Acokanthera – Wintersweet
There are about 7 species in this genus. Derive form the warm climate from Southeastern Africa to south Arabia. These evergreen shrubs or trees has poisons milky sap which been used to make poison arrows for the purpose of murder, accidental poison has been proved rare. Cultivated for their ornamental value, 5 petaled tubular scented flowers are borne on previous year’s growth. The leaves are arranged opposite. Olive sized fruit drupes with a spongy milky flesh that is also poisonous.
Grow in full sun in well-drained moderately fertile soil. Outdoor settings plants need little watering and tolerant salt laden winds and neglect. Prune after flowering to prevent fruit and causes resprouting.
Prone to Mushroom root rot.
Ackanthera oppositifolia –Bushmann’s poison – Common Poison Bush – Derives from South Africa and extending northward into East Africa’s highland. This species was the main source for arrow poison. Grows 20’ feet tall flowers are sweet smelling, white tinged with pink and are ½” long. The leaves are shiny green with dull undersides with noticeable veins on small reddish branches. Fruits are purple and ½” wide. The bark is deeply fissured.