Kirkia acuminata

Botanical Name: Kirkia acuminata

Common Name: Wild/white seringa, Mulemba, Muzunge, Mtumbwi, Musanta

Plant Family: Kirkiaceae (Seringa Family)

Growth Form, Habitat and Distribution: A medium-sized deciduous tree with spreading branches and an open, rounded crown. Confined to low and medium altitudes in the drier southern parts of Zambia, most frequently in escarpment Miombo, but also in Munga woodland and thicket. K. acuminate is similar to Sclerocarya birrea but the latter has no toothed edges to its broader leaflets and a more spreading habit.

Size: Height up to 21m but usually smaller, spread 8 to 10m.

Bark: Grey-brown and smooth, but vertically ridged. The inner bark is cream-coloured and corky.

Leaves: Alternate, at branch-ends compound, imparipinnate with 6 to 10 pairs of narrow, ovate leaflets tapering to the apex (2 to 8cm), margin finely serrated, young leaves sticky.

Flowers: Dioecious, small, creamy-green in branched, loose axillary heads (up to 7cm) October to January.

Fruit: A small (1 to 2cm), thin, brown, woody capsule splitting into 4 winged sections joined at the apex, each with 1 seed, April to August and beyond.

Uses: The wood is light brown and takes a good polish but is high in silica, blunting tools. The bark can be used as to make cloth. The roots store water that is exploited by wildlife.