There has been considerable disagreement about the correct spelling for this generic name. It was originally written as Ancylobothrys by Pierre in the Bull. Soc. Linn. Paris ser. 2: 91. 1898. This was considered to be a mis-spelling by many botanists and Huber, in Fl. W. Trop. Afr. 2nd ed. 2. 1963, corrected it to Ancylobotrys. This name remained in common usage for around 50 years but several recent publications have reverted to the original spelling. We also are following the original spelling since it has now been accepted in the Kew 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.
Ancylobotrys capensis (Oliv.) Pichon
Landolphia capensis Oliv.
Pacouria capensis (Oliv.) S.Moore
Common Name: Wild Apricot
Wild apricot is a very slow-growing, much-branched twiggy, evergreen shrub that can creep along the ground or scramble upwards to a height of 3 metres or more by clinging to other vegetation by means of tendrils[
The plant is harvested from the wild for its edible fruit, which is considerd to be the best of the genus and is much esteemed.
Some authors say the fruit are both edible and poisonous, probably referring to the milky latex in the skin that is typically poisonous in most members of the Apocynaceae[
Southern Africa - S. Africa to Botswana.
]. A characteristic species of dry bush in rocky situations, growing in grassland and bushveld, mainly on the scarp and summit of rocky outcrops or on plains with rocky ridges. Common on quartzite koppies in the north of its range[
A plant of subtropical to tropical areas. Young plants can be killed by frost, but older plants are more tolerant. If the tops are killed in frosty weather, then the plant will often resprout from the base[
Prefers an acid soil[
]. Succeeds in poor, shallow soils[
The plant does have horticultural potential in large open gardens with rocky areas. If pruned back, especially in late summer, it can develop into an attractive bush-especially when in flower or when fruiting[
]. In natural rocky areas with little soil it drapes itself over rocks and the gardener who imitates this situation will have a better display[
The fruit are edible, with a refreshing, tangy flavour and can be eaten either fresh or fried. Some say that it makes a good brandy, jelly or jam and even vinegar[
]. The fruit are rounded to pear-shaped, 35 - 50 mm in diameter. They are dark green to lime-green when young, turning yellow to orange as they mature. The skin is somewhat fleshy, velvety and tough, but peels away easily. Inside are numerous seeds, varying from round to almost bean-like and embedded in the sweet-sour pulp. The fruit resembles the apricot in colour but the taste is certainly different - the flesh is tasty and slightly sour, especially close to the seed[
Seed - easily grown from fresh, clean seed collected when the fruit are ripening[
]. Make sure to clean the seeds and plant them directly into acidic leaf compost. They usually germinate quickly but can take as long as three months[
]. Young plants can be transplanted into well-drained soil in a semi-shaded situation. The branches like sun but the roots have to be kept cool-in nature they are sheltered form the heat of the sun below rocks. Unfortunately, these plants are extremely slow growers, so if you decide to plant this species you have to be very patient[
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