Grewia occidentalis

Botanical name

Grewia occidentalis

Other names

Cross-berry; kruisbessie (Afrikaans); Grewia chirindae




Usually a shrub, occasionally a small tree of 5 m; in densely wooded areas sometimes a climber

Description of stem

Smooth, light grey

Description of leaves

Ovate, three-veined from the base; light-green; sometimes hairy; margins toothed; petiole more than 1 cm

Description of flowers

Flowers pink or mauve with lighter and darker variations both common; the petals and upper surface of the sepals similarly coloured with the sepals dominating in size in the flower; flowering late spring or summer

Description of seed/fruit

Characteristically fourlobed seed arranged in a square of the four globose seeds with two straight lines running between the adjacent pairs that form the cross reflected in the common name; the ripening seeds take on different colours ranging from orange, reddish brown to purple

Description of roots



Different subspecies and forms are associated with different regions in this plant's distribution area

Propagation and cultivation

Grows from seed




The bark is used to dress wounds; decoctions are made to treat barrenness, assist in childbirth and impotence; the wood has been used in the making of traditional weapons; attractive garden shrub

Ecological rarity

Common, widespread and not threatened

Pests and diseases

A form of scale is sometimes found on this plant




Forests, wooded areas and bushveld; also in the Karoo and some varied Western Cape inland habitats

Distribution (SA provinces)

Western Cape; Eastern Cape; Kwazulu-Natal; Free State; Gauteng; North West; Limpopo; Mpumalanga


South Africa; Lesotho; Swaziland; Mozambique; Zimbabwe


Category: Shrubs