This relatively small currant resin tree, which has small whitish flowers, occurring on separate plants, is of high value to rural communities because of its resistant wood and multipurpose use.
This is a small, deciduous, round-crowned tree that can grow up to 7 m in height. The young branches are reddish brown and covered in lenticels and hairs. The bark is dark grey and cracking.
Leaves are alternate or whorled in groups of 3, egg-shaped and covered in soft hairs when young, developing a more quilted appearance with age; the leaf margin is thickened and minutely scalloped attached to a leaf stalk.
Inflorescences are attached at the branch apices and they are shorter than the leaves; female inflorescences are looser than male inflorescences; flowers are creamy whitish and occur in spring, September to November. The fruit is small, fleshy and almost round, green with black spots, turning black and wrinkled when mature in December to February.
This species is listed as least concern LC (Least Concern).
Distribution and Habitat
The species was discovered in the southern parts of Mozambique and is known to occur in the Limpopo Province, spreading south to Mpumalanga, Swaziland and Kwa-ZuluNatal. It flourishes in woodlands and bushveld.
Derivation of name and historical aspects
The origin of the name is currently unknown, but the specific epithet sphaerocarpa means ‘rounded/spherical fruit' referring to the shape of the fruit the tree bears.
Uses and cultural aspects
The bark, roots and leaves of this species all have medicinal uses; specifically the tree bark which is used to treat chest inflammation, erectile dysfunction and dysentery. The tree sap is used for birdlime (Unpublished). Old tree trunks are believed to last longer than metal and are used as fence posts and to build livestock kraals; pieces of tree bark are also used to make sour milk (inkomazi).
Within its family, species of Ozoroa are the most difficult to propagate. It is best to sow the seeds immediately after removing the fleshy outer covering. The soil must be well drained, as too much moisture might cause the roots to rot.
- Funston, M., Borchert, P. & Van Wyk, B. 1993. Bushveld trees: lifeblood of the Transvaal lowveld. Fernwood Press, Cape Town.
- Ispot. www.ispot.org.za . Accessed on 10/11/2014.
- Nichols, G. 2005. Growing rare plants: a practical handbook on propagating the threatened plants of southern Africa. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 36.
- Schmidt, E., Lötter, M. & McCleland, W. 2002. Trees & shrubs of Mpumalanga and Kruger National Park. Jacana, Johannesburg.
- Van Wyk, Braam, A.E & Van Wyk, P. 2013. Field guide to trees of southern Africa. Struik, Cape Town.
Threatened Species Programme (TSP)