Ozoroa obovata

(Oliv.) R.Fern. & A.Fern. var. elliptica R.Fern. & A.Fern.

Family: Anacardiaceae
Common names: broad-leaved resin tree (Eng.); breë blaarharpuisboom (Afr.)

Ozoroa obovata tree

The broad-leaved resin tree is a semi-deciduous to evergreen shrub or tree that is suitable for small gardens.

Ozoroa obovata foliageA shrub which can also grow into a small tree about 6 to 8 m in height; it is deciduous to evergreen and has a flat crown. The bark is grey, rough and thick, and the small branches have reddish brown lenticels (small, corky spots on the bark). The leaves are spirally arranged in whorls of 3 and they are oblong to obovate, 25120 x 1540 mm, dark green above and paler green to silver underneath.

The flowers are small and white, arranged in axillary and terminal clusters in the form of a slender pyramid of about 100 mm long which occurs from January to May. The kidney-shaped fruits are about 7 x10 mm and become black when mature, from February to September.

Distribution and habitat
The broad-leaved resin tree is distributed from tropical Africa through southern Mozambique and southeastern Zimbabwe to northern KwaZulu-Natal. The variety elliptica occurs inland in bushveld areas on rocky or loamy soils.

Name derivation and historical aspects
The origin of the name Ozoroa is unknown; obovata refers to the egg-shaped leaves with the widest point being away from the stem.

Uses and cultural aspects
The leaves are eaten by browsers (game animals that eat leaves) while the bark is chewed and eaten by elephants and the fruits are eaten by some bird species such as hornbills. The nectar produced by small spots on the green fruits is utilized by ants.

Ozoroa obovata shrub

Growing Ozoroa obovata

When propagating Ozoroa obovata from seed use seedling mixture which contains1 part of sieved compost and 1 part of coarse river sand. Do not add fertilizers to the mixture as it might cause plant diseases.

When planting from cuttings the growing media should be 1 part of sieved compost and 3 part of washed river sand. Hard wood cutting should be collected in winter to increase the rooting percentage of this plant.

References and further reading

  • Coates Palgrave, M. 2002. Keith Coates Palgrave Trees of southern Africa, edn 3. Struik, Cape Town.
  • Glen, H.F. 2004. SAPPI What's in a name? The meaning of the botanical names of tree. Jacana, Johannesburg.
  • Smith, C.A 1966. Common names of South African plants. Memoirs of the Botanical Survey of South Africa No. 35.
  • Van Wyk, Braam, A.E.& Van Wyk, P. 1997. Field guide to tree of southern Africa. Struik, Cape Town.


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This page forms part of the South African National Biodiversity Institute's plant information website www.plantzafrica.com.