ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Kikuyu People - the trees and shrubs around them

Updated on September 9, 2013
Source

Important trees to the Kikuyu


Updated 25th April 2012

All names for trees in Kikuyu start with Mũ, the prefix for nouns that have a spirit such as a person - Mũndũ.

The list below is by no means exhaustive. It is compiled with the help of respondents still knowledgeable on how the Kikuyu used the trees. Reverend Cagnolo, documented a selection of trees that he deemed important to the Kikuyu. Some of these trees are listed in this section. The Kikuyu orthography applied is not the one adopted by Italians who were the first white people to establish a printing press in Kikuyu land. Instead the has been standardized because the Kikuyu of today know the trees by the same name. First the Kikuyu name is given, followed by the scientific name. Where I doubt the authenticity of the scientific name, I have placed a question mark until the matter is settled. Cagnolo did not state traditional uses of the trees, but was more concerned with what the Europeans would do with them, especially the ones that could produce timber. Where this writer’s respondents had given an indication of what the tree was used for, the use has been stated.

MũcharageOlea hochstetteri

Mũderendũ (Teclea spp).– Used for making spear handles. Leakey notes that this tree was used for piercing lobes.


Mugaita Rapanea rhododendoides

Mũgio and Mũrũrũ - The bark is tripped to make string

Mũgono,or mũtathi - Used to make Thanju – herding and elders sticks.

Mũũ- Merkhamia hildebrandtii ?- was good for posts

Mũhũgũ - Brachylena Hutchinsii.

Mũhũtha - Looked like a Mũkũyũ, never used for ceremonies but fed to goats. Used to make Thanju – herding and elders sticks

Mũiri - pygeum Africana - The leaves were boiled and inhale to treat colds. The wood makes good hoe handles.

Mũirũthi - Maba abissinica ?

Mũkarara - phylanthus discoideus

Mũkindũri - Croton Elliotanus ? In the experience of this researcher, this tree is common in all of Kikuyu country.

Mũkoigo - fed to goats and had very durable timber for building

Mũkũngũgũ – All homesteads were ringed with a “green hedge or stockade” of this tree. It was also used to feed cattle and goats.

Mũkũngũgũ - Used to make shamba border posts called gitoka with live trees

Mũkũyũ and Mũgumo trees - Two trees stand out as important in religious ceremonies. These are the Mũkũyũ (Ficus sycamora) and the Mũgumo (Ficus natalensis). According to Leakey, the Kikuyu are called Kikuyu in association with the Mũkũyũ.

Mũkũyũ, Mũũmbũ - Sacred but fed to goats when not designated as sacred.


A prophecy comes to pass

MũnderendũTecla spp.

Mũringa - cordia Holstii

Mũtamaiyũ - Olea Chrisofila (africana) ? - wild Olive tree. In the absence of a Mũkũyũ or a Mũgumo tree for sacrifices, a respondent, affirmed that the Kikuyu used other sacred tress such as the Mũtamaiyũ. However, Leakey states that this Olive tree was the female in the sacred tree family, implying that it may have been venerated even where a Mũkũyũ or Mũgumo were available.

Mũtarakwa - Juniperus procera.

Mũtathi - Herbal but what was treated not clear.

Mũtatĩ - Poliscias kikuyensis

Mũthengera - Podocarpus milanjianus

Mũthite - Ocotea usambarensis.

Mũtũndũ - Neoboutonia macrocalyx.

Mũtũndũ - The thick liquid from this tree was used to treat wounds.

Mwatha and Mũthakwa wathi - Leaves were mixed and boiled to treat swollen lymphatic glands of cattle.

MũgumoFicus thoningii (Ficus natalensis)?

Mũkũyũficus sycamora

Mũgumo and Mũkũyũ were sacred trees. Cagnolo desribed them thus - “They are the…temples of the Kikuyu paganism” . The word Gĩkũyũ means “The Big Fig Tree” . Mũkũyũ was preferred to the Mũgumo for religious ceremonies, the later being used where a Mũkũyũ was not available. King and Salim give an account of Francis Hall and [chief] Kinyanjui who planted “two limbs” of a Mũgumo tree, tied together with wire to symbolise their bond in a peace treaty in the 1890’s.



Names of colours in Kikuyu

colours in Kikuyu
colours in Kikuyu

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • Emmanuel Kariuki profile image
    Author

    Emmanuel Kariuki 2 months ago from Nairobi, Kenya

    Hello Teacher Cathy,

    the tree is Osyris lanceolat

  • Emmanuel Kariuki profile image
    Author

    Emmanuel Kariuki 2 months ago from Nairobi, Kenya

    Hello Teacher Cathy.

    I have never heard of it. But I will try to find out.

  • profile image

    Teacher Cathy 2 months ago

    Does anyone know muthithioni or thithioni tree? Its bark is used to make herbal tea. What is the scientific name?

  • profile image

    Teacher Cathy 2 months ago

    Do you know a tree called "thithioni" - or I bet "muthithioni"? What is its scientific name. Powder (golden brown) made from the bark is used as a herbal tea.

  • Emmanuel Kariuki profile image
    Author

    Emmanuel Kariuki 2 months ago from Nairobi, Kenya

    Hello Anne Maina. Sorry for the late reply.

    Mũringa - A species of tree (cordia Holstii)

    Mũrĩnga - a wire

  • Anne Maina profile image

    Anne Maina 7 months ago

    What is Moringa in kikuyu?

  • Emmanuel Kariuki profile image
    Author

    Emmanuel Kariuki 2 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

    Thanks Ngigi Oscar.

    Mubariki is castor oil tree. Google for more details on castor oil. I will write on its uses by the Kikuyu.

  • profile image

    Ngigi oscar 2 years ago

    Really educative. Thank you very much.

    What of "mubariki" really in need of its scientific name.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)