​The snuff-box tree

One of the most asked about trees in and around Tanda Tula Safari camp is the snuff-box tree. It seems the unusual fruit and beautiful white and yellow flowers attract the attention of insects, animals and guests alike! The latin name Oncoba Spinosa is derived from the North African species, the word onkub relating directly to the spines which are modified leaves found at the base of the leaf stalk.

The more common name refers to the hard shelled fruit which can be used as a snuff box. Local people also leave the fruit to dry out with the seeds inside and use them as rattles for children or they can be tied together and used as anklets to add a musical element when dancing. Medicinally the roots of the tree can be used for bladder infections or dysentery and the seeds also can be used as a drying agent and varnish. The biggest fans of the edible pulp of the fruit are the nyalas and monkeys - they spend hours feeding in and around the trees providing great entertainment for guests spending a few quiet hours in their tents. 

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