Maerua cafra (DC.) Pax

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Synonyms: Capparis triphylla Thunb.
Niebuhria cafra DC.
Niebuhria triphylla (Thunb.) Wendl.
Common names: Bush-cherry (English)
Status: Native
Shrub or small tree. Bark mottled pale grey; young branchlets yellowish to grey-green, covered in lenticels. Leaves mostly trifoliollate, occasionally with 4-5 leaflets; leaflets elliptic to (ob)ovate, up to 7.5 × 3.5 cm, terminal leaflet longer than lateral ones, leathery, hairless; petiole and petiolules grooved along the top. Flowers in terminal clusters; sepals greenish; petals absent; stamens 35-40, up to 3 cm long, white. Fruit ellipsoid, up to 4.5 × 3 cm, smooth or with minute bumps.
Derivation of specific name: cafra: of Caffraria, a historic name for South Africa.
Habitat: In open woodland and patches of forest.
Altitude range: (metres)
Flowering time:Aug - Oct
Worldwide distribution: Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa as far as the Southern Cape.
Zimbabwe distribution: E
Growth form(s): Tree.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species: Pinacopteryx eriphia eriphia (Food plant)
Colotis antevippe gavisa (Food plant)
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Drummond, R.B. (1975). A list of trees, shrubs and woody climbers indigenous or naturalised in Rhodesia. Kirkia 10(1) Page 238.

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 44.

Wild, H. (1960). Capparaceae Flora Zambesiaca 1(1) Pages 221 - 223. (Includes a picture).


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Other sources of information about Maerua cafra:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Maerua cafra
Flora of Mozambique: Maerua cafra

External websites:

African Plant Database: Maerua cafra
Biodiversity Explorer (Biodiversity of southern Africa): Maerua cafra
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Maerua cafra
ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Maerua cafra
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Maerua cafra
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network) taxonomy for plants report for Maerua cafra
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Maerua cafra
Ispot Southern Africa : Maerua cafra
JSTOR Plant Science: Maerua cafra
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Maerua cafra
Tropicos: Maerua cafra
West African Plants database: Maerua cafra

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-16

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2016). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Maerua cafra., retrieved 26 October 2016

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