Sclerocarya birrea (A. Rich.) Hochst.
subsp. caffra (Sond.) Kokwaro

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Sclerocarya birrea subsp. caffra

Photo: Bart Wursten
Osborne Dam RP

Sclerocarya birrea subsp. caffra

Photo: Bart Wursten
Between Hot Springs Resort and Odzi R.

Sclerocarya birrea subsp. caffra

Photo: Bart Wursten
Between Hot Springs Resort and Odzi R.

Sclerocarya birrea subsp. caffra

Photo: Bart Wursten
Near the lodges, Lake Kyle Recreational Park

Sclerocarya birrea subsp. caffra

Photo: Rob Burrett
Rowallan Adventure Park, Matopos National Park.

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Synonyms: Sclerocarya caffra Sond.
Common names: Marula (English) Mufuna (Shona) Mupfura (Shona) Mushomo (Shona) Umganu (Ndebele)
Status: Native
Medium-sized deciduous tree. Leaves alternate, crowded near the ends of branches, imparipinnate with 7-15 pairs of ovate to elliptic leaflets and a terminal leaflet, dark green above, paler bluish-green below. Flowers in axillary and terminal sprays, red in bud, turning pinkish-white, unisexual, mostly on separate trees. Fruits fleshy, plum-like, pale green turning yellow when ripe. The fruit is edible and highly valued by animals and people.
Derivation of specific name: birrea: from the vernacular name "birr" in Senegal;
caffra: of Caffraria, historic name for South Africa
Habitat: In various types of savannah woodland.
Altitude range: (metres)
Flowering time:Sep - Nov
Worldwide distribution: Angola, southern DRC, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Also in Madagascar.
Zimbabwe distribution: N,W,C,E,S
Growth form(s): Tree.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species: Sphingomorpha chlorea (Food plant)
Philotherma rosa (Food plant)
Argema mimosae (Food plant)
Gonimbrasia belina (Larval foodplant)
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Images last updated: Monday 12 March 2007

Coates Palgrave K. (revised and updated by Meg Coates Palgrave) (2002). Trees of Southern Africa 3rd edition. Struik, South Africa Pages 539 - 540. (Includes a picture).

Curtis, B.A. & Mannheimer, C.A. (2005). Tree Atlas of Namibia National Botanic Research Institute, Windhoek Pages 354 - 355. as Sclerocarya birrea (Includes a picture).

Fabian, A. & Germishuizen, G. (1997). Wild Flowers of Northern South Africa. Fernwood Press, Vlaeburg. Pages 234 - 235. (Includes a picture).

Fernandes, R. & A. (1966). Anacardiaceae Flora Zambesiaca 2(2) Pages 553 - 555. as Sclerocarya caffra (Includes a picture).

Schmidt, E., Lötter, M. & McCleland, W. (2002). Trees and shrubs of Mpumalanga and Kruger National Park Jacana, Johannesburg, S Africa Pages 330 - 331. (Includes a picture).

Timberlake, J.R. & Childes, S.L. (2004). Biodiversity of the Four Corners Area: Technical Reviews Volume Two (Chapter 5-15) Appendix 5-1: Plant Checklist Occasional Publications in Biodiversity 15 Page 196.

Van Wyk, B. & Van Wyk, P. (1997). Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa. Struik, South Africa Pages 446 - 447. (Includes a picture).


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Other sources of information about Sclerocarya birrea subsp. caffra:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: Sclerocarya birrea subsp. caffra
Flora of Mozambique: Sclerocarya birrea subsp. caffra
Flora of Zambia: Sclerocarya birrea subsp. caffra
Flora of Zimbabwe: cultivated Sclerocarya birrea subsp. caffra

External websites:

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

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-15

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2015). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Sclerocarya birrea subsp. caffra., retrieved 10 October 2015

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