Ximenia caffra, the sourplum, is a small, semi-deciduous tree found from central Africa to the South African provinces of Limpopo, North West, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal.
Branching of the stem will often start at the base to create a bushy structure with dense foliage to ground level. Old branches are dark with rough bark, whilst the young ones are smooth and green or light brown.
The leaves are leathery, fascicled on short, spine-tipped, lateral branchlets. Small, cream coloured to white flowers grow in axillary clusters. The fruit is a red, oval drupe that ripens in summer and is eaten by all (animals, birds, humans) in spite of it being quite sour.
Various remedies made of this tree exist in traditional medicine to treat ailments ranging from sore eyes to diarrhoea and bilharzia. As with several other plants there is also mention of an aphrodisiac quality (www.plantzafrica.com; Coates Palgrave, 2002).