Kenya is a country located in East Africa, known for its diverse and unique flora and fauna. The country is home to a wide range of plant species, some of which are found only in Kenya. In this article, we will discuss three such plants that are exclusive to Kenya, their characteristics, and their importance.
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Kenyan Pyrethrum (Pyrethrum rosaefolium)
Kenya is the world’s leading producer of pyrethrum, which is used to make a natural insecticide. Pyrethrum is made from the dried flower heads of the Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium plant, which is native to Kenya. Kenya Pyrethrum Company (KPC) is the largest producer of pyrethrum in Kenya, and accounts for about 85% of the country’s production.
The plant is widely cultivated in the highlands of Kenya, where the cool climate and fertile soil provide the perfect growing conditions. Kenyan pyrethrum is known for its insecticidal properties and is used in the production of natural insecticides. The plant contains a compound called pyrethrin, which is highly effective against a wide range of insects, including mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks.
It is a member of the Asteraceae family and is related to the daisy. The plant grows to a height of 2-3 feet and has white or pink flowers. The leaves are evergreen and the plant blooms from June to August. The name pyrethrum comes from the Greek word for fire, pyros. The plant is also used for ornamental purposes. The flowers are used in arrangements and the leaves can be used as a ground cover.
If you start from seed, it is best to sow the seeds in late spring or early summer. If you start from cuttings, you can take cuttings from a friend’s plant or from a nursery. Propagating pyrethrum is easy and the plant is not affected by pests or diseases.
It is commonly used in organic farming due to its safety for humans and animals. Pyrethrum is effective against a wide range of pests, including Aphids, Whiteflies, and Beetles. It works by interfering with the nervous system of insects, causing them to become paralyzed and eventually die. Pyrethrum is typically used as a dust, spray, or powder, and is often mixed with other ingredients to increase its effectiveness.
its dried flowers can be used in potpourris. The Kenyanpyrethrum is a beautiful, fragrant flower that is worth learning moreabout.
The Parasol Tree (Ficus thonningii)
The Parasol Tree is a unique plant species that is found only in Kenya. It is a tree that can grow up to 20 meters in height and belongs to the family Araliaceae. The plant is commonly found in the highlands of Kenya, particularly in the Aberdare Range.
The Parasol Tree is an important source of food and shelter for many animals. The leaves are browsed by mammals such as elephants, antelope, and goats. The fruits are eaten by birds, monkeys, and bats. The Parasol Tree is adapted to the cool and moist conditions of the highlands and can survive in low temperatures and high altitudes. The plant has large leaves that are arranged like an umbrella, hence its common name “Parasol Tree”. The leaves can grow up to 1 meter in diameter and are used as a source of food for some animals, including elephants and monkeys. The tree is also home to many species of insects, including bees, ants, and termites.
Uses of The Parasol Tree
The Parasol Tree is harvested for many different products. The wood is used to make furniture, flooring, and charcoal. The leaves are used for thatching and wrapping tobacco. The tree’s sap is used to make rubber. The Parasol Tree is also an important source of food for humans. The fruits are eaten fresh or cooked, and the leaves are used to make a type of spinach.
Meru Oak (Vitex Keniensis)
Meru Oak (Vitex Keniensis) is a tall tree that is native to the Kenyan Highlands. It grows up to 30 meters tall and has a diameter of 1 meter. The tree has a spreading crown and a straight bole with a smooth, dark brown bark. The leaves are compound, with 5-7 pairs of leaflets. The flowers are white and borne in clusters at the tips of the branches. The fruits are black, fleshy, and eaten by birds and mammals.
The tree has a straight trunk which is rough to the touch. The leaves of Meru Oak are simple and arranged in an opposite manner, with a length of about 5-10 cm.
The Meru Oak is a keystone species in the environment. It is a dominant tree in the landscape, and it plays a critical role in the ecosystem. The Meru Oak is a source of food and shelter for many animals. The leaves are browsed by elephants, giraffes, and antelopes. The fruits are eaten by birds and mammals. The tree’s leaves are also browsed by elephants, giraffes, and kudu, and its fruits are eaten by birds and primates.The tree is also an important source of wood for construction, fuel, and furniture.
The Meru Oak is also a medicinal plant. The leaves and bark are used to treat a number of diseases and conditions, including malaria, diarrhea, and dysentery. The Meru Oak is a valuable resource for the people of Kenya and Ethiopia.
The tree is native to the Meru region of Kenya, where it is an important source of food and shelter for local wildlife. Meru oak is a fast-growing tree that can tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions. The tree has a deep root system that helps it to withstand drought conditions.
The Meru Oak tree is listed as a vulnerable species in Kenya, mainly due to deforestation, overgrazing, and climate change. However, conservation efforts have been made to protect the species, including the establishment of the Mount Kenya National Park, which is a protected area for the tree. The Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) has also initiated programs to promote the cultivation of Meru Oak through seedling distribution to local communities.
Kenya has a wide variety of endemic plant species, many of which are used by local and foreign people for food, tonics, furniture and decoration. These plants are adapted to the specific climate and soils of Kenya, and play a vital role in the country’s ecosystem. However, they are under threat from a number of factors. 3 wild plants only found in kenya include Pyrethrum, famous for its anti mosquito properties, Meru oak, a staple of browsing animals and the food generating Paraole tree.
Habitat loss is a major threat to Kenya’s endemic plants. The country’s population is growing rapidly, and natural habitats are being cleared to make way for farms, houses, and roads. This habitat loss not only destroys homes for endemic plants, but also creates gaps in the ecosystem that can be filled by invasive species.
Climate change is also a major threat to endemic plants. Kenya is a tropical country, and its plants are adapted to a warm climate. However, rising temperatures and changes in precipitation patterns are already having an impact on the country’s ecosystems. Endemic plants are particularly vulnerable to these changes, as they have nowhere else to turn for refuge.