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Hagenia abyssinica (hagenia)

A beautiful tree from African mountain forests, hagenia is much-used in local medicine.
Illustration of Hagenia abyssinica (hagenia)

Illustration of Hagenia abyssinica (hagenia) (Image: Franz Eugen Köhler)

Species information

Scientific name: 

Hagenia abyssinica (Bruce) J.F.Gmel.

Common name: 

hagenia, kosso

Conservation status: 

Least Concern (LC) according to IUCN Red List criteria. Widespread and common.


Montane forests, forming dominant stands just above the moist forest/bamboo zone.

Key Uses: 

Medicine, timber.

Known hazards: 

Side-effects resulting from consumption of infusions of hagenia flowers have been reported.


Genus: Hagenia

About this species

An attractive African tree with soft leaves and hanging flower sprays, Hagenia abyssinica also has many uses. The wood is used for carving, carpentry, firewood and charcoal, and the flowers, roots and bark are used for medicinal purposes. An infusion of the flowers is used widely against tapeworms, and in Ethiopia this has been in use for so long that ‘the master has taken his kosso’ is a well-understood excuse meaning ‘he cannot see you’.


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