Deinbollia oblongifolia
(E.Mey.ex Arn.) Radlk.

Family : Sapindaceae
Common names : dune soapberry (Eng.); duineseepbessie (Afr.)
SA Tree No : 430

Deinbollia oblongifolia

Deinbollia oblongifolia is an erect sparsely-branched shrub or small slender tree.

Deinbollia oblongifolia is a shrub up to 1.5 m tall; the branchlets are hairless. Leaves are up to 300 mm long, the leaf stalk is up to 90 mm long, with a few hairs or hairless. The inflorescence is terminal, up to 350 mm. long, covered in reddish, velvety hairs. Flowers are cream-coloured. The fruit is a roundish berry, ± 10 mm in diameter, yellow when mature and appears in June–Oct. Seeds are up to 10 mm in diameter and are also hairless.

Deinbollia oblongifolia leaves Deinbollia oblongifolia seeds

Conservation status
Deinbollia oblongifolia is not known to be threatened in any way.

Distribution and habitat
Deinbollia oblongifolia grows in Eastern Cape, coastal thickets in Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and is also found in southern Mozambique.

Derivation of name and historical aspects
Deinbollia is named after Peter Deinboll (1783–1876), a Danish botanist and plant collector. The species name, oblongifolia means oblong leaves.

Deinbollia oblongifolia fruit

Uses and cultural aspects
The fruit is eaten by humans, mammals and birds and the leaves are eaten as spinach in winter. The seeds lather in water and are used as soap. A root infusion is used for diarrhoea and dysentery. Powdered bark is rubbed into cuts in the forehead to relieve headaches.

Growing Deinbollia oblongifolia

Propagate this shrub from seed, in trays filled with seedling soil or a mixture of river sand and sifted compost (1:1) and keep moist.

References and further reading

  • Exell, A.W., Fernandes, A. & Wild, H. 1963. Deinbollia oblongifolia. Flora zambesiaca, vol. 2, part 2. University Press, Glasgow.
  • Schmidt, E., Lötter, M. & McCleland, W. 2002. Trees and shrubs of Mpumalanga and Kruger National Park. Fishwicks Printers. Durban.


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