AFRICAN WILD APRICOT
(Dovyalis zeyheri)

 

A tree of African wild apricot 

Family: Flacourtiaceae
Synonyms: Aberia zeyheri,  Dovyalis tristis
Local names: Apricot sourberry, morethema,  Munhungura, Musvisvirondo, Mutsvoritoto, Oval kei-apple, Umqokolo, umNyazuma,                        umQokokolo, Wilde-appelkoos

   

African wild apricot is not in anyway related to the common apricot. It is plant from Southern Africa .   Since the fruits are bright yellow And the skin is also velvety, so locals started calling them “apricot”.

 

Leaves and flowers of African wild apricot

 

           This tree has a very unusual feature for which no one has been able to find an explanation yet.  During certain periods of the year, the tree emits a smell resembling that of a rotting dead animal.  At times the smell can be quite strong and therefore misleading.  In fact it becomes hard to believe that the smell is coming from a tree.

The African wild apricot is widespread and occurs in bushveld and woodlands, especially in rocky areas in eastern parts of South Africa and central and eastern Zimbabwe. Sometimes it can also be seen growing in margins of evergreen forests.

Description:

A large shrub or small to medium-sized tree, 2 to 10 m tall;  bark pale to dark grey, smooth in young trees but deeply fissured in older specimens

            Leaves obovate to broadly elliptic, glossy above, dull and paler below, with or without hairs; margin often obscurely scalloped.

            Flowers solitary or in clusters, greenish-yellow, about 10 mm in diameter.

            Fruit ovoid, fleshy, velvety, cupped by the persistent calyx; bright orange when ripe.

Utilization:

The fruits, though sour in taste, are quite refreshing.  These are therefore eaten and also made into a good jam and jelly.

 

A fruit of African wild apricot

Cultivation:

Though wild apricot can moderate frost but the new plants will have to be protected for first two years. It is also drought resistant and grows well in either full sun or light shade. It grows well in sandy or loamy soil to which compost has been added.

           New plants are raised from seed. 

 

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