Marula tree, Maroela (Sclerocarya birrea)
Commonly known as the Marula tree, this is a medium sized deciduous tree, indigenous to the woodlands of Southern Africa and occur from Ethiopia in the north to Kwa-Zulu Natal in the south. It’s a single-stemmed tree with a dense spreading crown and deciduous foliage, usually ±9m tall but can grow up to 18m.
The tree has a grey mottled bark; leaves are odd, about 7-13 with some leaves and a single one standing out, crowded near the end of branches and young leaves mostly toothed. The Marula tree is known as the snack favoured tree by African elephants and is one of the most useful indigenous plants that Africa has to offer. The fruits which ripen between December and March, have a light yellow skin with white flesh that is rich in Vitamin C. The fruit of the Marula tree contains about 8 times the amount found in an orange. The fruit are succulent and tart with a strong and distinctive flavour. Flowers are yellow with a red tint, occur in clusters and blooms from September to November.