Diospyros lycioides

Diospyros lycioides


Common Names

Bluebush, star-apple, monkey plum (english)
Karoobloubos (afrikaans)
muţhaļa (venda)
Umbulwa (zulu)
Lethanyu (venda)
Monkga-nku (sesotho)
Mtloumana (n. sotho)
Umbhongisa (xhosa)
Umcafudane (swazi)


Genus Diospyros
Species lycioides
SA Plant Number 605
Basionym Diospyros lycioides


Diospyros lycioides is a very hardy, deciduous, drought resistant, fast growing shrub or small tree. 

It bears sweetly scented, white, bell-shaped flowers from September to December that attract butterflies and other insects. 

The large, decorative red berries are edible and also attract birds. As with all Diospyros spp. sexes are on separate plants, therefore only female plants bear fruit. 

Plant in sun or semi-shade. 

Makes a beautiful small tree when pruned as a standard. It grows well in rocky areas. 

Twigs traditionally used for toothbrushes and all parts are used medicinally. 

Every time my friend sends me baboon droppings to plant the majority of the plants that come up are Diospyros lycioides

 Size 2 to 7m


Fruit for Birds:

Many birds relish the fruit of this plant.

Plants for Pollinators:

Honeybees as well as other pollinating insects are attracted to the pollen and nectar rich flowers.


Traditional uses:

Twigs traditionally used for toothbrushes

Traditional medicine:

The roots and bark are used in various ways in traditional herbal medicine for both people and animals.


Good addition to a Bushclump or forest margin planting. If pruned up it makes a beautiful, ornamental small tree. An excellent bonsai subject.


Limpopo, North West, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu Natal, Free State, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, Western Cape

Natural Habitat:

Almost all types of habitat from Bushveld and forest margins to grassland.


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