|DESCRIPTION: It is a spreading deciduous or evergreen tree, 6-10 m in height, with a domed crown. Trunk erect, stout, uniquely swollen at the base, which may grow to 4 m in diameter, spreading above the ground so that the tree appears to be standing on a mound. Leaves simple alternate, typical of the family, appearing as terminal whorls. USE: Leaves are used as fodder in times of drought. However, fruits should be considered potentially toxic to livestock. The seeds, leaf and root contain saponins. The fruit has been used as a human emetic and purgative; an infusion of the leaves also acts as a purgative. The tree is planted as an unusual ornamental around Nairobi and elsewhere in the highlands of Kenya and provides excellent shade. GROWING PERIOD: Perennial. COMMON NAMES: bella sombra, belombra, pokeweed. FURTHER INF: It is a tree for mild climates, undemanding in soil fertility and resistant to sea winds. The tree is reputed to grow rapidly to its preferred height but is fairly aggressive in gardens, with root suckers appearing readily above the soil. It is resistant to locusts and ants and will withstand hurricanes and prolonged heat and drought.