Dovyalis caffra (Hook. f. & Harv.) Hook. f.

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Dovyalis caffra

Photo: Bart Wursten
Tiger Kloof, Mutare

Dovyalis caffra

Photo: Bart Wursten
Tiger Kloof, Mutare

Dovyalis caffra

Photo: Bart Wursten
Tiger Kloof, Mutare

Dovyalis caffra

Photo: Rob Burrett
Hillside Dams, Bulawayo

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

Synonyms: Aberia caffra Hook. f.
Common names: Kei-apple (English) Munhungura (Shona) Munhunguru (Shona) Musvisvirondo (Shona) Mutsvoritoto (Shona) Mutsvoritsvoto (Shona) Putukila (Hlengwe) Umqokolo (Ndebele)
Status: Native and introduced
Shrub or small tree. Bark grey, smooth, flaking in square patches on older stems; branches armed with hard straight spines up to 6 cm long. Leaves in tight clusters on dwarf lateral spurs along the branches, narrowly obovate to broadly obovate-elliptic, up to 5 cm long, leathery, dark glossy green above, paler below; margins entire. Flowers in dense clusters on the spur branchlets, small and inconspicuous, creamy-green, stamens numerous. Fruit almost round, fleshy, 3-6 cm in diameter, minutely velvety, apricot coloured when ripe, edible and sought after.
Notes: This species occurs naturally in the low-altitude areas in the South and South-east of the country. Trees are often planted as hedge plants and for the edible fruits and have become naturalised in many areas outside their natural habitats, usually close to habitation.
Derivation of specific name: caffra: from Kaffraria, a historic name for South Africa
Habitat: In woodland and riverine fringes, often on termite mounds.
Altitude range: (metres) Up to 1200 m
Flowering time:Nov - Jan
Worldwide distribution: Zimbabwe, Swaziland and South Africa as far as the Eastern Cape.
Zimbabwe distribution: W,E,S
Growth form(s): Tree, shrub over 2 m.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species: Odontosida magnifica (Food plant)
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Images last updated: Wednesday 12 November 2008

Chapano, C., Mugarisanwa, N.H. (2003). Plants of the Matobo District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 14.

Coates Palgrave K. (revised and updated by Meg Coates Palgrave) (2002). Trees of Southern Africa 3rd edition. Struik, South Africa Pages 762 - 763. (Includes a picture).

Drummond, R.B. (1975). A list of trees, shrubs and woody climbers indigenous or naturalised in Rhodesia. Kirkia 10(1) Page 261.

Schmidt, E., Lötter, M. & McCleland, W. (2002). Trees and shrubs of Mpumalanga and Kruger National Park Jacana, Johannesburg, South Africa Pages 430 - 431. (Includes a picture).

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 75.

Van Wyk, B. & Van Wyk, P. (1997). Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa. Struik, South Africa Pages 126 - 127. (Includes a picture).

Wild, H. (1960). Flacourtiaceae Flora Zambesiaca 1(1) Page 285.


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Flora of Botswana: Dovyalis caffra
Flora of Malawi: Dovyalis caffra
Flora of Zimbabwe: cultivated Dovyalis caffra

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Dovyalis caffra
Biodiversity Explorer (Biodiversity of southern Africa): Dovyalis caffra
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Dovyalis caffra
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Dovyalis caffra
ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Dovyalis caffra
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Dovyalis caffra
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Dovyalis caffra
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network): Dovyalis caffra
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Dovyalis caffra
Ispot Southern Africa: Dovyalis caffra
JSTOR Plant Science: Dovyalis caffra
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Dovyalis caffra
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Dovyalis caffra
The Plant List (version 1.1): Dovyalis caffra
Tropicos: Dovyalis caffra

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-18

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2018). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Dovyalis caffra., retrieved 24 February 2018

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