White Ironwood Tree
Vepris lanceolata (Lam.) G.Don
Common names: white ironwood (Eng.); witysterhout (Afr.); Muruvula (Tsonga); Muhondwa (Venda); umZane (Xhosa); umOzana (Zulu
- According to Thomas & Grant (2004), three different species of caterpillars of the Swallowtail butterfly family feed on this tree (best known of the species is the Citrus Swallowtail butterfly, Papilio demodocus).
- Porcupines have been observed to eat the bark.
- A range of bird species have been noted to love the fruit, particularly the Red-winged Starling and the Crested Barbet.
- The sweetly-scented flowers lure butterflies, bees, wasps, beetles, moths at night.
- Birds often roost amongst the dense foliage.
- The fruits attract a host of fruit-eating bird species.
- Powdered root used as a remedy for influenza.
- Traditionally the powdered roots are used for influenza and colic and the leaves are burnt to dispel evil spirits.
- The leaves contain chemical compounds such as alkaloids and limonoids and have moderate antibacterial and antifungal properties.
- Extracts in various forms are used to treat respiratory infections, fever, influenza, gastric pains and rheumatism.
- Crushed leaves are applied topically to clean wounds and sores.
- The pulverised roots are said to ease menorrhagia and cardiac pains and are also used against colic and flu.
- The leaves are also burnt as a fumigation agent and disinfectant.
- The wood is used to produce wheel spokes, handles, roof beams, ornaments and turnery.
- It is highly valued for furniture making, roof beams, tool and implement handles, flooring, vehicle bodies, mine props, toys, novelties, precision equipment, vats and general carpentry and turnery.