A magnificent Quinine tree stands in the Berg-en-Dal rest camp in the reception area between the retail shop and take-away restaurant. Its tall erect trunk can be admired as it towers above the surrounding buildings.
High-branching Quinine trees grow up to 30m tall and are very ornamental with glossy, bright green leaves, displaying a dull, pale, grey shade beneath. The leaves characteristically grow in whorls of three to six at the end of branchlets. The tree bears small, fragrant white flowers from the end of September to November.
Quinine trees always grow near to water. Should you spot one some distance away from open water, you can be sure it is a sign of subterranean water. They grow all over Kruger but are more prevalently abundant in the Pafuri area.
Nyala browse the leaves while vervet monkeys eat everything – leaves, flowers and seeds. Fruit-eating birds like hornbills, barbets, doves and bulbuls feast on large berries which are also favoured by bushbabies.
The Latin name is Rauvolfia cafra. Rauvolia being derived from the surname of a 16th century medical doctor from Augsberg in Germany named Leonart Rauwolf who was a collector of medicinal plants.
The Quinine tree has many medicinal properties and is widely used in traditional medicine, the bark and rootes were extensively used to treat, among other diseases, malaria.
Gleaned from the pen of Marissa Greeff in her book
A Site-by-Site Guide to Trees in the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK.
This book can be purchased from us for R260.00 excluding postage.
The Quinine Tree is available for sale at the Kruger Indigenous Tree Nursery near Skukuza.
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