Dovyalis caffra


Family: Salicaceae

Common names: Kei-apple, wild apricot (Eng.); appelkoosdoring (Afr.)

SA Tree No: 507

To find this delicious fruit tree, walk along the wild paths of the Indigenous Gardens in Steenbok Nature Reserve.

This dense, spreading, indigenous plant varies from a shrub, growing about 3 m tall, or an 8m tall tree with a thick crown.  The non invasive roots make it an excellent barrier or hedge when planted close together.  Plants are dioecious, female and male flowers on separate plants and only the female plants bear fruit.  The flowers appear in late Summer and are rich in nectar attracting butterflies and insects. 

When the edible fruit ripens to yellowish orange, it has a texture much like an apricot.  By eating the wild fruits, birds and humans help distribute the seeds.  It is drought and frost resistant and grows well from seeds collected from ripe fruit.  Seeds must be cleaned and dried before sowing.  

This tree grows well in poor saline soil and sea spray.   

The fruit is rich in vitamin C and makes a great tasting jelly or jam. 

Kei-apple tree seedling can be bought at most nurseries in the Western Cape.