Eco Travel Africa Guide to accommodations, adventures, African safaris, eco-tourism tours, wildlife, maps and routes

Guide to the tree species of Southern Africa

Diospyros mespiliformis - Jackal-Berry
Travel Writer: EcoTravel Africa  

Ebenaceae - Ebony family
SA Tree no 606

Photographer: EcoTravel Africa 

Occurring at low to medium altitudes, this tree grows along river courses and bigger streams and in woodland. It is often found growing away from drainage lines on termite mounds. The tree never grows in groups, although there are sometimes more than one tree in close proximity.

Growing 10 - 20 m in height, this can become a large tree, with dense foliage. The tree has a dark green, roundish, spreading canopy. The single, massive trunk is usually gnarled or fluted. The trunk divides into a few large branches that spread out close to their origin. Each branch is itself very thick and trunk-like. The bark is grey-black, rough and often deeply grooved.

Links with animals - Fruit on the tree is eaten by green pigeons, brownheaded parrots. grey hornbills and purplecrested louries, monkey and baboon. Fallen fruit is eaten by kudu, impala, nyala and jackal. The leaves are eaten by elephant, kudu and eland.

Human uses - The wood, which becomes dark brown to almost black when dried, is used to make furniture and household articles such as pestles for grinding maize. The wood is close-grained, strong, hard, durable and almost termite-proof. The fruit is edible. Fruit, leaves and roots contain tannins and have medicinal uses in the treatment of wounds and against internal parasites. Extracts of various parts of the tree have antibiotic properties.

Gardening - This is a very attractive shade tree, suitable for a large garden. It will grow best in well-drained soils. This tree cannot withstand severe frost and needs to be well watered. It grows slowly but easily from seed.

Leaves - Simple. alternate, elliptic to obovate-oblong, with a conspicuous, closely waved margin. Dark green above and paler green below. Both young and old leaves are reddish, and there are often single, red leaves in the green foliage. (80 x 30 mm)

Flowers - Inconspicuous, fragrant, creamy-white flowers appear after the leaves, from October to December. Male and female flowers are borne on different trees. Almost wooly grey hairs on the calyx and flower stalks; the corolla is cream to pale yellow, up to 12 mm long; solitary in axils of the leaves. (12 mm)

Fruit - Round, green berries take up to a year to ripen and are therefore often present in large numbers. They are covered with very short soft hairs when young, becoming hard-skinned and turning purplish to yellow when ripe, during September and October. The 4 - 5 wavy persistent lobes of the calyx extend over about one-third of the fruit. (20 mm)

Best places to see the Jackal-Berry in Southern Africa:

The Jackal-Berry is found in the Kruger National Park in the Mixed Bushwillow Woodlands, Pretoriuskop Sourveld, Malelane Mountain Bushveld, Sabie Crocodile Thorn Thickets, Knob Thorn / Marula Savannah, Riverine Communities, Olifants Rugged Veld & Mopane / Bushwillow Woodlands ecozones.

Tree species of Southern Africa    >> Printable Tree List <<  
South African Trees    >> Printable Tree List <<
The Plant Kingdom (Plantae)
Wildlife - Fauna & Flora of Southern Africa

<<< Back to previous page <<<

Learn more about the Jackal-Berry - Diospyros mespiliformis with Wildlife Campus. Course content includes in-depth information about Jackal-Berry habitat, distribution, ecology...

Wildlife Campus offers many courses including: Field Guide Courses (FGASA); Game Ranging; Wildlife Management; Photography; Astronomy...

Southern Africa has many top Game / Nature Reserves, and is home to many of the mammals of southern Africa. Numerous wildlife safari and tour companies operate guided tours to Southern Africa. Popular adventure travel activities in Southern Africa include: horse riding safaris, elephant back safaris, mountain biking, birding, wilderness walking trails, science safaris and volunteering especially for GAP year students.
Southern Africa Wildlife - Fauna & Flora
Amphibians Ecology
Birds Trees
Fishes Shrubs
Mammals Grasses
Reptiles : Snakes Herbaceous Plants
Invertebrates Fungi : Mushrooms
Copyright Information: The travel information, images and, landscape, safari lodge and wildlife photographs on this Jackal-Berry page are the © of Eco Travel Africa and the Travel Writers / Photographers. Royalty Free Images and Photos of African wildlife, including Jackal-Berry of Southern Africa are available on this website.