Allasia payos Lour.
Vitex allasia Planch.
Vitex eylesii S.Moore
Vitex hildebrandtii Vatke
Vitex iringensis Gürke
Vitex isotjensis Gibbs
Vitex shirensis Baker
Vitex villosa Sim
Vitex zambesiaca Baker
Common Name: Chocolate Berry
Vitex payos is a shrub or small tree with a rounded crown; it can grow 4 - 10 metres tall[
These fruits, the 'real' chocolate berries of Africa, are a very popular food in parts of southern and eastern Africa, where local people collect them in quantity for their own use and also to sell in local markets[
]. The low-growing tree is attractive enough to have promise purely as an ornamental, especially when in full flower[
Tropical Africa - DR Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique.
Open woodland, wooded grassland and on rocky outcrops at elevations from 50 - 1,500 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Vitex payos is a species of the tropics, growing in hot, low and semi-arid places with a high water table. In more arid zones it is found near rock outcrops. It grows in areas where the mean annual rainfall is within the range 650 - 850 metres[
The tree coppices well[
Fruit - raw or cooked[
]. Sweet, with a mealy texture[
]. It can be made into jam[
]. Each fruit is about 2 cm long, with pointed tips and a chocolate brown or black skin. The juicy pulp surrounds a single hard stone. A very popular fruit in parts of Africa, it is definitely an acquired taste for people who have not eaten it previously. Westerners are typically offended by the flavour, the powdery texture, the oily feel in the mouth, and the strong smell323]. The fruits have a rather unpleasant smell, and leave a temporary black stain on the teeth, but they are much eaten by children and herdsmen[
A decoction of the root is used as a remedy for stomach problems[
The pounded bark is used to treat threadworm and skin problems[
The leaves are boiled and the liquid drunk by patients who have lost their appetite[
The leaf fall of the tree acts as a mulch to improve soil condition[
The wood is very hard. It is used for poles and spoons[
The wood is used for fuel[
Seed - it has a hard seed coat which hinders germination[
]. In the wild the seedcoat is broken by annual fires[
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