The forest gardenia is a popular garden tree due to its pretty flowers, fruit and shiny leaves. It is grown from seed or softwood truncheons. Growth is slow, but the result can be very rewarding. In a blog on www.davesgarden.com (USA) a satisfied gardener reported his Gardenia thunbergia as well-flowering and nine years old.
Pollination is obtained from long-tongued (nocturnal) hawk-moths that have an easy time with white flowers and abundant nocturnal fragrance. Some of these moths have proboscises longer than 5 cm.
The roots of this tree are used by traditional populations to prepare medicinal infusions for any one of numerous ailments. The lower stems on dead trees provide useful hardwood, albeit in small pieces.
Antelope, elephant and buffalo eat the fruits in spite of the woody outer wall, the pericarp. The seeds pass through their digestive systems and are thus distributed (Coates Palgrave 2002; Joffe, 2001; http://waynesword.palomar.edu).
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