Maerua cafra

Botanical name

Maerua cafra (SA No 133)

Other names

Witbos (Afrikaans); bush-cherry

Family

Capparaceae

Dimensions

Woody shrub or small tree, occasionally 9 m tall

Description of stem

Light grey to dark brown; young branches marked with lenticels

Description of leaves

Digitately compound with three to five obovate leaflets, dark green and densely packed; shiny, glabrous; margin entire, sometimes notched around the apex, a hair-like tip

Description of flowers

Large number of conspicuous white stamens, greenish towards the base over four short green sepals and at the tips, petals absent; flowers appearing in terminal clusters during September to December

Description of seed/fruit

Oval green berry on a single stalk, October to December

Description of roots

Thick, tuberous

Variation

 

Propagation and cultivation

 

Tolerances

 

Uses

Leaves browsed by game; fruit eaten by birds; the roots are said to be ground up as a chicory substitute in coffee

Ecological rarity

 

Pests and diseases

 

Other

The unusual spelling of cafra is due to early recorded naming habits

Location

Wooded areas, bnushveld and rocky ridges

Distribution

Gauteng; Mpumalanga; Northwest; Mpumalanga; Kwazulu-Natal; Eastern Cape

Country

South Africa, Zimbabwe

Category: Trees