Hexalobus monopetalus, commonly the shakama-plum or in Afrikaans the bastersuikerappel (bastard sugar apple), is a deciduous shrub or small, often crooked tree reaching 2 m to 7 m in height (SA Tree List No. 106).
The dark bark becomes longitudinally fissured, revealing paler underbark. Leaf petiole bases persist conspicuously on young branches.
The flowers grow solitary from axils where leaves will appear later on short pedicels, or sessile. The velvety brown buds emerge in autumn but only open in the latter half of spring while the tree is still leafless after winter. There are three velvety red sepals up to 6 mm long.
The six petals in two whorls of three each are cream or yellow and wrinkled, appearing spidery. The indehiscent fruit is a berry, usually single but may consist of up to three carpels. It is fleshy, red, velvety, cylindrical to ovoid and up to 3,5 cm long.
The fruit is edible, good for making jam, although usually full of insects. It is larval food to sword-tail butterfly species.
H. monopetalus occurs in South Africa only in parts of Limpopo and Mpumalanga. It is widespread in tropical and West Africa.
The habitat is lower altitude sandy bushveld, savanna and scrub, rocky slopes and outcrops, also riverine bush. The species is not considered to be threatened in its habitat early in the twenty first century.
The two earlier varieties of this tree don’t seem to be upheld anymore (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Schmidt, et al, 2002; Van Wyk and Van Wyk, 1997; iNaturalist; http://redlist.sanbi.org).