Dovyalis caffra is a lovely evergreen fruit tree or shrub. It is one of the three Dovyalis species, together with D. zeyheri (wild apricot) and D. rhamnoides (common sour berry), which are of considerable importance as a source of income for some local communities in southern Africa. A trial planting of southern African fruit trees in a desert in Israel is also going to include this plant (Dovyalis caffra). It is an attractive, drought and frost resistant tree or shrub. Dovyalis caffra is usually 3-5 m in height, but sometimes reaches 8 m with a much branched crown. It is a tree or spiny shrub of moderate growth rate that may be planted close together to form a good hedge. Creamy green flowers form in November to December. Male flowers are 3 mm long in dense clusters of 5-10 flowers. Female flowers are found in groups of up to three on stalks 4-10 mm long in leaf axils. The fruits are up to 60 mm in diameter and are yellowish orange in colour. It grows in valley Bushveld, dry areas, wooded grassland, on forest edges, from Eastern Cape through KwaZulu-Natal to Swaziland, into Limpopo [Northern Province] and Zimbabwe. Insects and birds play a very important role in pollinating this tree. Birds such as the louries and the black-eyed bulbuls love the fruits of a Dovyalis caffra, which are delicious. By eating the fruits birds also help to distribute the seeds. Baboons, antelope and monkeys also like to eat the fruit.
USDA Zone - 8
Season to Sow - Spring
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