Royena cistoides Welw. ex Hiern
Royena guerkei Kuntze
Royena lycioides (Desf.) A.DC.
Royena nitens Harv. ex Hiern
Royena sericea Bernh.
Diospyros lycioides is a shrub or tree that can be evergreen or deciduous according to the climate. It grows up to 5 metres tall, forming an open crown with drooping branches[
The plant has a range of local uses, for fod, medicine and various commodities. It is commonly harvested from the wild and is sometimes planted as a hedge plant and shade tree[
Africa - Angola, southern DR Congo, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, S. Africa.
Prefers rocky habitats and well-drained soils, but is also found along stream banks[
]. Riparian forests and thickets at elevations from 600 - 1,000 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Pollinators||Bees, Insects, Birds
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Ornamental, Wild
Grows best in a sunny position[
]. Requires a well-drained soil[
A fast-growing species when growing in a suitable climate. In Zimbabwe it produces fruit after just 4 years, while still in the nursery[
The plant can be thicket-forming[
The plant flowers mainly of a night time, the tiny flowers are sweetly fragrant[
A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required[
Fruit - raw[
]. The pulp is translucent and faintly sweet[
]. A pleasant, sweetish taste, with a jelly-like flesh when fully ripe[
]. The reddish or yellow fruits are about the size of small plums[
]. The ovoid or globose fruit is red, becoming black; up to 20mm long and 15mm in diameter; containing 1 - 6 or more fairly large seeds[
The roasted, ground seeds can be used as a coffee substitute[
The roots are chewed as an effective treatment for bad colds or persistent coughing[
]. A decoction of the root, often combined with the roots of Ximenia caffra (plus those of Gymnosporia senegalensis if there is severe pain), is used to treat chest ailments[[
Applied externally, the roasted and powdered roots, mixed with mutton fat, make a thorn plaster and are also used to ease body pains[
The plant can be used for hedging or as a screen[
Twigs from this species are commonly used as a toothbrush and have been found to contain effective antibacterial compounds[
]. The roots are also used - a section of the root about the thickness of a pencil is removed, one end is frayed and this is used as the brush end for cleaning the teeth[
A yellowish brown dye is obtained from the roots[
The bark is a source of tannins[
The wood is of high quality[
]. It is used to build huts and to make spoons[
Seed - it has a hard seedcoat and benefits from scarification before sowing in order to speed up and improve germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing.
As a rule fresh seeds have a high percentage of fertility. The seedlings develop long taproots at an early stage, often before any appreciable elongation of the shoot takes place. The growth of the seedling is decidedly slow [
Cuttings are very difficult to root[
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