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Table 1 Plant species cited by informants among Vhavenda communities in the Limpopo Province of South Africa

From: Hierarchies of knowledge: ethnobotanical knowledge, practices and beliefs of the Vhavenda in South Africa for biodiversity conservation

Scientific and family name Vhavenda name Habit BO Status CS AP P Use value Description Literature on Vhavenda ethnobotanical use Voucher numbers UVI RFI
Acanthaceae
 Ribbon Bush (Hypoestes aristata (Vahl) Roem. & Schult.) Mukuluvhali H N C/W HG   Y Food, medicine a) Leaves: eaten as a vegetable; relish eaten with porridge; b) Roots: menstrual pain; bolsters immunity in young babies1 a) Leaves: vegetable; eaten during times of food shortage [6]. NCU0014 0.065 0.032
Amaranthaceae
 Fat Hen, Lamb's Quarter, White Goosefort, Common Pigsweed (Chenopodium album L) Dale Dale H E (Europe) W HG C/N   Food a) Leaves: edible vegetable; relish seasoned with salt and eaten with porridge; dried in the sun and stored. a) Leaves: vegetable [6]. NCU0065 0.032 0.032
 Red amaranth, Wild amaranth, Purple Amaranth, Cockscomb (Amaranthus cruentus L) Mukango H E (North and Central America) W HG    Food, cultural, charcoal a) Leaves: edible vegetable; eaten with porridge; b) Stem: seasoning to be mixed with the leaves of Corchorus tridens; also mixed with Ricinus communis to make a stimulant named snuff1; c) Bark stem: used to make charcoal1. a) Leaves and stem: edible vegetable served with other vegetables and pumpkin leaves; dried and stored for future use [7]. NCU0021, 117, 135 0.097 0.097
 Smooth Pigweed (Amaranthus hybridus L) Vowa H E (America) C/W HG C/N Y Food, medicine a) Leaves: edible vegetable; mixed with tomatoes and salt; relish eaten with porridge; infusion of leaves used to make a drink for new-born children named khongodoli to bolster the immune system2; infusion of leaves is also used to treat high blood pressure1. a) Leaves: vegetable eaten with pumpkin leaves and flowers and eaten with Corchorus tridens; used to test suitability of baby’s food during first 3–4 days. If the baby shows symptoms of diarrhoea, it is given a soft porridge named khongodoli instead of ntsu a liquid food. In this case, the baby is given a decoction of boiled leaves; ingredient in snuff; high nutritional value [6,7,8]. NCU0049, 94, 114, 118, 125, 157, 0.065 0.226
Anarcardiaceae
 Marula (Sclerocarya birrea (A.Rich.) Hochst.) Mufula T N C/W F/W   Y Firewood, food, medicine, drink a) Fruits: edible and used to make a beer named mukumbi; b) Bark: treat ulcers; supports pregnancy and fertility in women; c) Wood: firewood. a) Fruit: edible fruits; beer; b) seeds: cooking fat; cooking oil; c) bark: support pregnancy; fertility; colds; headaches; malaria; stomach troubles; ulcers; toothache; regulate sex of unborn child; d) wood: for carving and household utensils; burning articles made from clay [6, 9, 16]. NCU0140, 158, 176 0.129 0.097
Annonaceae
 African Custard Apple, African Custard Apple (Annona senegalensis Pers) Muembe T N W HG    Firewood, food, medicine a) Fruit: edible fruits; b) Bark: toothache1; root bark added to porridge for babies for its nutritional value; c) Wood: firewood1. a) Fruit: edible fruits; b) Root: snake-bite; venereal disease; bilharzia; enhances medicinal and nutritional value of porridge; relieves constipation; stomach and spasms; headache due to indigestion; blood in faeces; c) Bark: stomach ache; diarrhoea; dysentery; protecting individuals from antagonistic individuals; fibre used to make ox-whips; d) Wood: cow-stick; e) Branch: headache [6, 9, 16] NCU0180 0.097 0.032
 Kalahari Bitterwood, Kalahari Red-Fingers (Xylopicrum odoratissimum (Welw. ex Oliv.) Kuntze) Muvhulavhusiku T N W HG    Medicine a) Roots: stomach pain a) Roots: stomach ache [6, 16]. NCU0082 0.032 0.032
Apocynaceae
 African Heartvine (Pentarrhinum insipidum E.Mey.) Phulule C N W HG    Food a) Leaves: edible vegetable; cooked with porridge. a) Edible vegetable; used as a spice when cooked with other vegetables [6]. NCU0070 0.032 0.032
 Quinine Tree (Rauvolfia caffra Sond) Munadzi T N C HG   Y Medicine, shade, domestic utensils a) Wood: household utensils such as spoons and bowls; b) Bark: stomach aches; c) An important shade tree1. a) Bark: killing maggots in wounds; abdominal and pelvic troubles; malaria; arrests development of diseases; epilepsy; b) Wood: household utensils such as spoons and bowls [6, 9, 49]. NCU0013 0.097 0.032
 Rubber Vine (Landolphia Kirkii Dyer) Muvhungo Shr N W HG    Food a) Fruits: edible fruits named muvhungo; b) Latex: strengthening birdlime. a) Fruits: edible fruits; beverage; b) Latex: sweet taste and used to make birdlime; c) Roots: piles; rheumatoid arthritis; d) Stem: sticks to protect against witchcraft and magical attacks; e) Saplings: basket rims; constructions of thatch roofs [6, 9, 13]. NCU0085, NCU0194 0.032 0.065
 Simple-Spined Num-Num, Climbing Num-Num, Small Num-Num (Carissa edulis (Forssk.) Vahl) Murungulu T N W HG    Firewood, food a) Fruit: edible fruits; b) Roots: soaked and mixed with other vegetables to make a relish and eaten with porridge; c) Wood: firewood1 a) Fruits: edible fruits; juice; b) Roots: mixed with other roots to make an infusion for soft porridge named tshiunza and eaten by babies; tuberculosis; menorrhagia; infertility; worms; increase size of penis, mild laxative for children; c) Leaves: stomach ache; cough; cataracts [6, 9, 13, 50]. NCU0174, 201 0.065 0.065
Aracreae
 Taro (Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott) Mufungwe H E (Asia) C/W HG C/N   Food a) Leaves: edible vegetable, leaves are dried and stored for future use; often eaten with meat because it produces an attractive aroma2. The plant is commonly found in rivers. a) Leaves: edible vegetable; b) Rhizomes: taste like potatoes when fried [7]. NCU0002, 19, 68, 92, 99, 144 0.032 0.226
Araliaceae
 False-Cabbage Tree (Schefflera umbellifera (Sond.) Baill) Mukho T N C/W HG   Y Firewood, construction a) Wood: used to make household utensils such as spoons and plates; firewood. a) Wood: household utensils such as knives; spoons; plates; bowls [6]. NCU0053 0.065 0.032
Asteraceae
 Annual Sowthistle, Common Sowthistle (Sonchus oleraceus (L.) L.) Shashe H E (Europe, Asia) W HG C/N   Food a) Leaves: edible vegetable believed to bolster the immune system2 a) Leaves: piquant taste to cooked vegetable; dried and stored for future use [6]. NCU0152 0.032 0.032
 Black Jack, Beggars Ticks (Bidens pilosa L) Mushidzhi H E (America) W HG C/N Y Food, medicine a) Leaves: edible vegetable eaten with porridge; leaves are dried and used during times of drought or famine2; bolsters the immune system1; given to new born babies to be eaten with soft porridge. a) Leaves: edible vegetable eaten with porridge; piquant with other vegetables; menstruation problems; promote conception; testing whether new-born babies need liquid food or solid porridge; high nutritional value [6,7,8]. NCU0022, 60, 62, 95, 126, 151   
 Bushman’s Tea (Athrixia phylicoides DC) Mutshatsha Shr N W HG   Y Food, drink a) Leaves: Boiled and mixed with Hibiscus trionum to make a tea2; b) Fruits: used to make a dish named thopi from the fruits named gwadi1. a) Root: aphrodisiac; anthelmintic; b) Leaves: tea named Mubosotie; meaning wild tea plant; c) Wood: broom; d) Other uses: heart disease; diabetes; high blood pressure; headaches; stomach aches; influenza; leg wounds [6, 13, 51]. NCU0187 0.065 0.032
 Forest Silver Oak (Brachylaena discolor DC) Mufhata T N C/W HG   Y Firewood, domestic utensils, construction, charcoal, medicine, crafts, cultural a) Wood: carving spoons; fences; huts; and poles; support for the neck to correct bad posture in children1; threads for ties1; firewood; charcoal1; b) Leaves: treating roundworm; c) tree found in rivers; forests and mountains. a) Leaves: roundworm infection; b) Wood: roofs; fencing; posts; wall posts; tool handles; firewood [6]. NCU0054, 57 0.226 0.097
Athyriaceae
 Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina (L.) Roth) Muvangulure Shr E (North America) W HG    Indicator a) Grows in cultivating fields and its presence indicates soil fertility1 No known records NCU0177 0.032 0.032
Capparaceae
 African Cabbage, Spider Wisp (Cleome gynandra L) Murudi H N W HG   Y Food a) Leaves: edible vegetables; the leaves are cooked and eaten as a relish with tomatoes and served with porridge; leaves can also be dried and stored during winter. a) Leaves: edible vegetable; eaten with porridge; spice favoured for its piquant taste; dried and stored for future use; high nutritional value [6,7,8]. NCU0131, 184 0.032 0.129
Caricaceae
 Papaya tree (Carica papaya L.) Mupapawe T E (Central America) C HG C/N Y Food, commercial, medicine a) Fruits: Face mask to clear pimples1; body lotion1; edible fruits; b) Bark: steam of bark used to cure symptoms of flu1 a) Roots: venereal disease [9]. NCU0073, 100, 147 0.097 0.097
Chrysobalanaceae
 Cork Tree (Parinari curatellifolia Planch. ex Benth.) Muvhula T N W HG    Food, drink a) The fruits are eaten when ripened and an alcoholic beverage is also made from the fermented pulp of the fruit. a) Fruits: for edible fruits; stamped in water or milk; alcoholic beverage; b) Bark: pelvic pains; venereal diseases; cleaning kidneys; toothache; c) Roots: venereal disease [6, 9, 13]. NCU0084 0.065 0.032
Combretaceae
 Bicoloured Bushwillow, Kalahari Bushwillow, Silver Bushwillow (Combretum collinum Fresen) Muvuvha T N W HG    Firewood, charcoal Wood: firewood; charcoal1 a) Wood: firewood; b) Shade saplings: building material [6].   0.065 0.032
 Bush Willow, Bushveld Willow (Combretum erythrophyllum (Burch) Sond) Muvuvhu-wa-mulamboni T N C HG   Y Medicine a) Bark: pregnancy problems; b) Tree is found close to rivers. a) Bark: pregnancy problems; b) Branches: roofs and wattles; c) Roots: coughs [6, 9]. NCU0105 0.032 0.032
 Silver-cluster leaf (Terminalia sericea Burch. ex DC.) Mususu T N W HG    Medicine a) Roots: treats diarrhoea in young babies. a) Roots: used in soft porridge to prevent diarrhoea and dysentery; arrest purging; treat protracted parturition or a hanging placenta; venereal disease; infertility [6, 9]. NCU0124 0.065 0.032
 Velvet Bush Willow, Velvet Leaf Willow (Combretum molle R.Br ex G. Don) Mugwiti T N C/W HG, CL    Firewood, charcoal, medicine a) Bark: diarrhoea1; b) Leaves: common colds; c) Wood: firewood. a) Wood: firewood; construction; building; b) Leaves: colds; c) Medicine to encourage and maintain pregnancy; Roots: laxative [6, 9]. NCU0040, NCU0179 0.097 0.065
Cucurbitaceae
 Balsam Pear (Momordica balsamina L) Tshibavhe C N W HG    Food, medicine a) Leaves: edible vegetable; leaves of plant; eaten with porridge; high blood pressure1 a) Leaves: edible vegetable eaten with porridge; piquant taste when added to other vegetables; antiemetic [6]. NCU0063 0.065 0.032
 Bitter Melon (Momordica boivinii Baill) Nngu C N W HG    Food, medicine a) Leaves: edible vegetable; eaten during times of drought; b) Leaves and roots: Earache1; gout1 a) Leaves: eaten with porridge; spice; b) Roots: helps babies to grow bigger [6, 7]. NCU0067, NCU0156 0.097 0.065
 Jelly Melon, Bitter Wild Cucumber, African Cucumber (Cucumis africanus L.f.) Tshinyagu H N W HG    Food a) Leaves: Edible leaves and mixed with Hibiscus Trionum to be eaten with porridge2. a) Leaves: edible vegetable; b) Seed: purgative [6, 7]. NCU0186 0.032 0.032
 Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L) Thanga H E (Central and North America) C HG   Y Food, medicine a) Leaves: edible vegetable; eaten as a spinach when cooked with the roots; eaten with porridge; medicine for treating birth pain1 b) Seeds: edible; c) Calabash; d) Skin of pumpkin: used to make an edible dish named thopi when mixed with porridge2. a) Leaves: cooked with pumpkins and flowers as a dish; b) Flowers: dried and used as a vegetable [6, 7]. NCU0076, 103, 134, 182, 191 0.065 0.161
Ebenaceae
 Bluebrush, Star-Apple Monkey Plum (Diospyros lycioides Desf) Muthala T N C/W HG    Firewood, Food, Shade a) Fruits: salads1; Wood: firewood1 a) Roots: used to make tshiunza a dish given to babies with porridge and ntswu; a nutritious fluid of plants used to feed children who cannot yet eat soft porridge; epilepsy b) Stems: used as lashes by herd boys and teachers [18, 21]. NCU0026, 148, 170 0.097 0.097
 Magic Guarri (Euclea divinorum Hiern) Mutangule T N W HG    Firewood, medicine, food a) Fruits: edible fruits; b) Branches: toothbrush; c) Wood: firewood1; d) Roots: stomach problems. a) Fruits: edible fruits; beverage; b) Branch: toothbrush; c) Roots: purgative; stomach aches; purification of blood; general ill health; c) Prevent water contamination [6, 13, 16, 52, 53]. NCU0168 0.097 0.032
Euphorbiaceae
 Cassava (Manihot utilissima Pohl) Mutumbula Shr E (South America) C HG    Food a) Leaves: cooked with soft porridge for babies; aids digestion1; eaten during times of hunger or drought. a) Leaves: edible vegetable; eaten with porridge and stored for future use; b) Roots: tuber eaten after prolonged boiling or central root core is removed prior to cooking as it is believed to be poisonous [6]. NCU0102 0.032 0.032
 Castor Oil (Ricinus communis L.) Mupfure H E (Europe, India, Tropical Africa) C HG I   Medicine a) Seeds: oils mixed with other medicines because of sticky substance; polishing leather; (b) Leaves: dried and crushed to make a snuff1. a) Roots: toothache; (b) Leaves: purgative; used to treat the disease tshiliso; thought to be caused by witchcraft; topical treatment of internal pains and injuries; c) Seed: purgative; oil from the seed made for mixing medicines; earache; softening and polishing leather; d) Fruits: used as slingshot balls; causes diarrhoea and emesis but will cure coughs; worms; laxative; tonic; earache; menorrhagia; f) Leaves and stems: stings; bites of insects [6, 9, 14]. NCU0051 0.032 0.032
 Forest Fever Berry (Croton sylvaticus Hoscht) Mulathoho T N C/W HG   Y Shade, medicine, firewood a) Shade1; b) Leaves: pleurisy1; c) Wood: firewood1. No known records NCU0047 0.097 0.032
Fabaceae
 Ana Tree, Apple Ring, Winter Thorn(Faidherbia albida (Delile) A. Chev) Muhoto T N C HG   Y Food, medicine a) Fruits: eaten by cattle1; b) Bark: venereal disease1.. a) Bark: anti-malarial [10]. NCU0104 0.065 0.032
 Apple-Leaf (Philenoptera violacea (Klotzsch) Schrire) Mufhanda T N C HG    Firewood, medicine, c a) Stems: medicine for protecting the homestead and yard1; diarrhoea; b) Wood: firewood1. a) Bark: treatment of ticks; b) Entire plant: diarrhoea; c) Roots: gastrointestinal disorders [9, 54]. NCU0120 0.129 0.032
 Common Coral Tree, Lucky Bean Tree (Erythrina lysistemon Hutch) Muvhale T N C/W HG    Construction, medicine, cultural, food a) Fruit: edible fruits; b) Wood: fences for construction1; c) Bark: enhance the immune system1; d) Cultural: tombstone for traditional graveyards a) Planted in graveyard; b) Bark: toothache; antibacterial compound; improved sexual performance; relieving oedema; c) Wood: firewood; d) windbreak; e) ornamental [6, 10, 11, 16]. NCU0029, 164 0.129 0.065
 Cork bush, Silver Bush, Rhodesian Silver-Leaf (Mundulea sericea (Willd.) A. Chev.) Mukundandou T N W HG    Firewood, medicine a) Roots: protection against witchcraft; b) Wood: firewood a) Roots: protection against witchcraft; aphrodisiac; to regulate sex of unborn child; b) Strong medicine to evade or subdue; kunda = to conquer + ndou = elephant referring to the strongest animal; c) Wood: firewood [6, 9]. NCU0042, NCU0081 0.065 0.065
 Cowpeas (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp) Munawa H N C HG   Y Food, medicine a) Leaves: edible vegetable; relish eaten with porridge; b) Fruits: eaten with soft porridge and mixed with jugo beans; groundnuts; maize which has been grounded; and the powder of grounded peanuts to make a traditional dish named Tshidzimba a) Shoots, leaves, and unripe fruits: cooked as a side dish; b) Seeds consumed like other legumes [7]. NCU0183 0.065 0.032
 Flame Thorn, Flame Acacia (Senegalia alemquerensis (Huber) Seigler & Ebinger.) Muluwa Shr N W HG    Firewood, crafts a) Sapling stems: split into strips and used to make weaving baskets named mufaro which are used to present food for rituals and to serve food for the Khosi2; b) Wood: firewood a) Roots: Aphrodisiac; b) Flexible saplings: decorticated and longitudinally split into thin; band-like strips for weaving baskets; winnowing and storage baskets; c) branches: hedge fencing around cattle enclosures and homesteads; d) Wood: firewood [6] NCU0027 0.065 0.032
 Kiaat, Bloodwood, Paddle-Wood, Sealing-Wax Tree, Transvaal Teak (Pterocarpus angolensis DC) Mutondo T N W CL    Domestic utensils, medicine a) Wood: carving household materials such as dishes; desks and tables; b) Roots: treating sores on the skin1. a) Bark: acceleration of blood formation; heavy menstruation; miscarriage; childbirth; piles; menorrhagia; venereal disease; gonorrhoea; haematuria, bilharzia; b) Wood: carving for doors; door frames; spoons; tool handles furniture and other decorative objects; c) Roots: amenorrhoea; headache; venereal diseases; piles; amenorrhoea; haematuria; bilharzias; treat pulsating anterior fontanelle in babies; d) Fruit: whooping cough [6, 9, 55]. NCU0039 0.065 0.032
 Lowveld Bauhinia (Bauhinia galpinii N.E.Br) Mutswiriri Shr N C HG    Food a) Roots: eaten as food with soft porridge for young babies b) Fruits: edible fruit1. a) Roots: used with an infusion of other medicines to make a soft porridge named tshiunza for young babies as their main staple food; diarrhoea; enhanced sexual performance; stomach worms; stomach pain; infertility; b) Saplings: wattles in construction of roofs and courtyard walls; Bark and root: stomach spasm [6, 9, 11]. NCU0001 0.032 0.032
 Monkey Pod, Eared Senna (Senna petersiana (Bolle) Lock) Munembenembe T N W HG, F/W    Food, Medicine a) Seeds pods: edible and eaten during times of drought or hunger; b) Roots: toothache. a) Pods: eaten but not very palatable and picked during times of hunger of food shortage; b) Roots: mouthwash and toothache; gonorrhoea; syphilis; stomach ache; sterility and barrenness; dysmenorrhoea; or syncope; epilepsy; asthma; toothache [6, 9, 11]. NCU0137, NCU0169 0.065 0.097
 Weeping Wattle, African Black Wattle, African Blackwood (Peltophorum africanum Sond) Musese T N C/W HG   Y Firewood, medicine a) Bark: ulcers on the body; sore throats2; Wood: firewood1; c) The species is found close to rivers. a) Bark: anthelmintic; stomach troubles; colds; coughs; chest complaints; eye sicknesses; rash of the tongue in small children; b) Root and bark: intestinal parasites; tuberculosis; c) Caterpillars on the plant are fried and eaten or stored for future use; d) Leaves: used to cover the body during rituals; e) Roots: sores, ulcers, and blisters of the oral cavity; sore throats; venereal disease; f) Entire plant: menorrhagia, [6, 9, 55]. NCU0006, 16, 43, 141, 160 0.065 0.161
Gentianaceae
 Big Leaf, Cabbage Tree, Fever Tree, Forest Big-Leaf, Tobacco Tree (Anthocleista grandiflora Gilg) Mueneene T N C/W HG   Y Medicine, cultural a) Bark: high blood pressure; b) Leaves: used to cover maize grains to encourage germination when malt is prepared; used to cover female bodies during rituals; c) Important for storing water close to rivers. a) Bark: malaria; diarrhoea; diabetes; high blood pressure; venereal disease; b) Stamped bark soaked in water with seeds; especially cereal grains; to make the grains produce abundantly when sown; c) Leaves: used to cover millet grains to encourage germination when malt is prepared; worn to cover bodies during rituals; nutrition for cattle d) Important water tree [6, 9, 16]. NCU0044 0.065 0.032
Lauraceae
 Avocado Tree (Persea americana Mill.) Makatapiere T E (South Central Mexico) C HG C/N Y Food, commercial, medicine, shade, firewood, cultural a) Fruits: edible fruits; trees are grown in small-scale orchards and sold commercially; b) Leaves and stem: stripped; ground and mixed to make a snuff as well as type of bicarbonate of soda for seasoning vegetables1; ground and mixed with Amaranthus hybridus to be used as a snuff ingredient1; c) used to treat diarrhoea1; d) Wood: firewood1. No known records. NCU0064, 98, 146, 162 0.194 0.129
Malvaceae
 Bladder Hibiscus (Hibiscus Trionum L) Mandande H E (Europe) W HG C/N   Food a) Leaves: edible vegetable; eaten with porridge and mixed with other vegetables. a) Leaves: edible vegetables and cooked with porridge [6, 7]. NCU0129, 50 0.032 0.032
 Cross-berry, Four Corners, Four-Corners (Grewia occidentalis L) Mulembu T N W HG    Food a) Leaves: edible vegetable and eaten with porridge. a) Leaves: edible vegetable and eaten with porridge; b) Roots: syphilis; venereal disease; bladder ailments [6, 56]. NCU0028 0.032 0.032
Meliaceae
 Cape Ash, Dogplum (Ekebergia capensis Sparrm) Mutobvuma T N W HG   Y Firewood, construction, shade a) Wood: carving to make drums1; firewood1; b) Bark: headaches. a) Bark: headaches; emetic; heartburn; chest complaints; b) shade and beauty [6, 10]. NCU0011, NCU0052 0.032 0.032
 Thunder Tree, Forest Mahogany, Forest Natal Mahogany, Cape Mahogany (Trichilia dregeana Sond) Mutuhu T N C/W HG   Y Medicine a) Bark: STIs such as gonorrhoea and syphilis1; b) The tree is found in the Chief’s palace and used to guard against bad spirits1. a) Fruits: cooked with vegetables as a condiment; eaten with milk; b) Fruits and seed: cooking oil; polishing women’s leather clothes; polish furniture; c) Bark: used as an enema for general cleaning; kidney troubles which cause impotence; d) ornamental; e) Buried close to graveyards to counter erosion when graves are buried [9, 14, 17]. NCU0008 0.032 0.032
Menispermaceae
 Kidney Leaf (Cissampelos torulosa E.Mey. ex Harv. & Sond) Lukandululo C N W HG    Medicine a) Leaves and stem: flu1. a) Leaves and stem: sthroats; dysentery; diarrhoea; spiritual cleansing; b) Leaves: edible vegetable cooked with other vegetables [6]. NCU0030 0.032 0.032
Moraceae
 Cape Fig, Broom Cluster Fig, Bush Fig, Cape Wild Fig, Fire Sticks (Ficus sur Forssk) Muhuyu T N C/W HG    Food, shade a) Planted at the Chief’s palace for shade1; b) Fruits: edible fruits are eaten fresh or dried. a) Fruit: tuberculosis; b) Root: diarrhoea [6]. NCU0009, 34, 166 0.065 0.097
 Common Wild Fig (Ficus thonningii Blume) Muumo T N W HG   Y Shade, food a) Found in the Chief’s palace for shade1; found at the foot of a mountain; b) Fruits: figs are also eaten when ripe. a) Fruits: figs are edible when ripe; beverage; b) Latex: used for birdlime; c) semi-parasitic plant growing on the tree is used to treat insanity [6, 13]. NCU0056 0.065 0.032
 Red-Leaved Rock Fig, Rock Fig (Ficus ingens (Miq.) Miq.) Tshikululu T N W HG    Food a) Fruits: figs are eaten when ripe by humans and animals. a) Fruits: eaten when ripe but preferred by primates; contains analgesic compounds [6, 10]. NCU0195 0.032 0.032
Myrtaceae
 Waterberry Tree (Syzygium cordatum Hoschst.ex C.Krauss) Mutu T N C/W HG   Y Firewood, medicine, shade, drink a) Found in wetlands and stores water; b) Fruits: beverage; c) Leaves and roots: aids stomach digestion; d) Bark: sore throats1; e) Fruits: eaten when ripe; f) Wood: firewood1. a) Fruit: eaten when ripe; b) Leaves: treating for stomach aches; colds and fevers; c) Leaves and bark: diarrhoea; wounds; d) Roots: headache, amenorrhoea [6, 9, 56]. NCU0045, 58, 88, 159, 161 0.129 0.161
 Woodland Waterberry, Waterpear (Syzygium guineense (Willd.) DC) Mutawi T N W CL    Food a) Fruits: ripened fruits; b) Found in forests and mountains. a) Fruits: edible fruits are used by young people [6]. NCU0041 0.032 0.032
 Red Guava (Psidium guajava L.) Mugwavha T E (Central and South America) C/W HG I   Domestic utensils, food, drink, medicine a) Fruits: beverage; jelly; b) Leaves: stop bleeding wounds; c) Stem: brooms1 a) Fruit: food; b) Whole plant: shade tree; c) Roots, leaves, bark: wounds; venereal disease [9, 14, 15]. NCU0117, 135, 32, 66, 110, 149, 167 0.129 0.161
Ochnaceae
 Yellow-peeling tree (Brackenridgea zanguebarica Oliv) Mutavhatsindi T N W F/W    Medicine a) Roots, stem, bark and leaves: medicine to protect homesteads and territories from enemies; b) Bark: Added to other medicines to enhance its potency1. a) Roots: wounds; swollen ankles; amenorrhoea, worms; mental illness b) Roots, stem, bark, and leaves: used magically to protect homesteads and territories; c) The species discourage opponents in sporting events; offers protection against witchcraft; protects people [6, 9, 10, 57, 58]. Mentioned in survey but species specimen not collected. 0.032 0.032
Olacaceae
 Blue Sour Plum, Tallow Wood (Ximenia americana L. var. microphylla Welw. ex Oliv) Mutuanzwa T N W HG    Medicine, food a) Fruits: edible when ripe; b) Bark or powder of the root bark is used to treat diarrhoea. a) Fruits: eaten when ripe; beverage; b) Bark: remedy for dysentery in children; diarrhoea and febrifuge in adults; c) Semi parasite or epiphyte associated with this plant; used to attract people who do want to return home from their places of work far away; d) Roots: menorrhagia, infertility; venereal disease, headache due to indigestion, blood in faeces, cough, eye diseases [6, 9, 13]. NCU0089 0.065 0.032
Oxalidaceae
 Fishtail Sorrel, Transvaal Sorrel (Oxalis semiloba Sond) Mukulungwane H N W HG   Y Food a) Leaves: chewed to remove a foul taste in the mouth. a) Leaves: chewed by a person suffering from a tart or sour feeling in the mouth; usually after eating unripe fruit; b) Whole plant or leaves: treatment of haemorrhoids; eye frops [6, 11]. NCU0101 0.065 0.032
Pedaliaceae
 Devil’s Thorn (Dicerocaryum eriocarpum (Decne) Abels) Museto H N W HG    Medicine a) Thorn: rub along the gums to encourage teeth to develop in young children1. a) Leaves: expulsion of placenta and easy delivery; b) Leaves and stem: soap substitute; quicken the expulsion of hanging placenta in cattle and humans; important medicine for a blood disease in cattle known as mali (black quarter evil) [6, 9, 10, 12]. NCU0188 0.032 0.032
Phyllanthaceae
 Coastal Goldenlead (Bridelia micrantha (Hochst.) Baill) Munzere T N C/W HG   Y Food, medicine a) Fruits: edible fruits are eaten and are black in colour; b) Found close to rivers and cultivated fields; c) Bark: bolsters the immune system2. a) Leaves: eaten when ripe; b) Bark: burns; gonorrhoea; venereal disease; infected wounds; toothache; abortion; c) Long straight branches are laid across the rivers to make bridges; building huts; d) Roots and bark: stomach aches; tapeworms [6, 9, 55]. NCU0004, 15, 165 0.065 0.097
Phytolaccaceae
 Forest InkBerry (Phytolacca octandra L) Thebe H E (North America) W HG    Food, commercial a) Leaves and roots: cooked together and eaten with porridge; b) Leaves: eaten dry to make a type of biltong to be eaten during the winter months2; also during times of drought and hunger2; species is commercialised and sold in informal markets2. a) Leaves: cooked and eaten with porridge; spice; b) Leaves and shoots: dried; burnt and mixed with a snuff to serve as a stimulant as well as to give flavour [6]. NCU0017, 37, 48, 127, 132, 145, 153 0.065 0.194
Poaceae
 Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) Nkhwe G E (Asia) C HG    Food, cultural a) Seeds: ground into a powder and used in a ritual as an offering to the ancestors in a ‘biting ritual’ named u luma indicating the season for ripening of the first vegetables or fruits1. a) Stem: cultivated for their sweet stems [59]. NCU0096 0.065 0.032
Polygonaceae
 Starstalk (Oxygonum dregeanum Meisn.) Muthanyi H N W HG    Food a) Leaves: edible vegetable eaten with soft porridge. a) Leaves: edible vegetable; spice; b) Leaves and shoots: dried; burnt; mixed with snuff to serve as a stimulant and to give flavour [6] NCU0192 0.032 0.032
Proteaceae
 Broad-Leaved Boekenhout (Faurea saligna Harv) Mutango T N C HG    Household utensils, crafts a) Wood: used to construct household utensils and crafts a) Leaves: used to treat divhu or devhu; an illness suffered by a man who had sexual intercourse with a woman after an abortion or miscarriage; b) Bark: vagina ulcers; used to wood: workable and durable; c) Roots and bark: venereal disease; bilharzia; d) Roots: cough [6, 9, 33]. NCU0083 0.065 0.032
 Macademia Tree (Macadamia ternifolia F.Muell) Mutevu T E (Australia) C CL    Food a) Nuts: ground into a powder and eaten with vegetables and porridge1. No known records   0.032 0.032
Rhamnaceae
 False Buffalo Thorn, River Jujube (Ziziphus rivularis Codd) Mulalantsa T N C/W HG    Firewood, Food, Medicine a) Bark: harvested from the eastern and western sides of the plant1; ground and used to treat sores on the skin1; b) Fruits: eaten fresh or dried and sometimes eaten with porridge1; c) Wood: firewood1. No known records NCU0122 0.097 0.065
Rubiaceae
 Rock-Alder (Afrocanthium mundianum (Cham. & Schltdl.) Lantz) Mutomboti T N W HG    Food a) Fruits: edible fruit is known as thomboti. a) Fruits: edible fruits; b) Leaves: remedy for illness known as divhu (a disease caused by sexual intercourse with a woman who has had an abortion or miscarriage) [17]. NCU0025 0.032 0.032
 Strawberry Bush, Quinine Berry, Far Far Tree (Cephalanthus natalensis Oliv) Murondo T N W HG    Food a) Fruits: ripened fruit is eaten. a) Fruits: eaten when ripe; b) Leaves: eye problems in cattle [6, 10, 12]. NCU0172 0.032 0.032
 Wild Medlar (Vangueria infausta Burch. subsp. infausta) Muzwilu T N W HG    Food, medicine a) Fruits: eaten when ripe or dried; b) Stem: short sticks are crafted from the stem and nailed to the fence of the yard and are thought to protect the homestead. a) Fruits: eaten fresh or dried; also enjoyed with milk when soaked in water; b) Roots and bark: enhance fertility in women; c) Sticks: nailed all around the fence of a yard to protect the homestead; d) Roots: ulcers in the oral cavity [6, 9]. NCU0031, 35 0.065 0.065
 Wild Oleander, African Teak (Breonadia salicina (Vahl) Hepper & J.R.I. Wood) Mutulume T N C/W HG   Y Cultural a) Tree used to store water1; b) Vhavenda proverb: when you are chased by a lion who catches your foot; you pull away; it does not come out; like the root of the mutulume1. a) Roots: tachycardia [9] NCU0010 0.032 0.032
Rutaceae
 Adelaide Spice Tree, Small Knobwood (Zanthoxylum capense (Thunb.) Harv) Munungu T N C/W HG   Y Medicine a) Bark: ground and licked to treat common colds and flu. a) Roots and stem bark: sore throats; chest complaints; boils; pimples and blood poisoning [6]. NCU0055 0.032 0.032
 Lemon Tree (Citrus limon (L.) Osbeck) Tshikavhavhe T E (Asia) C HG C/N   Food a) Leaves: used to make a tea which can be drunk and used as a medicine for stomach ache and menstrual pain1. a) Roots: Venereal disease [6, 9]. NCU0074 0.032 0.032
Sapindaceae
 Litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn) Nombelo T E (Asia) C HG    Food, drink a) Fruits: eaten during times of hunger2; used to make a juice and alcoholic beverage No known records NCU0072, NCU0163 0.065 0.065
Sapotaceae
 Red Milkwood (Mimusops zeyheri Sond) Mububulu T N W HG   Y Food, drink Fruits: eaten when ripe and sometimes soaked in milk to make a milkshake. a) Fruits: edible when ripe; can be soaked in milk or water to make a beverage; dried and stored for future use; b) Root and stem bark: abdominal complaints [6, 13]. NCU0033 0.065 0.032
 Wild Plum, Transvaal Milk Plum (Englerophytum magalismontanum (Sond.) T.D Penn) Munombelo T N W HG, CL   Y Firewood, domestic utensils, commercial, food, medicine a) Wood: cooking spoons; firewood1; b) Fruits: eaten when ripe; good for nutrition for children; beverage from the fruits used to relieve constipation; c) Species is found near wetlands. a) Fruits: edible; juice; fermented beverage; b) Roots: remedy for abdominal pains; c) A semi parasite or lichen of this plant is used as an ingredient of medicines; prepared and burn to invoke ancestral spirits during malombo (Vhasenzi) or mbila (Vhalemba) cults [6, 13]. NCU0038, 61, 86 0.161 0.097
Solanaceae
 Black or Common Nightshade (Solanum nigrum L) Muxe H E (Europe) W HG    Food a) Leaves: cooked and eaten with porridge and other vegetables. a) Leaves: cooked and eaten with porridge; with meat or other vegetables; malaria and dysentery; anal are a known analgesic effects on toothache; b) used as a cholagogue; c) Roots and leaves: wounds [6, 7, 15]. NCU0108 0.032 0.032
Ulmaceae
 White Stinkwood (Celtis africana Burm. f) Mumvumvu T N C HG   Y Medicine a) Stem of branches: used to make magical sticks which are driven into the ground to protect against witchcraft. a) Bark: magical properties; nose and ear drops; toothache; b) Branches: used to protect the homestead [6, 9]. NCU0106 0.032 0.032
Urticaceae
 Fever Tea, Lemon Bush (Lippia javanica (Burm.f.) Spreng)) Musudzungwane Shr N W HG    Domestic utensils, medicine a) Leaves: used to make a tea which is used to treat common colds and to boost immunity; leaves are crushed and sniffed to treat nose bleeds and used as appendages to block nose bleeds1; mosquito repellent; malaria; b) Stems: brooms1. a) Leaves: coughs; flu and headaches; general body sickness; malaria; dysentery; diarrhoea; anthelmintic; asthma; tick toxicant; b) Roots: burnt and pounded to produce a medicine that is applied cuts and sprained joints; dislocated joints [6, 9, 12, 13, 60] NCU0093, 124 0.065 0.065
 Mountain Nettle (Obetia tenax Friis) Muvhazwi H N C/W HG, CL    Food, medicine a) Leaves: cooked and eaten with porridge as a nutritious meal; b) Stem: used to treat snake bite wounds. a) Leaves: cooked and eaten with porridge; b) An epiphyte or semi parasite growing on the plant is used for treating snake bite; c) Bark: source of fibre cordage; ox-whips; mats; thatching; game traps; and sieves for straining beer [6, 7]. NCU0097, NCU0143 0.065 0.097
 Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica L) Dzaluma H E (Europe, Asia, Western, Northern Africa) W HG    Food a) Leaves cooked and seasoned with salt; fresh tomatoes are added to make the relish which is then eaten with porridge a) Leaves: cooked and eaten with porridge [7]. NCU0018, 23, 50, 75, 128 0.065 0.161
Verbenaceae
 Bird’s Brandy, Bird’s Beer (Lantana rugosa Thunb) Tshidzimbambule Shr N W HG    Food a) Fruits: the purple berries are eaten when ripe. a) Fruits: eaten when ripe; b) Leaves and stem: treat troublesome eyes; c) Leaves: bronchial infections; abdominal complaints; anti-emetic; eye injuries d) Roots: fever [6, 9, 11]. NCU0036, NCU0173 0.032 0.065
Viteceae
 Wild Grapes (Rhoicissus tomentosa (Lam.) Wild & R.B.Drumm) Ndirivhe C E (Europe) C HG    Food a) Fruits: consumed for food. a) Fruits: preferred by monkeys but is also eaten by people in Vhavenda; usually eaten out of hunger because it is not very palatable and has a sickly sweet taste; quenches thirst when eaten [6] NCU0091 0.032 0.032
  1. Family/scientific name/local name; Habit (C climber, G grass, H herbaceous, Shr shrub; T tree); BO biogeographic origin (N native, E exotic); Status (W wild, C cultivated, C/W cultivated and wild); CS collection sites (HG home garden, CL cultivated land, F/W evergreen forest/deciduous woodland); AP alien plants (I invasive, C/N casual/naturalised); P propagation in home gardens (Y yes, N no); Use value; Description (entirely new plant use records are indicated in italics by the superscript ‘1’ and partially new records of plant uses are indicated in italics by superscript ‘2’); Literature on Vhavenda ethnobotanical use; Voucher numbers; UVI (Use Value Index); RFI (Relative Frequency Index)