Commiphora edulis

Synonyms:

Balsamea edulis
Commiphora chlorocarpa
Commiphora morogorensis
Commiphora trollii
Hitzera edulis

Habitat:

Commiphora edulis is a small tree native to Africa which occurs spontaneously in several countries of the continent: in particular Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Limpopo and Mpumalanga, South Africa.

Its natural habitat are woods or shrublands or rocky slopes in hot climates, with rainfall between 350 and 900 millimeters per year. You can find it at very different altitudes: from 450 to 1000 meters above sea level!

Description:

Commiphora edulis looks like a shrub with multiple stems or a small tree with very pronounced branches compared to the main trunk. Like all Commiphoras, C. edulis produces gummy resins. In particular, its resin is very scented, white, and has a milky consistency. It is also sticky: so much so that they also use it as a glue.

Commiphora edulis is a dioecious plant. A species is “dioecious” when it has “male” and “female” individuals, i.e. plants that have only male flowers and plant that have only female flowers.

Like all Commiphora, C. habessinica is also a caudiciform: that is, it has a caudex. The caudex is a basal part of an enlarged trunk that is used to store nutrients and water to cope with the dry season or the perpetually dry conditions of its habitat of origin.

Cultivation:

Commiphora edulis won’t give you any problems if you put it in a very bright position and in a poor and well-drained substrate. The main cause of failure in the cultivation of this little tree is the excessive amount of water. Commiphora edulis should in fact receive water about every 3-4 days in Spring and Summer, which is their growing season, while, with the arrival of Winter, the water supply must be reduced until it stops completely. It is better to keep it at home in winter, to avoid thermal shock. This plant comes from warm climates and does not like cold, especially if it is cold and humid.

Propagation:

The propagation of Commiphora edulis comes mainly from seed. Remember that to produce the seeds, being this plant a dioecious species, you must have at least two plants, the “male” and the “female” individuals , and pollinate the female flowers by taking pollen from the male flowers with a toothbrush. If you succeed, the seed takes about 2 months to ripen.

Curiosity:

C. edulis is, as its name says, edible. In particular, so are its large, fleshy fruits: very much appreciated also by birds and small mammals.

Commiphora edulis is also used as a medicinal plant: the infusions of its bark, rich in resins, are traditionally used for treating malaria. Its leaves, roots and stems are considered a traditional remedy against stomachache and menstrual pains.

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