Strychnos spinosa is a tree indigenous to tropical and subtropical
Africa. It produces juicy, sweet-sour, yellow fruits, containing
numerous hard brown seeds. Greenish-white flowers grow in dense
heads at the ends of branches (Sep-Feb/Spring - summer). The fruit
tend to appear only after good rains. The smooth, hard fruit are
large and green, ripen to yellow color. Inside the fruit are tightly
packed seeds surrounded by a fleshy, edible covering. Animals such
as baboon, monkeys, bushpig, nyala and eland eat the fruit. The
leaves are a popular food source for browsers such as duiker, kudu,
impala, steenbok, nyala and elephant. It is believed that various
insects pollinate the flowers.
Common names : Spiny Monkey-orange/Green Monkey Orange (English)
Morapa (NS) umKwakwa (Swaziland) Nsala (Tswana) Mutamba (Shona)
Maboque (Angola) Eguni (sing)/Maguni (pl) (Namibia)
This tree can be found growing singly in well-drained soils. It
is found in bushveld, riverine fringes, sand forest and coastal bush
from the Eastern Cape to Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa, Mozambique,
Angola and inland to Swaziland, Zimbabwe, northern Botswana and
northern Namibia, north to tropical Africa, and north west
Madagascar. It is capable of growing on semi-arid and arid lands.
A traditional food plant in Africa, this little-known fruit has
potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural
development and support sustainable landcare.
The wood can be used for general carpentry. Timber from this tree
is also used to produce implement handles, fighting sticks and hut
poles. It is also used for carving.
The species has recently been introduced into Israel as a potential
new commercial crop.
The fruit may be used as a supplementary source of food by rural
people during times of shortage.