• Botanical: Acokanthera schimperi
  • Family: Apocynaceae
  • Known as: Schöngift


Much-branched, evergreen tree, sometimes a shrub, up to 9(–10) m tall, with short trunk; bark brown, soft; crown dense, rounded; young branches glabrous or hairy, conspicuously angled and ribbed.

Leaves decussately opposite, simple and entire; stipules absent; petiole 1–6(–9) mm long; blade elliptical to ovate or broadly ovate, 2–10 cm × 1.5–6.5 cm, base cuneate or rounded, apex acute, obtuse or rounded, with hard mucro, leathery, glossy, glabrous or shortly hairy, pinnately veined, lateral veins obscure, with looping connections.

Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous, fragrant; sepals free, ovate to lanceolate, (1–)1.5 –2.5 mm long, apex acuminate to acute, shortly hairy or glabrous outside, ciliate; corolla tube cylindrical, 8–12.5 mm long, glabrous or shortly hairy outside, inside sparsely hairy in the upper half and wrinkled below, pink or red, lobes ovate, 2.5–5 mm long, apex acute, glabrous above, glabrous to shortly hairy below, ciliate, white; stamens inserted at 7–10 mm from the base of the corolla tube, slightly exserted; ovary superior, ellipsoid, 2-celled, style slender, 7–10 mm long, stigma minutely bifid.

Fruit an ellipsoid berry 1–2.5 cm long, purple when ripe, pulp green to deep red, 1–2-seeded.

Seeds ellipsoid, plano-convex, 6–13 mm long, smooth, glabrous.

Sea Mango
  • Botanical: Cerbera tanghin
  • Family: Apocynaceae
  • Known as: Cerbera manghas, Tanghin poison nut,
  • Old Use: cardiac disorders, scabies and itching

Sea Mango

Cerbera manghas is a small evergreen coastal tree growing up 12 m tall. The the shiny dark-green leaves
are alternate, ovoid in shape. The flowers are fragrant, possessing a white, tubular, 5 lobed corolla about 3 to 5 cm in diameter, with a pink to red throat. There are 5 stamens, and the ovary is positioned above the other flower parts. The fruits are egg-shaped, 5 to 10 cm long, and turn purple-red at maturity
  • Botanical: Strophanthus hispidus
  • Family: Apocynaceae
  • Known as: Strophanthus,
  • Old Use: medical
  • Aroma: spicy


The name Strophanthus is derived from the Greek strophos (a twisted cord or rope) and anthos (a flower), thus expressing the chief peculiarity of its appearance, the limb of the corolla being divided into five, long, tail-like segments. The official description of the seeds is 'lance-ovoid, flattened and obtusely-edged; from 7 to 20 mm. in length, about 4 mm. in breadth, and about 2 mm. in thickness; externally of a light fawn colour with a distinct greenish tinge, silky lustrous form, a dense coating of flat-lying hairs (S. Kombé) or light to dark brown, nearly smooth, and sparingly hairy (S. hispidus), bearing on one side a ridge running from about the centre to the summit; fracture short and somewhat soft, the fractured surface whitish and oily; odour heavy when the seeds are crushed and moistened; taste very bitter.

Suicide tree
  • Botanical: Cerbera odollam
  • Family: Apocynaceae
  • Known as: Pong-pong, Othalanga, Zerberusbaum, Selbstmordbaum, See-Mango

Suicide tree

Cerbera odollam is a large shrub or small tree reaching approximately 10 meters in height. Like its relative Cerbera manghas, it has alternate glossy shiny green leaves and fragrant white flowers, however the flowers have a yellow throat instead of red.

The fruits are green when young and turn bright red at maturity. The dried fruits (drupes) are 5-10 cm in length. When they fall from the branches, the papery, outer layer falls off exposing a thick fibrous husk. Because of this fibrous layer, the fruits are very light and buoyant, being easily dispersed by ocean currents. The fruits separate into two halves, each containing one very poisonous seed.

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