Diospyros chamaethamnus is a perennial plant producing usually unbranched stems growing from 30 - 60cm tall. These stems are produced from a wide-spreading, rhizomatous rootstock, the plant forming extensive colonies[
The plant is commonly harvested from the wild for local use of its edible fruit. Although insipid, the fruit is an important item in the diet of certain tribes of bushmen within the plant's native range[
Africa - Angola, Zambia, Namibia, Botswana, S. Africa.
In sparse grassland with suffrutices at the edges of dambos and in various types in woodland, usually on Kalahari Sands and at elevations up to 1,000 metres[
The plant has adapted to grow in areas where bush fires are common - sometimes every year - and it produces semi-woody rather than fully woody stems. These are often burnt down at the end of their first year's growth and so the plant produces a new flush of unbranched stems up to 30cm tall each year. If they are not burned down, then the stems increase in height to 45cm or more in their second year, when they sometimes also produce some side branches[
A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required[
Fruit - raw[
]. The juicy flesh is whitish, somewhat stringy, of a fresh sweet taste and adheres to the large seeds[
]. The gelatinous flesh is commonly pulped in water and drunk as a sweet, milky beverage[
]. The subglobose fruit is around 35mm in diameter[
Seed - in general the seed of Diospyros species has a very short viability and so should be sown as soon as possible. The flesh should be removed since this contains germination inhibitors. Sow the seed in a shady position in a nursery seedbed. The sowing media for ebony uses soil and fine sand at the ratio 3:1. The seed is planted horizontally or vertically with the radicle end down, with a sowing depth of 1 - 1½ times the thickness of seed. Distance between the seeds is 3 - 5cm. Seeds are very sensitive to desiccation during germination and early growth, so must be regularly watered at this time. Normally the seed will germinate after one week[
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 [
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