(Uapaca kirkiana)

A tree of masuku 


Family: Phyllanthaceae

Synonyms: Uapaca albida, U. benguelensis, U. goetzii, U. greenwayi, U. homblei, U. neo-masuku, U. teusczii,

English name (local): Wild loquat.

Other local names: Oilumbula, mumbola, nt'junku, matu.

Masuku is native to South Africa.  It grows in the entire tropical Africa from Burundi south to Zimbabwe and Mozambique.  It is mostly found in lowland forests, open woodland and amongst rocks at medium altitudes with good rainfall.  The masuku fruits are not only edible, but are reputed for their good taste.  So these are always after by local people.

Fruits of masuku

                        Masuku is a small evergreen tree with large, brittle, ovate to obovate leaves. Leaves often distinctly curled over from the midrib in the shape of a saddle. Flowers are mostly unisexual; fruits orange yellow.

            The fruits are eaten both by children and adults.  These are used to make products like sweetmeats and jam.  A sweet beer is also made from masuku fruits which is ebven sold at some places in Tanzania.


 As this fruit is quite popular with local people, so their is ample scope for domestication of masuku.  It can be used in agro forestry, around homes and boundaries. It is left standing on cleared land.

Masuku flowers

            Masuku is a very hardy plant and can tolerate even shallow or gravelly soils.  It can be propagated by seed, cuttings or root suckers.

Other uses:

Flowers of masuku make very good honey.  The wood is fairly durable, straight-grained with white sap wood and red-brown figured heartwood.  It is termite resistant.  It is used to make furniture, for domestic uses such as spoons, and as timber.

Masuku fruits on sale

            Charcoal from this tree is highly regarded and many trees are cut for this purpose. It is also used for firewood in areas where the demand for charcoal is low.

            The root is used to treat indigestion.


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