Diospyros dichrophylla, commonly known as star-apple, is a shrub reaching 2 m or 3 m, occasionally a tree that may reach 13 m in height (SA Tree List No. 603).
It has smooth or wrinkled bark, brown or grey in colour with yellowish, velvety hairs upon ascending young branches. The wood is hard and black like ebony, conforming to the Ebenaceae family characteristic.
The leaves are alternate or spirally arranged and ascending on petioles of 3 mm to 6 mm long. Leaf-shape is oblanceolate (lance-shaped, wider near the tip than the base) to narrowly ovate (oval, wider near the tip than the base) with entire margins that are rolled under. The leaf tip tapers broadly or is rounded, the base tapering. The leathery leaf-blades are glossy dark green on top and hairless, pale olive-green below and hairy. The midrib is prominent on the lower surface, the about five lateral veins indistinct. Leaf dimensions are 1,5 cm to 8 cm by 0,6 cm to 2,5 cm.
The specific name, dichrophylla, is derived from the Greek words dis- meaning twice, chroma meaning colour and phyllon meaning leaf, indicating two leaf colours; probably referring to the colour difference between upper and lower leaf surfaces.
The species distribution is coastal from Bredasdorp along the south coast through the Eastern Province and KwaZulu-Natal as well as the Mpumalanga and Limpopo lowveld; also in some neighbouring countries.
The habitat is coastal scrub and sandy flats, open grassland, wooded kloofs, rocky slopes and forest margins. The species is not considered to be threatened in its habitat early in the twenty first century.
The species resembles D. simii (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Schmidt, et al, 2002; iSpot; http://redlist.sanbi.org).