Voacanga africana | 25 seeds
Voacanga africana is a small evergreen flowering shrub/tree of the Apocynaceae family, native to tropical Africa. Another of our UK exclusives, the seeds offered here are nice and viable and were freshly-harvested – by good people – in 2018!
An understorey tree preferring to grow at elevations of one thousand metres or less in light forest, secondary jungle and moist savannah woodland, africana grows anywhere between one and ten metres tall, dependent on conditions, and produces ovoid leaves up to thirty centimetres long. It’s delicate white or yellow flowers possess a strong sweet scent and bear round green-yellow fruit which naturally cleaves in half when ripe (containing many brown ellipsoid-shaped seeds).
Closely related to the genera Tabernaemontana and Tabernanthe (in which the well-known species Tabernanthe iboga is found), africana has long been used traditionally in Africa in folk medicine and indigenous ritual practice and as a food source, aphrodisiac and poison. More recent commercial applications include the production of latex and Western pharmaceutical compounds (notably, for use in geriatric and cardiovascular medicine).
Voacanga seed stores well and remains viable for three years or more when kept in an airtight container at an ambient temperature. Make sure to remove the seed’s fleshy outer coating first before storage, maintaining eleven to fifteen percent humidity. Although it can take up to several months to do so, it’s fairly easy to germinate under conditions approximating USDA Hardiness Zone 10, with results being greatly improved by soaking it in warm water for twelve hours prior to planting. Some growers go even further, sterilising the seeds with a combination of boiling water and six-percent hydrogen peroxide.
Sow Voacanga seed roughly a centimetre deep in a sandy soil mix, either in individual containers or the ground. The soil should be kept moist but not drenched – if grown indoors, you’ll need to give it a daily mist. Once germination has occurred, maintain good airflow circulation to minimise the risk of fungal attack. Voacanga africana prefers partial sun until it’s well-established – once it’s suitably mature (around the three to four month point) it can be moved to somewhere a little more sunny. Make sure that there’s at least three metres between each Voacanga plant, otherwise they won’t have enough room to fully develop their root systems.
All the seed sold by Arkham’s Botanical was freshly and ethically sourced in 2018