The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Marula

Afrikaans name: Maroela

A young Marula Tree in Berg-en-dal camp in Kruger National Park

Photo © Steven Herbert

Sclerocarya birrea

The Marula is a well-known tree that can grow to a height of around 18 metres. They tend to have a straight crown and rounded canopy.

The fruit of the Marula tree are its main claim to fame amongst man and animal alike. The fruit ripens in summer. They are yellow on the outside with white flesh and a hard nut inside. The fruit and seed kernels are eaten by various African tribes and the fruit can be made into an alcoholic beverage. Various mammals and birds feed off the fruit. There are many stories about mammals such as Elephant getting drunk from eating fermenting fruit but these do not appear to be true.

Various parts of the Marula tree are reputed to have medicinal properties including treatment of malaria, relief from stings and pesticides. The wood of the Marula is soft and is used for carving while the inner parts of the bark can be used to make rope.

Leaves of a Marula Tree

Photo © Steven Herbert

Bark of a Marula Tree

Photo © Steven Herbert

References and further reading

Wild Issue 30 - Author: - Published: 2015 - Page: 76

Whats that Tree? - Author: Eugene Moll - Published: 2011 - Page: 109

Trees of Kruger - Author: Braam and Piet van Wyk - Published: 2023 - Page: 75

Trees of Southern Africa - 3rd edition - Author: Keith Coates Palgrave - Published: 2002 - Page: 539

Trees & Shrubs of the Witwatersrand, Magaliesberg & Pilanesberg - Author: Joan van Gogh - Published: 1988 - Page: 50

The Natal Bushveld - Volume 1 - Author: Natal Parks Board - Published: 1981 - Page: 71

The Gardener - 2021/01 - Author: - Published: 2021 - Page: 57

The Complete Field Guide to Trees of Natal, Zululand and Transkei - Author: Elsa Pooley - Published: 1994 - Page: 240

Southern Africa from the Highway - Author: AA RSA - Published: 1991 - Page: 165

Sasol First Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa - Author: Elsa Pooley - Published: 1999 - Page: 49

Sappi Wild Flower Guide - Mpumalanga and Northern Province - Author: Jo Onderstall - Published: 1996 - Page: 120

Sappi Tree Spotting: Lowveld - Author: Jacana - Published: 1997 - Page: 92

Sappi Tree Spotting: KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape - 2nd edition - Author: Val Thomas and Rina Grant - Published: 2004 - Page: 204

Sappi Tree Spotting: Bushveld - 2nd edition - Author: R Grant and V Thomas - Published: 2005 - Page: 164

Pocket Guide - Trees of Southern Africa - Author: Piet van Wyk - Published: 2013 - Page: 75

Piet van Wyks Field Guide to the Trees of the Kruger National Park - 1st edition - Author: Piet van Wyk - Published: 1988 - Page: 138

Kruger - Portrait of a National Park - Author: David Paynter with Wilf Nussey - Published: 1986 - Page: 24

Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of SA - 2nd edn - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1991 - Page: 391

Game Ranger in your Backpack - Author: Megan Emmett and Sean Pattrick - Published: 2013 - Page: 302

Field Guide to the Trees of the Kruger National Park - 5th edition - Author: Piet van Wyk - Published: 2008 - Page: 138

Everyones Guide to Trees of South Africa - Author: Keith, Paul and Meg Coates Palgrave - Published: 1989 - Page: 54

Country Life - Issue 218 - Author: - Published: 2014 - Page: 98

A site-by-site guide to trees in the Kruger National Park - Author: Marissa Greeff - Published: 2017 - Page: 136

A Field Guide to the Trees of Southern Africa - Author: E. Palmer - Published: 1983 - Page: 196

For more info: SANBI


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