Notices for Users of the Albums

1. New Albums and some changes


The latest genera Albums added to the Operation Wildflower Site are the ones on Metalasia, Brabejum and Bauhinia. This means that photos and stories of plants belonging to these genera already on the Site have been moved from the more general Albums called Shrubs and Trees into their own new Albums under Genera. 


There is a genus Album in every case where enough material has been accumulated to warrant a stand-alone grouping of photos and stories. There are now more than 160 such Albums on genera of South African plants. The biggest ones (most photos) belong to the genera Crassula, Euphorbia, Pelargonium and Aloe. Keep watching, more will be added! If there is no genus Album yet on the plant you are looking for, check under Types or the Search Box.


In order to access all items on a plant of interest, the Search Box should be used, entering the botanical name of the plant. Most photos and stories on a particular plant are likely to be posted under Genera, (or if there are only few of them, in the conglomerate categories under Types). Habitat, Regions or Parks and Gardens may also contain some material on a species searched for, showing in the list generated when using the Search Box. The latest Parks and Gardens Album is the one on the Quiver Tree Forest.


2. Want to talk about an Album Item?


There is a new way of communicating with the Editor of this Site regarding any of the Album Items.
Comments, questions, corrections, information and suggestions can be put to the Editor by using the following email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Please ensure that the Album Item concerned is clearly identified. Type its exact title as well as the Album Name in the Subject Line of your email. Please also state your name.


Similarly, communication regarding the functioning or technical aspects of the Site can be directed to the Webmaster at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..




Sclerocarya birrea

Botanical name

Sclerocarya birrea (SA No 360)

Other names

Marula; maroela (Afrikaans), morula (Tswana)




Large upright tree, often 12 to 15 m with a broad and rounded crown, occasionally up to beyond 25 m

Description of stem

Grey, flaking characteristically in round patches, lower branches tend to disappear, showing a straight bare trunk; young branchlets end abruptly without attenuating

Description of leaves

Composite, clustered towards the end of branches, deciduous, imparipinnate (composite leaf has a terminal leaflet), 3 to 7 pairs of variable, elliptical and glabrous leaflets; green above, lighter below; usually only serrated when young, otherwise entire

Description of flowers

Dioecious, small yellow petals, male flowers in large clusters, female ones single or few together

Description of seed/fruit

Fleshy green drupe on tree, falling off in autumn and turning light yellow on the ground; three seeds contained in the hard kernel, the fleshy pulp highly nutritious and sought after by humans and animals

Description of roots




Propagation and cultivation

From seed or truncheons, water when young, full sun


Tender to frost, drought resistant once established


Fruits eaten by humans and many animals; made into  a jelly and alcoholic drinks, even commercially, such as the Amarula liqueur; the seeds are also eaten; the wood is used for furniture, household utensils and flooring; the bark has been used as a dye and a medicine for dysentry; planted successfully as a crop plant in the Negev Desert; browsed by herbivores such as elephants and giraffes

Ecological rarity Not threatened
Pests and     diseases  
Location Woodland and bushveld in warm areas
Distribution (SA provinces) North West; Gauteng; Limpopo; Mpumalanga; Kwazulu-Natal
Country South Africa; Botswana; Namibia; Zimbabwe; Swaziland; Mozambique; Zambia; Malawi
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