Prunus africana (Hook. f.) Kalkman

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Prunus africana

Photo: Bart Wursten
By road to Chirinda Forest camp site

Prunus africana

Photo: Lene Lauritsen
Growing in nursery, Huntsman Farm, near Bulawayo

Prunus africana

Photo: Lene Lauritsen
Growing in nursery, Huntsman Farm, near Bulawayo

Prunus africana

Photo: Lene Lauritsen
Growing in nursery, Huntsman Farm, near Bulawayo

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

Synonyms: Laurocerasus africana (Hook. f.) Browicz
Pygeum africanum Hook. f.
Pygeum crassifolium Hauman
Common names: African almond (English) Bitter almond (English) Muchambati (Shona) Muchati (Ndau) Red stinkwood (English)
Description: Medium to large evergreen tree. Bark dark brown, rough. Leaves elliptic, 5-15 cm long, hairless, glossy dark green above, paler beneath with distinct, darker veining; margin finely toothed with 1-2 glandular dots between the teeth near the base; petiole 1-2 cm long, channelled, often reddish. Inflorescences 7-15-flowered, axillary, 3-7 cm long. Flowers white, small with 10-20 stamens. Fruit wider than long, up to 1.2 cm in diameter, red to purple-brown, very bitter.
Notes: Not listed the Red Data List (Golding, 2002) but generally under threat due to over collecting of the bark for use in traditional medicine.
Derivation of specific name: africana: African
Flowering time:Sep - Nov & Mar - May
Worldwide distribution: Ghana, Nigeria, Bioko, São Tomé, Cameroun, DRC, Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Lesotho and Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Southern Cape, South Africa.
Growth form(s): Tree, shrub over 2 m.
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Image last updated: Friday 8 November 2013

Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (eds) (2005). Plants of the Nyika Plateau Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31 SABONET, Pretoria Page 237. (Includes a picture).

Burrows, J.E., Burrows, S.M., Lötter, M.C. & Schmidt, E. (2018). Trees and Shrubs Mozambique Publishing Print Matters (Pty), Cape Town. Page 171. (Includes a picture).

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 45.

Coates Palgrave, K. (revised and updated by Meg Coates Palgrave) (2002). Trees of Southern Africa 3rd edition. Struik, South Africa Pages 249 - 250.

Da Silva, M.C., Izidine, S. & Amude, A.B. (2004). A preliminary checklist of the vascular plants of Mozambique. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 30 Sabonet, Pretoria Page 99.

Dowsett-Lemaire, F. (1989). The flora and phytogeography of the evergreen forests of Malawi. I: Afromontane and mid-altitude forests; Bull. Jard. Bot. Nat. Belg. 59(1/2) Page 19.

Drummond, R.B. (1975). A list of trees, shrubs and woody climbers indigenous or naturalised in Rhodesia. Kirkia 10(1) Page 239.

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 70.

Mendes, E.J. (1978). Rosaceae Flora Zambesiaca 4 Pages 10 - 12. (Includes a picture).

Phiri, P.S.M. (2005). A Checklist of Zambian Vascular Plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 32 Page 86.

Schmidt, E., Lötter, M. & McCleland, W. (2002). Trees and shrubs of Mpumalanga and Kruger National Park Jacana, Johannesburg, South Africa Pages 138 - 139. (Includes a picture).

Strugnell, A.M. (2006). A Checklist of the Spermatophytes of Mount Mulanje, Malawi Scripta Botanica Belgica 34 National Botanic Garden of Belgium Page 159.

Timberlake, J.R., Bayliss, J., Dowsett-Lemaire, F., Congdon, C., Branch, B., Collins, S., Curran, M., Dowsett, R,J., Fishpool, L., Francisco, J., Harris, Kopp, M. & de Sousa, C. (2012). Mt Mabu, Mozambique: Biodiversity and Conservation Report produced under the Darwin Initiative Award 15/036. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London Page 75.

Van Wyk, B. & Van Wyk, P. (1997). Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa. Struik, South Africa Pages 152 - 153. (Includes a picture).

White, F., Dowsett-Lemaire, F. & Chapman, J.D. (2001). Evergreen forest flora of Malawi Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Pages 452 - 454. (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Prunus africana:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Prunus africana
Flora of Malawi: Prunus africana
Flora of Mozambique: Prunus africana
Flora of Zambia: Prunus africana
Flora of Zimbabwe: Prunus africana

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Prunus africana
African Plant Database: Prunus africana
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Prunus africana
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Prunus africana
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Prunus africana
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Prunus africana
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Prunus africana
JSTOR Plant Science: Prunus africana
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Prunus africana
Plants of the World Online: Prunus africana
Tropicos: Prunus africana
Wikipedia: Prunus africana

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Zimbabwe: Cultivated Plants: Species information: Prunus africana., retrieved 25 June 2024

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