The Marula Tree

The Marula tree (pronounced Maroola) is a beautiful, tall tree, with a spreading hat of foliage, that I know from southern Africa, where I grew up. The scientific name is Sclerocarya birrea – the ‘Sclerocarya’ comes from Greek meaning ‘hard nut’ while’ birr’ is the local name for this type of tree in Somalia. This tree is a member of the same family as the mango tree and so it produces masses of fruit (only the female tree produces the fruit), some trees delivering up to 500 kg of fruit in a year; one tree in Pretoria, South Africa, is known to produce 1 tonne of fruit a year! The fruit starts off pale green and ripens to a lovely golden yellow, is full of vitamin C (lots more than oranges) and the pulp inside is white. It is extremely popular with people and animals alike. In fact, elephants love all parts of this tree, fruit, leaves and bark.


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