Ethnobotanical plant uses in the KwaNibela Peninsula, St Lucia, South Africa

B. M. Corrigan, B. E. Van Wyk, C. J. Geldenhuys, J. M. Jardine

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69 Citations (Scopus)


Ethnobotanical field studies were conducted for the first time in the KwaNibela Peninsula of southern Maputaland, KwaZulu-Natal, to document indigenous knowledge about useful plants. The vernacular names and uses of 82 plant species were recorded and compared to published Zulu and Swazi knowledge. Medicines for skin disorders, toothache, wounds, worms, chest and throat ailments, infertility and purgatives are still commonly used. Superstition and divination play a major role in the traditional knowledge system of the people of KwaNibela with 24 plants used for this purpose. Three KwaNibela medicinal plants (Erythroxylum delagoense, Putterlickia verrucosa, and Teclea natalensis) appear to be new records, not previously reported in the general scientific literature. The list also includes 61 novel uses of plants and another 15 new variations on known (published) uses. Ten previously unpublished vernacular names are presented, together with an additional 19 new variants of known names. These new additions to the scientific literature confirm that indigenous knowledge in KwaZulu-Natal is not yet completely recorded.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-359
Number of pages14
JournalSouth African Journal of Botany
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


  • Indigenous knowledge
  • KwaZulu-Natal
  • Maputaland
  • Medicinal plants
  • Zulu culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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