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S. persica is widespread in all districts of Tanzania, notably in thorn shrubs, desert flood plains, and grassy savannah (RSCU 1992). It is also found in valleys, on dunes, and termite mounds. It is found where ground water is readily available, on river banks, on the perimeters of waterholes, in seasonally wet sites, and along drainage lines in arid zones.

Minimum Altitude (m):


Maximum Altitude (m):


Minimum Rainfall (mm):


Maximum Rainfall (mm):



Soil Requirements: Adapted to alkaline or very saline soils, usually clay-rich, and soils without salt. It prefers clays, but is found on loams, black soils, and sand (FAO 1988).

Influential Factors: Extremely well-adapted to arid conditions, is salt tolerant and very drought resistant. Cultivated seedlings and trees must be protected from browsing by animals (FAO 1988). The tree produces many branches.


Means of Propagation: Readily germinates from seed and coppices well.

Seeds per kg:


Germination Length:

24 hours

Seed Treatments: Fruits are small, round, and pea-sized, bearing 1 seed per fruit. Seeds turn from white to pink or purple-red and are semitransparent when mature. Pretreatment is not necessary (RSCU 1992). Seeds exhibit no dormancy but the fruit pulp contains germination inhibitors which should be removed before sowing. Seed can be stored for about 1 month.

Seedling Management: Seedlings have been raised in the nursery 3 years prior to planting (FAO 1986).


Planting Types: Grown in plantations or hedges. The tree has potential for reclaiming saline soils.

Growth Factors: S. persica is slow growing.

Management Systems: Coppices well. Branches are cut repeatedly to produce short stems that are harvested for toothbrushes (FAO 1986).


Young stems of 3 to 5 mm are used as toothbrushes and sold in most major markets throughout Tanzania. A toothstick is also said to relieve toothache and gum disease, and the leaves are used as a mouthwash and for tooth and gum problems. The bark is said to contain an antibiotic which suppress growth of bacteria and the formation of plaque in the mouth (RSCU 1992).

The roots are prepared as a salve and rubbed on the face for headaches. They are used for general body pain, gonorrhoea, back pains, chest diseases, and stomach aches. Latex from the bark is used for treating sores. Seeds are used as a tonic and seed oil is used on the skin for rheumatism.

Use #3: FODDER
Leaves make good fodder as they have a high water content (15 to 36%) and are rich in minerals (FAO 1986). The leaves are readily consumed by goats and cattle and the fodder is available during the dry season. The high salt content of the leaves is said to affect the taste of the milk.


The leaves and bark contain the alkaloid trimetylamine. The seed is rich in oil and contains lauric, myristic, and palmitic acids. There is potential for making soaps, candles, and using it as a substitute for coconut oil (FAO 1986).

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