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Cussonia spicata (known as spiked cabbage tree, lowveld cabbage tree or common cabbage tree) is a tree in the Araliaceae family, which is native to the moister regions of Sub-Saharan Africa. It is cultivated as a garden plant in areas without extreme degrees of frost. It is one of the favorite foods of wild elephants.[1]

Spiked cabbage tree
Cussonia spicata - Cabbage tree - South Africa.JPG
Cussonia spicata
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Araliaceae
Subfamily: Aralioideae
Genus: Cussonia
Species: C. spicata
Binomial name
Cussonia spicata




Larger specimens develop a sturdy trunk and a rounded, spreading canopy, and can reach a height of 15 meters. The attractive leaves grow from the end of thick branches to form rounded heads. The species name spicata means "spike-like", and suggests the arrangement of its flowers.[2]


It occurs naturally from southern and eastern South Africa to the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia and northwards into tropical Africa.[2]

Ethnomedical usesEdit

It has been used in traditional African medicine and its medicinal properties are being investigated.


  1. ^ Minute 6-7; April 5, 2009 episode)Naked Scientists
  2. ^ a b Hankey, Andrew (December 2004). "Cussonia spicata Thunb". SANBI. Retrieved 7 December 2015.

External linksEdit