have the highest concentration of the active ingredients needed for treating prostate cancer and other related health problems compared to other tree species in the country.
- It also treats erectile dysfunction, urinary tract disorders, kidney disease, male baldness, stomach upset, chest pain and inflammation.
- The bark is also used in the treatment of stomach ache and wound dressing as well as aphrodisiac to enhance vitality and sexual power especially among the males.
- An infusion of the leaves is traditionally used to improve appetite, treatment of genital infection and hirsutism (a condition of unwanted, male-pattern hair growth) in women.
A mature tree is about 10-25 m high with open branches and the outer part of the bark is corrugated or rough with a black to brown colour.
The inside part of the bark is red in colour.
The leaves are alternate and simple from 8–20 cm in length and dark green on top and pale green on the bottom with mildly serrated margins.
How is it called in other countries?
Like other tree species from different parts of Africa, Prunus africana is called by different names in the different African language dialects. For instance, the Zulu of South Africa call it ‘Inyazangoma-elimnyama’, the Chagga of Tanzania ‘Mkonde-konde’, the Kikuyu of Kenya ‘Muiri’ and the Baganda of Uganda refer to it as ‘Entasesa’. In Afrikaans and the Kiswahili languages of South Africa and E. Africa, Prunus africana is called ‘Rooi-stinkhout’ and ‘kiburabura’, respectively.
Where is it found?
This evergreen monoecious tree is native to Sub-Saharan Africa in 22 countries including Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, but also in Cameroon, Nigeria, Sao Tome, and Angola among others.
How is it planted?
The Prunus africana tree species is easily propagated from freshly harvested seeds which are planted in a well-drained place. Generally, the seeds can take 50 to 90 days to germinate after planting, but the growth rate is rapid. The plant can grow up to one meter per year in normal conditions.In conclusion, Prunus africana is a wonder medicinal plant species that has the potential to save the world from the current global deadly disease called prostate cancer.