Harpephyllum caffrum 'Wild plum' 20 liters

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Harpephyllum caffrum Bernh.

Family: Anacardiaceae

Common names: wild plum (Eng.); wildepruim, suurbessie, gwenjabessie (Afr.); umgwenya (Zulu, Xhosa); mothekele (Northern Sotho)

This is an attractive evergreen tree that is useful as an ornamental garden tree and for attracting birds and butterflies into the garden.It is popularly planted as a street tree in a number of South African towns and cities. With its thick crown and somewhat drooping leaves,the wild plum is a good shade tree in the garden.

 Photo Geoff Nichols


The wild plum is a large, evergreen tree that grows up to 15 m tall, and is usually found in riverine forests. The main stem is clean and straight, but the forest form often has supporting buttress roots. The bark is smooth when young, becoming rough, dark grey-brownas it grows older. Branches are curved bowed upwards, with leaves crowded towards the ends, forming a thick crown at the top of the tree.

The shiny dark green and glossy leaves are pinnate with sickle-shaped leaflets, and are sometimes interspersed with the odd red leaves.The whitish green flowers are borne near the ends of the branches with male and female flowers on separate trees, throughout summer (November to February). The tasty plum-like fruits first appear green and then turn red when they ripen in autumn; they contain a single seed and are enjoyed by people, mammals and birds.

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