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Verbenaceae, Vitex keniensis, Meru Oak, Muhuru (Kikuyu), Muuru (Meru)

September 12, 2009

V. keniensis is a tall deciduous tree, growing very straight, up to 35m high. The bark is pale brown with deep vertical grooves. Leaves are compound, divided into five leaflets on a long hairy stalk. Flowers are white, sometimes light purple, with a one curious dark mauve petal lobe. Mature fruits are black, about 1.5 cm across, containing 1-2, and more rarely, 3-4 seeds. The tree will flower between January and April, pollinated by insects. The seeds take about five months to mature, fruits turn black when ripe. Seed can generally be collected between June and September.

The species occurs in moist evergreen forests, between 1,300 and 2,100 m above sea level. It prefers deep sandy loam in areas with an average rainfall of 1,400 – 1,900 mm. The species is occurs naturally, and is fairly common, on eastern slopes of Mt. Kenya (Meru), where it is also widely planted. It can also be found in plantations in Nyeri, Mt. Elgon, Londiani, Nandi hills and around Kakamega.

The tree produces high quality timber which can be used for construction and furniture, production of poles and fuel wood. Other uses include bee forage, mulch, shade and ornament.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Martin kaimenyi permalink
    January 14, 2012 10:08:17 am

    Am a good fun of trees especially the ones with aroma smell.how can this tree be marketed and where?

  2. John Thiong'o permalink
    November 6, 2012 10:08:31 pm

    I like natural trees eg the ones that appear in forests.i have some seedlings too but i don’t know where to market them since i can’t plant all of them.also,i would like to know some trees that i know in kikuyu in english.e.g muringa,mukui,mutundu,mukinduri.thanks for ur research it is helping many.

  3. kimani mwaura permalink
    February 16, 2013 10:08:24 pm

    Does Meru oak have medicinal use?

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