Marula

Sclerocarya birrea

  • Bark: patchy-mottled appearance
  • leaves: alternate compound, crowded at the end of branches
  • Fruit: Yellow when mature (Feb-June)
  • Tonga people celebrate feast of the first fruits by pouring a libation of fresh juice over the tombs of dead chiefs & branches feature in their funeral rites
  • Fruit has rich scent & has four times the Vitamin C that an orange has. It can be made into an alcoholic drink, jelly or jam which are very nutritious
  • Each fruit has a single stone with 2-3 seeds (nuts) containing oil rich protein. Nuts may be eaten either raw or cooked with porridge
  • Shangaan witch doctors regard the stones as medicine in their divining dice
  • Stones passing through elephants digestive systems may help to open the lids of the fruit therefore making digestion easier
  • Zulus crush and boil the nuts with water and, skimming off the oil which they massage into their skin
  • Bark is used for the treatment of dysentery & diarrhea. It is also believed to prevent malaria if gathered before the 1st flush of leaves & when taken as a tincture in brandy or powdered & swallowed in teaspoonful is an effective cure for fever
  • Venda give powdered bark to pregnant women to make certain that the child will be of the desired sex (a girl tree gives a girl child)
  • The larval stage of the African moon moth, Argema mimosae feeds off the marula