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Tree Medicines of the Garden Route: Cape Beech

Scientific name: Rapanea melanophloeos.
Family: Myrsinaceae.
Common names: Cape Beech (Eng.); Boekenhout, Beukehout (Afr.); IsiCalabi, umaPhipha, iKhubalwane, isiQalaba sehlati (Zulu); isiQwane sehlati (Xhosa); iGcolo, udzilidzili (Swazi).

Rapanea melanophloeos is widely distributed throughout southern Africa and is found along the damp areas of mountain and coastal forests, swamps and bush clumps. The Cape Beech does well in coastal areas where winds are strong and is fairly drought-tolerant. The Cape Beech is a dense, evergreen tree that is native to the Afromontane forests of Southern Africa – the classification into which our Garden Route forests fall.


a. Bear in mind when harvesting any indigenous tree to do so sustainably. Different trees and different parts of a tree have their own harvesting methods and periods throughout the year. The South African National Biodiversity Institute has informative harvesting tips on their website (SANBI link below)

b. As with any medication, when using plants for their medicinal values it is recommended that you seek professional guidance from a natural health practitioner and undertake appropriate research before use.

For additional information on germination, propagation, ecology, maintenance, etc. of indigenous SA trees, go to:

Click here if you would like to sponsor a Cape Beech and help grow a mini forest!

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