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

Burrows, J.E., Burrows, S.M., Lötter, M.C. & Schmidt, E. (2018). Trees and Shrubs Mozambique Publishing Print Matters (Pty), Cape Town. Page 159. (Includes a picture).

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

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 32.

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).

Other sources of information about Maerua cafra:

Our websites:

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

External websites:

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

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: Species information: Maerua cafra., retrieved 20 May 2024

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