The almond-shaped fruit of Brabejum stellatifolium is densely covered in brown hairs. Young fruits are magenta or purple until they mature by autumn. They remain on the spikes from which the flowers had grown in upper leaf axils. The wild almond name was derived from the resemblance with cultivated almonds, although these fruits don’t serve the same purpose. There was a coffee ground of them in the past, but probably discontinued for good reason.
This is the only member of the Proteaceae that bears a stone fruit. The genus Brabejum is monotypic, holding only one species, while its family, the Proteaceae is large and diverse.
B. stellatifolium is thought to hold the distinction of being the first South African indigenous tree that was also planted here (in 1660). Planting South African species in Europe from seeds or cuttings, taken from the Cape on any of the many passing ships that usually sought interesting and marketable cargo is quite another matter. Such enterprise may have thrived well before 1652 when Van Riebeeck was sent here (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Esterhuyse, et al, 2001).