Berchemia discolor fruits are ovoid drupes becoming 2 cm long and 8 mm wide, something like a small prune. Each fruit contains a single stone. The shape is wider near the base, tapering towards the rounded tip. They start off blue-green, hanging solitary or in small clusters from leaf axils. The colour becomes yellow to pale orange or brownish orange when they’re ripe.
This can be expected from midsummer onwards. Some consumers can’t wait and rejoice in the long fruiting season that may carry on into winter. The green ones seen here grew in the Kruger National Park in January. The fruits are edible, but also eatable, sweet and tasty. Many veld fruits are barely fit to be eaten, reaching only the famine food level of palatability; not so the delicious brown ivory fruit.
Brewing beer, the ubiquitous pastime of those that tope, hasn’t passed the local population by as far as brown ivory is concerned. One could always say the fruit collection is being made for adding to the children’s porridge, another common use, if anyone asked why so many (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Van Wyk and Gericke, 2000).